Black in Alaska’s mission is simple but daunting – to profile 50 people whose stories will help explain what it’s like to be Black in Alaska. The goal: to dismantle stereotypes and connect the Black community to fellow Alaskans.
On this week’s Culture Rich Conversations, Christina Michelle talks with her mother Sherry Patterson, about her experience as one of the participants in the project. Her guests include Jovell Rennie, who lead the production team for Black in Alaska and Mayowa Aina, one of the writers.
Christina Michelle hosted this week’s Culture Rich Conversations, which is a collaboration between the Black Awareness Association of Juneau and KTOO. It airs on Thursdays at 3:00 p.m. on KTOO Juneau 104.3 and rebroadcasts at 7:00 p.m. You can also listen online at ktoo.org.
Jovelle Rennie realized there was a need for a story telling project about what it means to be Black in Alaska, when he asked people to name fifty Blacks who live in Alaska. Most couldn’t do it. Yet when Rennie began to make up his own list of Black Alaskans with interesting stories, that list went well beyond fifty people. That’s when he and a team of other story tellers decided to collect those stories and share them in an ambitious multi-media project that includes an exhibit at the Anchorage Museum and also lives online at blackinalaska.org. The purpose of the project was to get a conversation going, a goal that Rennie believes has already been achieved.