New Salem Public Library to offer two-part Zoom program on racism

  • Jade Barker, of Hadley, will be one of two presenters of a two-part Zoom program called “Let’s Talk About Racism” on April 20 and May 11. The program is being offered by the New Salem Public Library. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Cate Woolner, left, will be one of two presenters of a two-part Zoom program offered through the New Salem Public Library called “Let’s Talk About Racism” on April 20 and May 11. (The other woman pictured, Betsy Williams, is not part of the upcoming program.) STAFF FILE PHOTO/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 4/16/2021 8:10:49 PM
Modified: 4/16/2021 8:10:44 PM

NEW SALEM — The New Salem Public Library is offering a two-part Zoom program, “Let’s Talk About Racism,” on April 20 and May 11.

In the April session, Northfield resident Cate Woolner and Hadley’s Jade Barker will blend presentation and small-group discussion in an attempt to help people explore their own role in racism, unconscious bias, the country’s racist history and how to talk about racism. In May, Woolner and Barker will lead a book discussion to provide for further self-reflection after people read “Me and White Supremacy,” a New York Times bestseller written by Layla Saad.

Each session is slated to last from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Visit to sign up for the April 20 program.

Woolner, who has been involved in social justice activism her entire adult life, said she and Barker have worked together on anti-racism workshops for a year and a half.

“I feel called to the work because I feel responsibility as a white person,” she said. “Not that I am responsible for slavery or anything that came before me, but since I’m here now, I can’t just ignore it.”

Woolner said the past 12 months, including the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis to the pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol, has resulted in many white people changing their way of thinking and accepting “what has in fact been going on for hundreds of years.”

Barker said the two-part Zoom program is meant to help “people have more constructive talks about race and racism.”

“The most important thing is that if we don’t talk about racism, there’s not much we can do about it,” she said.

Barker also said she wants society to move past the “good-bad binary,” which she explained is the paradigm that suggests that harboring racist feelings is bad and, therefore, anyone who is not overtly bad cannot have any prejudices.

“We’re all living in a society where racism is one of its tenets,” she said.

Barker said a national conversation of race is needed.

“I think coming to this (program) could be helpful. Everyone is impacted by the race story,” she said. “There’s not too many issues where we can say everyone is involved.”

For more information on the programs and to register, contact New Salem Library Director Diana Smith at 978-544-6334 or

Reach Domenic Poli at: or
413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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