Wayne Action for Racial Equality


Calls in Sodus for banning a classic work (The Bluest Eye) by renown African American author, Tony Morrison. Efforts to cancel future ant-racism professional development for teachers in Wayne County. Work to disrupt New York States’ Say Their Name police reform efforts with actions to discredit organizers of local Black Lives Matter events. Sometimes it seems as if the national as well as local trend for the last few years has set back race relations. It can be discouraging, but there has been progress.


For example, more teachers, administrators, and staff of color are working in area school systems today than thirty years ago. Mayors and other leaders in communities throughout the county have taken turns hosting successful MLK Day Celebrations. Those local celebrations of our national holiday are dedicated to Dr. King’s goal of overcoming systemic racism. As a result, MLK day observances in Newark and Lyons have included youth leadership workshops dedicated to equipping teens with the skills to work on dismantling racism in the future. Even local town and county historians have gotten involved in anti-racism work by uncovering the truth about local efforts to disrupt racism. They have added to a growing body of history about local abolition/anti-racism efforts including underground railroad activity in Sodus at https://www.waynehistorians.org/Tours/tour.php?tour=8 and in Williamson at https://www.waynehistorians.org/Tours/tour.php?tour=17. Other revelations include publicizing the life of Gordon Granger who was raised in the hamlet of Joy in the Town of Sodus. Major General Granger wrote the field order at the end of the Civil War finally ending slavery in Texas, its last bastion, that has led to Juneteenth being named a state and then a national holiday.  Look for a new historic marker at his Joy homestead sometime in the fall of 2022 (pending grant approval). Learn about the Black Community called the Maxwell Settlement (marker at the corner of Halcus and North Geneva Roads in Sodus) or the abolitionist ministry of Samuel Ringgold Ward who escaped slavery to become the first Black minister in the county in1840s South Butler. The life of Austin Stewart who worked with other slaves to clear land at the south end of Sodus Bay is illuminated in his classic Twenty-two Years a Slave and Forty Years a Freeman which has recently been reprinted. Today, student groups like Justice Organization for Youth (JOY) http://ruralmigrantministry.org/joy located in Lyons continue the tradition of social justice work that has been part of county life for over two centuries. In addition, since late 2019, when Newark Public Library partnered with Wayne Action for Racial Equality (WARE) to create and sustain the WARE Collection and host multiple Book/Media Discussions, racial and social justice issues have been highlighted for county residents to learn about.


Make no mistake about it, the struggle to end systemic racism is contested territory. It will take all of us to root out the causes for racism and make the world a safer, more harmonious environment for all people. Wayne Action for Racial Equality (WARE) has joined many others in the effort. Active in Wayne County for close to forty years, WARE and its members have been working to limit the impact of systemic racism on county residents. You can get a sense of that work by visiting WARE’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WayneActionForRacialEquality/and visiting its webpage at https://www.wayneaction.org/.We invite you to visit and would love for you to join us as we continue the work for improved racial and social justice.