May 16, 2018
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Teens Talk About Racism
The conference is sponsored by the Central Unitarian Church in Paramus and Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Office of Global Learning, along with contributions from America Achieves. This year, TTAR is happy to work with the YWCA of Bergen County, whose commitment to eliminating racism and hatred is a core organizational belief.
Teens Talk About Racism is in its 14th year. Dr. Archie Lacey and his wife, Theodora, have been recognized for their consistent leadership in Bergen County and in the larger world. They led the planning for voluntary integration of the Teaneck Schools in the mid-sixties and provided a voice for tolerance and understanding in their workplaces, their own town, and in their faith community. Dr. Lacey, the first African American male professor to receive tenure at Hunter College, also served as chair of the Department of Education at Herbert H. Lehman College, NYC.
Born in a small coal mining town outside of Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Lacey was always an advocate of nonviolence. He and Theadora worked for voter registration in Alabama, designed human relations workshops for Bergen County, and initiated the Teaneck North East Community Organization. After his untimely death in 1986, his family and friends at the Central Unitarian Church (CUC) in Paramus, where Dr. Lacey had been a member since 1965, established Teens Talk about Racism (TTAR). Theadora worked to design the first conference with Rori Kantor, a long time Teaneck community activist along with the Social Justice Committee of CUC to create a safe space for honest and compassionate dialog about race. TTAR is a youth conference which models Dr. Lacey’s consistent encouragement for people to “Stay at the Table” and go beyond talk to living what they believe.
The conference invites young people into a safe forum where teens play a leading role as conference organizers, facilitators and energized participants. TTAR honors Dr. Lacey’s inspirational leadership and is proud to continue his important community work with this ongoing commitment to teens.