In the fall, Newburgh residents safely gathered outside of the Newburgh Free Library to welcome the highly anticipated arrival of the Harriet Tubman statue. However, the library’s Harriet Tubman programming didn’t end there. At the end of January the Newburgh Free Library will be kicking off the “Bridge Talks Series,” an initiative to help bring together members of the community and open up a place for dialogue.
The Bridge Talk Series, which will run until the statue leaves Newburgh, will “introduce a space for discussion on local topics that matter most to our community.” The series will be facilitated by local leaders and everyone is invited to share and express their point of view.
The first program of the series is a two-part session called “Tools for Daring Dialogues,” which will focus on how to engage conversation about social justice practices. The online session is meant for around 10 to 12 individuals to ensure that there is enough space for everyone to share and listen during the hour and a half session.
“Local leaders decided with everything going on in the past year with our social injustices, there was a need to have dialogue,” said Yoly Avella, Newburgh Free Library’s Public Engagement Librarian. “We’re trying to engage in conversation on how to promote racial equality. People can come and speak on their experiences.”
The first session, on Monday, January 25, will offer different activities for the group to encourage self evaluation of comfort levels on a host of different topics and discuss the barriers that contribute to misunderstanding and misinformation. The second session, on Wednesday, January 27, will begin to discuss tools and techniques to use the knowledge from the self evaluation forms in a real life scenario.
From the end of January to June, there will be Bridge Talks on the last Monday of each month from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Other topics will include restorative justice and prison education initiatives, digital equity, inclusion and literacy, BIPOC women in leadership, community policing, innovative education strategies and more.
And that’s only one program that the Newburgh Free Library is offering in the new year. In January, the library has a “New Year, New You” series with different virtual programs with something for everyone. On January 14, the library is holding a Zumba Fitness program and on January 19 a Cooking with Alternative Sugars class. Earlier in January, the library had programs about decluttering, eating healthy, handling money and retirement.
For more information about the library or any of the programming mentioned, visit newburghlibrary.org.