LAURA PHILION – COPY & DIGITAL EDITOR
Following the last-minute cancelation of Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock’s lecture, Chautauqua’s African American Heritage House will present a talk titled “Imagining A More Inclusive Chautauqua” at 1 p.m. Friday, July 16 on the CHQ Assembly Video Platform. On the panel will be Senior Vice President and Chief Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) Officer Amit Taneja, AAHH President Erroll Davis, and AAHH board member Ted First. Amy Oshier of “CHQ for U,” Chautauqua’s virtual morning talk show, will moderate the discussion and subsequent Q-and-A.
Taneja will describe his work and the position he holds within the Institution. The job of an IDEA officer was first provided for within the Institution’s 150 Forward strategic plan, and Taneja’s hiring was announced on March 8 of this year by Institution President Michael E. Hill. Taneja is the first to hold the position for Chautauqua, and will outline his efforts for the 2021 season and beyond.
Davis, president of the African American Heritage House, will detail the work that he and his team are doing this summer, including upcoming events such as the unveiling of the Phillis Wheatley House plaque at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall. He will also touch on this season’s in-person porch chats, held on the porch of the Athenaeum Hotel, and the need they serve — the need to know each other and to foster fellowship.
Ted First, who is a member of the AAHH board, will also speak on the efforts of the AAHH around Chautauqua.
Also on the program is a discussion of the AAHH’s support of the archival efforts around uncovering and preserving records of the Black experience of Chautauqua throughout its history.
Like many institutions of its day, Chautauqua was segregated until the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, and while its mission now reflects inclusivity, more efforts are underway to document earlier experiences.
“In the first few weeks in my new role, I’ve been impressed with the number of Chautauquans who have expressed a desire for a more welcoming, diverse and inclusive Chautauqua community,” Taneja said. “This conversation is a starting point for us to dream together of possibilities and pathways to get there. It’s an honor to have this dialogue with two trusted and respected leaders within the grounds who have been committed to diversity and inclusion for a long time.”
Following the discussion, Oshier will moderate a live Q-and-A session. Virtual attendees are invited to participate by submitting questions via questions.chq.org. The event will be archived to both CHQ Assembly and to AAHeritageHouse.org following its conclusion.