Waterbury group holding virtual classrooms to educate about race, culture

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — A community group in Waterbury is looking to make a big difference following the firestorm of controversy after the death of George Floyd by his accused killer Derek Chauvin — a police officer in Minneapolis who has since been fired from the force.

They’re holding virtual Zoom classrooms that will use college educators from across the country to engage watchers about experiences many minority groups have faced in this country. The facilitator of the Zoom programs is Kelly Hope, a teacher in New Haven.

“Everything that I am, everything that I do is about educating and empowering,” Hope said.

Hope told News 8 that she hopes her program will help members of minority groups.

“It will provide the opportunity for a safe and sacred space for black and brown people to come together to learn, to share their experiences,” she said.

In the wake of Floyd’s death, she sees it as an opportunity for white audiences to gain understanding by being part of the classrooms too.

“It’s also an opportunity for non-black and brown people to come and enter and learn and glean from these experiences and also receive tools and techniques to have those conversations.”

While News 8 was interviewing Hope, two students from Yale University approached,, listening in.

They became engaged and started asking questions.

“I think that’s wonderful, and I think that’s exactly what we need to do right now is just come together as a community and hear your stories and spark dialogue and conversation,” said Ali Brocato, a Caucasian student. “I mean, I’m obviously not part of the African-American community but I’m here to support you guys. ‘m here to listen. All I want to do is learn.”

Here’s how you can learn and listen in on the Zoom classrooms. The program is called “The Ungroup Society’s Afro/Latino/A Zoom Virtual Classroom.

Participants can go to the Ungroup Society’s Facebook page or the Facebook page of Kelly Koren. The virtual classrooms run the following days:

  • Thursday, June 2: The Conspiracy to Destroy the Black Self-Image.
  • Wednesday, June 3: The Latino Experience in America.
  • Wednesday, June 10: The Black Experience in America.
  • Wednesday, June 17: Current Events, Culture, and Media Representation.
  • Wednesday, June 24: Now What Introspection: Using My Experiences & My Influence.

All sessions will be from 6-7 p.m.

The meeting ID for each session IS: 478-797-3164

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