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'Healing History' series to be continued

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    Panelists at the Healing History program in Smithville included (from left to right): Leonard Moore, vice president for diversity and community engagement at the University of Texas at Austin; Priscilla Ruiz, retired finance director and youth director at Ascension Catholic Church; Linda Wilson, retired anesthesiologist; and Lacey Veal, poet, author and conflict consultant. Photos by Dock Jackson
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    Audience members intently listen to the panelists.

The Bastrop County Cares’ initiative, “Healing History: Resilience through Music and Conversation,” is a four-part series of programs presented throughout Bastrop County which hopes to promote diversity through healing conversations and musical experiences. The first two in the series were in Bastrop at the Jerry Wilhelm Performing Arts Center and in Smithville at the Smithville Recreation Center, but due to the coronavirus, the remaining two have been temporarily postponed.

The first program was in January with the topic of “Race-Based Trauma,” and the February program was in Smithville with the topic of “Unconscious Bias in the Workplace.” The program featured a panel facilitated by Leonard Moore, vice president for diversity and community engagement at the University of Texas at Austin, with panelists Priscilla Ruiz, Linda Wilson and Lacey Veal. The goal of their session was to improve workplace equity in the professional culture throughout Bastrop County. The panel discussed information and ideas from their collective personal experiences and challenged the audience to share their own personal experiences. James Robinson, Brannon Temple and Bobby Sparks further expanded these ideas through the magic of music.

“The Resilient Bastrop County Initiative has a goal to support our community in efforts to inclusively and collaboratively transform the environments where we live, learn, work, play and pray," said event founder and organizer Krystal Grimes. "Understanding the implications of unrecognized actions can help to alleviate many traumas that people of color may face in the workplace."

Grimes continued: “When we speak our truths and listen deeply to others, we find common ground with those who we may have perceived as different. Leaving these sessions, we will be able to share in this rich history and begin the healing process for greater connections and community visioning.”

The remaining two programs will be rescheduled in Elgin at the Elgin Public Library Civic Center with a discussion of “School-Prison Pipeline/Media Portrayals” and the Lost Pines Art Center in Bastrop where the discussion topic will be “Bridging the Divides.” The rescheduling of these program dates are contingent upon the coronavirus pandemic, as this has caused numerous events to be rescheduled or cancelled throughout the country.