'Created Equal' forum to be held at Everett Mill

By Terry Date tdate@eagletribune.com

LAWRENCE — Created equal: the topic endures.

Expressed in our Declaration of Independence, resonating through the abolition of slavery in the 19th century and civil rights battles of the 20th century, it echoes to the present.

It will be a springboard for conversation at a film-and-talk session on Sept. 11, presented by Mass Humanities and the Lawrence History Center.

"Created Equal: Conversations on the American Social Contract" comes to the Everett Mill, sixth floor, from 6-10 p.m.

Pleun Bouricius of Mass Humanities says the conversation on American Democracy is based on a vision of equality.

"And yet, Americans have widely and often painfully differing understanding of what that means," she said. "At this event, we’ll talk with each other about what we mean by equality, and how we, as people, want to get there.

"In a time of widening economic inequality and increasing tensions among Americans over fundamental issues such as gun rights, immigration and race relations, it is more important than ever that we sit down and talk with each other about some of our fundamental beliefs; that we work out how to sit down and discuss these with each other."

UMass Lowell history professor Robert Forrant says it's more important now than ever for people to come together and craft solutions to our social, economic and foreign relations problems.

"Absent civic engagement, absent a strong citizen's voice to affect the political decision making process, we've not fulfilled our part of the nation's founding: We the people," Forrant said.

Susan Grabski, the director of the Lawrence History Center, looks for people from Lawrence and surrounding communities to shed the us vs. them way of looking at the world and find common ground in solutions that benefit everyone.

One way to move in this direction is to gather and talk, she said.

Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello will moderate the discussion, focusing on film clips from "The Loving Story, Slavery by Another Name," "Freedom Riders" and "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers."

The event is free. To register visit: http://masshumanities.org/40th_events_lawrence

The event is being held in partnership with the Lawrence History Center, Lawrence Heritage State Park, Lawrence Public Library, Center for Lowell History, YWCA of Greater Lawrence, Lawrence Community Works, GroundWork Lawrence, Essex Art Center, YDO (Youth Development Organization), and the Merrimack Valley YMCA.