The College of Staten Island continued its Year of Willowbrook programming on Tuesday with the re-airing of the 2021 Annual Willowbrook Lecture, “Avoiding the Next Willowbrook: Lessons Learned from Parents’ Activism.” The event featured an abridged rebroadcast of the lecture originally aired last April, followed by a Q&A segment and a sharing of personal stories by panelists and guests.
Willowbrook Legacy Committee co-chair Dr. Catherine Lavender ushered in the event on Tuesday, introducing fellow committee members Diane Buglioli and Dr. David Goode, who stayed on throughout the broadcast to answer questions and accept feedback from the near-100 attendees. Last April’s lecture featured parents of former Willowbrook residents gathering to talk about their activism, which led to the creation of community-based care for their children outside Willowbrook’s institutional setting.
At the conclusion of the re-airing, several community members shared anecdotes on their personal experiences, a very emotional and stirring part of the evening’s program. Panelists also used the time to discuss further resources available for attendees who want to continue the advocacy work done by parents such as Willie Mae Goodman, Ann Nehrbauer, Diana and Malachy McCourt, Ida Rios, Jerome Isaacs, and Mary Sullivan, who were panelists in last April’s event, which punctuated the need for current and future generations to continue the advocacy work.
The entirety of Tuesday’s event is now available for viewing on the Willowbrook YouTube Channel.
CSI’s Year of Willowbrook will continue with many more events throughout the year, including a marquee event each month leading to the opening of the Willowbrook Mile, a ten-station interpretive trail at the former Willowbrook State School site, in September. April’s event will be one of the highlights, the 29th Annual Willowbrook Lecture, Beyond Willowbrook: What Happened to Residents after Willowbrook State School Closed? The event will be held on Wednesday, April 6, at 6:00pm. Registration for the event is going on now. Beyond Willowbrook will feature several panelists who will discuss the events that occurred during and after the closing of Willowbrook, and will feature Ronnie Cohn, New York State’s ARC Evaluator for the Willowbrook Class.
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