History Heals is a community conversation to bridge the gap between historical racism and issues that Fort Wayne residents experience today. The forum will provide education and a Q&A with local experts. Ideally, it will serve as an agent for enlightenment and healing, as well as an opportunity for questions and discussion.
The History Heals concept emerged from the healing power that author Sharon Tubbs felt after researching a traumatic episode in her family’s history and processing her own experiences involving race for her latest book, They Got Daddy: One Family’s Reckoning with Racism and Faith. Sharon wanted to find a way that history, even the ugly parts, might be used to bring racial healing and unity across diverse groups. She contacted local experts on modern topics with which Fort Wayne has grappled, and the first History Heals Conversation was born.
- Sharon Tubbs (Move Forward Communications and HealthVisions Midwest of Fort Wayne)
- Chris Lahr (Martin Luther King Club, Inc. and Alive Community Outreach)
- Roberta Ridley (African American Genealogical Society of Fort Wayne)
- Quinton Ellis (Quinton L. Ellis, P.C.)
- Allen County Public Library
Sharon Tubbs, Moderator: Organizer of “History Heals” Conversations. Sharon is the author of several books, including her latest: They Got Daddy: One Family’s Reckoning with Racism and Faith. She is a former newspaper reporter and editor who now wears several additional hats: inspirational speaker, community advocate, founder of Move Forward Communications, and director of HealthVisions Midwest of Fort Wayne, a local nonprofit that empowers underserved residents to live healthy lives.
Chris Lahr, Panelist: Movement to rename Calhoun Street: Chris is Chair of the Calhoun Project for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Club. In this role, he educates residents about the history of John Calhoun in hopes of gaining support to change the name of Calhoun Street to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. He is co-author of the book Playing for the City and has written blogs for various websites about race and white privilege. By day, Chris is the Community Education Coordinator for Alive Community Outreach, which strives to alleviate violence in Fort Wayne.
Roberta Ridley, Panelist: The history of blackface: Roberta is the founding chairwoman of the African American Genealogical Society of Fort Wayne, which promotes genealogy research to preserve the history of Black families. She is a retired employee of the Allen County Public Library, a faculty member of the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI), and an independent researcher. She remains active in the community, always working toward cultural understanding with diversity and historic awareness.
Quinton L. Ellis, Panelist: Racism, incarceration, and jail reform. Quinton is a criminal defense attorney with three decades of experience in Fort Wayne. Aside from criminal law, he also has practiced in the areas of civil rights, employment, housing, education, and public accommodation. He has served various roles in community leadership, including a term on the city’s Economic Development Commission and as a former attorney and board member for Fort Wayne’s Metropolitan Human Relations Commission. He is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and is committed to community service.