Reviews & Testimonials

Outstanding presentation - done with passion, humility, honesty, and humor. If you have a chance, go see this conversation.
— Student

I presented these two friends at The University of Connecticut as a campus-wide event. Staff, faculty, students and community of the City of Waterbury enjoyed a frank discussion on what the concept of race does to relationships and associations. Myths were busted. Beliefs were tested.The truth was faced and unpacked. Everyone, from the student to administration, the walk-in patrons from Waterbury, campus custodial staff and police, was on an even playing field in a discussion about the biases and assumptions we all hold dear. This discussion was eye-opening and heart opening. See them if you can. And continue the conversation.
— Coordinator UCONN Waterbury

Thank you for leading an engaging session with us this past Saturday at the TFA workshops. I appreciate the real and honest messages you’re bringing to the New Haven community and beyond.
— Middle School Teacher from Fair Haven Middle School

The presentation was phenomenal. I never heard the issue of race discussed in such a way. Every school system in America should find a way to put this presentation on their professional development agenda.
— Larry Conaway, president of the Conaway Endowment Fund and the principal of New Light High School in New Haven, Connecticut

Many find the issue of race hard to talk about; whether they don’t feel like they can have an opinion, or because they have never had to come to terms with it. The way this subject was discussed with a group of college students was done incredibly well. The dynamic of the presentation surfaced information that was interesting, authentic, and allowed a comfortable conversation to open up. It was direct and brought attention to the “whys” and the “hows” that surround racism. Mr. Pellegrino and Mr. Jefferson’s passion behind the topic of racism was something that could not be missed throughout the entire discussion. It was driven with the intention to educate instead of lecturing the audience and served as an engaging atmosphere.

The inclusion of their personal lives, and the experiences they encounter on an everyday basis made the presentation all the more inclusive. Coming from black and white male figures, their understanding of what issues are present for one and not the other, brought the attention to the concept of being perceptive. Which is what I understood to be the take away from the presentation.We all see color and it would be foolish of us to think that we don’t. It does not make the problem of racism go away, it is more denial than anything else. “You cannot say you don’t see someone as an African American, because that is stripping them of their identity”. Prejudice is the act of judging someone based on any fact or opinion about them. The distinction between these two principles was eye opening. To have an acceptance of everyone being a little biased, is how we can begin to address the issue of racism head on. Ultimately, until we are able to admit to ourselves that there are differences between us; and that we are totally and completely aware of those things, will we then be able to overlook all the preconceptions surrounding us and reduce our judgments.

- College Student

I thought the presentation that you brought to Sacred Heart University was amazing. I thought it was very engaging and informative for many students here. I wish I could have brought more of my friends to it, so they could've heard all of the things that were said. Personally, I never learned of race in such a way before. Nothing was sugarcoated, and everything was real. No one was afraid to say anything, and I think that is how it should be. The only way to actually change the issue of racism is to be able to talk about the realities of it, and the reality is that it is still an issue today, and in some ways even worse than it was years ago. Many white people say that they're not racist because they are friends with black people, but I learned in this presentation that every white person has some sort of racism in them. It may not be intentional, but that is just how our race was developed unfortunately. Many people also say that they don't see color, but that isn't right. We need to recogize that black and white people are different colors, but that difference is okay, and we shouldn't be treated differently because of it. I don't have the answer on how to end racism, and I honestly don't know if it ever will end completely, but I think seeing this presentation is a good start to inform people that racism is still a huge issue in today's society.

- College Student

The presentation given by Mr. Pellegrino and Mr. Jefferson took an upfront approach on how modern day America views racism. Whether it is by deeming it as a problem of the past or not addressing it at all, racism still heavily prevalent in America. Prior to attending this presentation I thought I was well informed about the topic having grown up in the Chicago area. The more I listened to them speak however I realized I only knew my opinion and did not necessarily have a fact driven argument nor experiences to back up what I believed to be true about racism. 

Their personal experiences added another element to the presentation as they described individual events that made the big picture undoubtedly real. Unfortunately these events are caused by a white superiority complex that has been developed from a young age by media and other influencing factors. My thoughts after this presentation are only ones that make me look within myself addressing possible ways I could change my own behavior in order to be that little change in a society that desperately needs it regarding this issue.

- College Student

This presentation was mandatory for me to go to. Honestly, I didn't know what to expect going into it. I planned on going and possibly just zoning out the whole time, or maybe looking at my phone. However, I decided to give it a shot once I saw the title of the seminar. The minute that you guys started talking I was interested. Everything that was said was so real and unfortunately so true. Personally, I believe the way you guys talked to us is exactly how race relations should be taught in the school system. Too many people either sugar coat the issue, or ignore there's even an issue at all. You guys put the issue in our face, and gave us real examples to allow us to relate more. When Mr. Pellegrino told us the story of how he couldn't buy an apartment for his girlfriend because she was black, I was shocked. It disgusts me that someone can treat someone so horribly simply based on the color of their skin. And, that could be considered a low-level issue compared to some of the tragic events our country has seen over the past year. From the police shootings, to the group of African-Americans who were killed while worshipping by Dylan Roof, there is a clear problem in our country stemming from racism. These problems only create more divide in our society. Take the Black Lives Matter movement for example. It is a powerful movement for a good cause, yet people feel the need to talk down on it and believe it should not even be a reality. These people then claim that "all lives matter" in order to make the appearance that they are not racist. From this seminar I received a wonderful quote from Mr. Jefferson that stated "All lives matter when black lives matter." I couldn't agree further. How are we supposed to say all lives matter when clearly one race is not receiving the same treatment. I believe this seminar was incredibly insightful for me, and taught me to much. Going forward I think you guys should tour more colleges and spread your powerful message. Racism need to be confronted in this way. It's time to top ignoring this majorly important topic.

- College Student

There were two very interesting points I distinctly remember from the presentation that was generously brought to Sacred Heart University. The first being that knowledge is not the same as opinion, and racism is not the same as prejudice. I found this important to have clarified because today people just throw these words around like they don’t actually mean something of importance. The fact is, they are important and before people go around accusing others of their intentions, they themselves should have the facts straight. This goes hand in hand with the concept of disassociating somebody with their race in order to avoid “racism and prejudice”. I believe it is important to view somebody as a whole and not just as one characteristic. Why is it bad to view somebody as black, white, or any other nationality? When did that become wrong or bad to be noticed for exactly who you are? It is not wrong. Our race is part of our genetic makeup and who we are as individual humans and we should not be seen as any less. 

Also, an important part of this presentation that really focused my attention was the presenters’ views on “Black Lives Matter”. I will be honest and say that as a young adult who was not fully informed on the issues at hand, when I heard there was such group I thought it was ignorant. The ignorance in this was that it sounds as if the black community was isolating themselves and segregating themselves from the whole rest of the world’s races as if we couldn’t care less about any other race. I believed it should be All Lives Matter. That’s what made sense to me. Of course there are specific situations across the nation which involves specific races more than other, but just because one is more televised, why is it the only one to matter and take full offense? Sitting in on this seminar, I receive a little more information and a quote that I retained was “All lives matter, when black lives matter.” Although I still carry with me my previous views on the matter, this brought me some clarity and a new aspect to look at when assessing the racial conflict going on present day. This was also related to our Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Why don’t we celebrate each cancer in its own month since we have this one specific cancer’s month? This is because breast cancer has become very prevalent in the past years in relation to the other cancers that are just as life threatening. That point made me think a little more about the topic.

- College Student