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Mon 13

December 13, 2021 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm EST

We the People’s Forum: When Polarization Comes For The Janitor

Braver Angels

Location: Online

Mark Patenaude worked as a janitor and employee at Smith College for 21 years. But that all came to an end after a Black student accused Mark, who is White, and other service workers of racism, igniting a campus controversy that erupted into the larger community and onto Facebook.

Mark resigned and later shared snippets of his experience with a New York Times reporter, who wrote about it under the headline, “Inside a Battle Over Race, Class, and Power at Smith College.”

Now, in his first full-length public interview, Mark Patenaude sits down with Braver Angels to fully share his story and perspectives.

In this We the People’s Forum, we’ll discuss:

What led Mark to his conclusion, “I don’t know if I believe in white privilege. I believe in money privilege.”

How he sees political polarization affecting blue-collar Americans.

What he hopes that his community and America can learn from his experience.

During Discussion, anyone with direct experience on the issue is encouraged to weigh in, and anyone may ask a question.

About We the People’s Forum:
In this Braver Angels forum, everyday Americans get time at the podium. We hear from people who are often spoken of, but rarely spoken with. We tell our stories and share our perspectives on the issues of the day. We hear from people of all races, classes, places, and politics. Together, we’re exploring how We the People can build a more perfect union in a divided America.