In This Moment Presents Free Panel Discussion Featuring Rochester Icons Midge Thomas and Dr. Walter Cooper

Midge Thomas, humanitarian. Photo by Jackie McGriff. Walter Cooper, Ph.D., Regent Emeritus of the State of New York. Photo credit by Adam Eaton

Lecture Series Spotlights Community Leaders, Presented by the George Eastman Museum

 In This Moment (ITM), the organization dedicated to demonstrating the breadth and scope of revolutionary work happening in Rochester’s Black communities, announced the inaugural event of its 2024 – 2025 panel discussion series, Revolution, Reckoning, Reparation, Volume 3. This milestone event will feature humanitarian Midge Thomas and Walter Cooper Ph.D., Regent Emeritus of the State of New York. Presented by the George Eastman Museum, the event is scheduled for Monday, April 29, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and is free to the public. 

“We are honored to feature a distinguished group of Rochesterians in the third installment of our project,” said Amanda Chestnut, ITM Co-Creator and Curator. “This panel discussion not only marks the launch of the chapbooks for Mrs. Thomas and Dr. Cooper but also serves as an exciting opportunity to share their narratives with the community. Both of these individuals have made invaluable contributions to the advancements of Rochester, and we are grateful to preserve their achievements and legacies through the ITM chapbook series.”

ITM chapbooks are educational booklets produced by ten teams of Black writers and photographers, each profiling ten Black leaders from across the city of Rochester. Each book has a print run of 10,000 copies and is distributed free of charge to educators, students in over eighty schools (elementary through college), and community members through Monroe County and Rochester Public Libraries. 

The April 29 event kicks off the five-part discussion series, each highlighting two distinguished leaders being recognized by ITM. Mrs. Thomas has devoted her life to community initiatives, inspired by her late husband Dr. Freddie Thomas. Her projects include establishing and managing two public community centers, installing a public drinking fountain to ensure access to clean water, and organizing social programs for residents. 

Dr. Cooper has dedicated his career to advocating for children’s education and community development. As a regent for the state of New York, he chaired key education committees and represented the state on national councils. He earned a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Rochester and has been instrumental in founding organizations like the Rochester Urban League and Action for a Better Community. 

“We welcome everyone to join us in honoring these two remarkable figures from Rochester, and we express our appreciation to the George Eastman Museum for collaborating with us to bring this series to the public,” said Chestnut. 

To find out more and to register for the free event on Monday, April 29, visit

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