4/3: Love Letter Writing Party: We Love Our Muslim Neighbors

i love muslim neighbors

Sunday, April 3rd
10am-12pm
The Root Social Justice Center
28 Williams St, Brattleboro

 

 

Community, please join us in a love-letter writing party, where we will gather and write letters of appreciation to our Muslim, Arab, Sikh and South Asian neighbors!

With mainstream media, politicians, and law enforcement promoting negative and harmful messages about Islam and Muslim cultures, there are real and frightening impacts. We are seeing increased attacks, harassment, profiling, and violence against Muslim, Arab, Sikh and South Asian people.

Join us in reaching out to our neighboring Muslim communities and building relationships of solidarity. Letters written at this party will be hand-delivered to the Islamic Society of Western MA in early April, and similar deliveries may be planned to other local Islamic centers and communities if there is sufficient interest.

Simple materials will be provided, bring extra art supplies if you’d like!

Hosted by Lost River Racial Justice and Western Mass Jewish Voice for Peace.

3/31: Open Community Meeting to Move Lost River Racial Justice Forward

please join usPlease join us on THURSDAY March 31st
6:30-8pm at The Root Social Justice Center, Brattleboro.

 

Lost River Racial Justice is having it’s first open community meeting for those interested in getting more involved with racial justice organizing in the tri-state area!!

 

Join Us! Come meet with members of Lost River Racial Justice, a chapter of the national organization Showing Up for Racial Justice*, to learn about the work that we’re doing in Windham County, VT; Franklin County, MA; and Cheshire County, NH.  We will briefly update folks on our current projects & then spend the majority of time plugging folks in to existing working groups and listening to what you want to do! Current working groups include: Film Committee, Ready Response Team, SURJ Liaisons, and Media/Website/Communications. We are excited to brainstorm new working groups based on folks’ interest.

About LRRJ: For the past six months, LRRJ has hosted film nights, a rural racial justice study group, and attended actions and events to uplift the voices and experiences of communities of color. LRRJ operates as a closed collective of women and/or queer and/or transfolks, all of whom currently identify as white. Our organizational vision is to create a committed multi-racial closed collective that operates as a steering committee to hold the vision and unity of the group, while working groups are open to all identities interested in engaging in the work of the organization. We are excited to continue with the work we have been doing and take on new projects based on folks’ interest and capacity!

Accessibility: The Root is wheelchair accessible. Please come fragrance free to make this space accessible to as many folks as possible. Childcare provided as needed–please contact us at  by 3/20 if you would like childcare.

*Although SURJ nationally focuses specifically on engaging more white people in the fight for racial justice, Lost River is explicitly invested in multi-racial organizing as we fight to uplift the voices and experiences of communities of color in our region.

Showing Up for Racial Justice After Pro-Trump Robocalls

March 1, 2016
by Davey Shlasko and Camille Robertson, for Lost River Racial Justice

Last week, many Vermonters received automated calls from the leader of the American National Super PAC, a Super PAC affiliated with a white supremacist organization whose extreme views include seeking the deportation of anyone with “non-white blood” [1] [2]. The recording bemoans how white people are afraid to be called racist, and urges people to instead openly embrace racist views. It begins and concludes by endorsing Donald Trump.

These calls – not only the policies they propose, but the calls themselves – are a form of racist violence. They cause emotional and psychological harm by asserting that white people are better than everyone else and by threatening Vermonters who are people of color with deportation, segregation, and more. By tapping into white people’s fears and offering false racist solutions, they provide a ready excuse for those who would continue this verbal violence, as well for physical violence like the string of assaults we’ve seen in the past few days across the US.

The caller repugnantly claims that “few schools anymore have beautiful white children as the majority.” In addition to the mean-spirited and dangerous portrayal of children of color as not beautiful, he implies that white children are harmed by diverse educational environments. In fact, the opposite is true – educational research has demonstrated that students learn better in diverse classrooms. Furthermore, there are ongoing problems with racism against students of color in Vermont schools, as noted in the study “Kicked Out” by Vermont Legal Aid and in demonstrations organized by Black Lives Matter Vermont just last week [3].

Most white Vermonters don’t support the extreme racist rhetoric in this robocall and coming out of Trump’s campaign, nor the kinds of violence they call for. The one thing the call got right is that many white people are afraid to be called racist. Rather than letting that fear keep us silent, those of us who are white need to open up to the reality that we too sometimes harbor racist thoughts and enact racist behaviors, even it it’s unintentional. The point is not to say who is and isn’t “a racist,” but to recognize how individual and systemic racism occurs and figure out how we can help change it.

In this moment, white Vermonters must challenge ourselves to step off the sidelines and move into being actively anti-racist. It’s not enough to disagree with Trump in the privacy of our own homes, or even to just post our disgust on social media. This is a moment to vocally and visibly show up for racial justice, and to stand up in support of Vermont’s communities of color and against racism in all its forms.

As white people, we can show up by:

  • supporting Black Lives Matter Vermont in their campaign to change racist policies that harm students of color in our schools
  • supporting Migrant Justice, which is fighting the criminalization and marginalization of migrant farm workers: www.migrantjustice.net
  • putting up a Black Lives Matter or I Love My Muslim Neighbor lawn sign
  • joining a Showing Up for Racial Justice* chapter: Lost River Racial Justice is hosting an open meeting on Thursday, March 31st, 6:30 – 8:00 PM in Brattleboro – contact LostRiverRJ@gmail.com for details. Contact SURJ Upper Valley VT/NH at surjuvvtnh@gmail.com. Connect with Central VT SURJ at www.facebook.com/CVtSURJ/.

*Although SURJ nationally focuses on engaging more white people in the fight for racial justice, VT SURJ chapters are open to people of all races.


[1] Link to Seven Days article
[2] Link to VPR coverage
[3] Link to Seven Days article on Black Lives Matter event to end racism in our schools

Friday 2/12/16: Black Lives Matter Day VT

Call to Action:
Black Lives Matter Day: Racial Justice Solidarity!

February 12, 2016

Join people from across the state as we gather at the Vermont State House for Black Lives Matter Day. In 2015, Governor Peter Shumlin declared February 12th as Black Lives Matter Day, stating in the proclamation, “We must continue to reduce and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities for all populations, and support efforts to increase diversity and promote racial equality in our Green Mountain State.”

The reality is that racial and ethnic disparities in Vermont will not change unless we as people come together to educate ourselves, organize, and create strategies for change. Racial justice will happen when people of color and white people are able to come together to stand in solidarity and to hold our communities accountable to racial justice.

Join us for a day at the statehouse!
We will begin assembling at 9:15 am in the Well of the State House with the opening devolution, resolutions, and recognition of Black Lives Matter supporters. The day will continue with a press conference, speakers, the kickoff of “I am Vermont Too” project. Lunch with legislators and opportuniy to testify and the 1st convening of People of Color Caucus.

(SURJ) Standing Up for Racial Justice, groups are also encouraged to meet during this time.

For more information contact: Shela Linton at shelasocialjustice@gmail.com or Ebony Nyoni at evnyonilove@icloud.com