Below you will find our public updates in reverse chronological order.
July 7th, 2021:
The Lost River Racial Justice (LRRJ) Nucleus (i.e. leadership team) gathers for a retreat to connect, reflect, and strategize each year. Throughout the meeting, we were guided and informed by:
- Our guiding principles
- Our relationship with our accountability partners
- The answers many folks shared in our survey in Nov. 2020 (thank you!)
- What we experienced and learned in the last year, as well as the history of LRRJ
- Our collective and individual capacities
We recognize communicating and being transparent about our priorities is important so that . . .
- those who wish to join or partner with us have a clear understanding of how we are focusing our energy.
- we can be held accountable and more accurately assess our effectiveness.
- other organizations and individuals in the area can see how we all collectively fit together to support racial justice and healing from white supremacy.
Our main priority has been and will continue to be supporting, collaborating, and building/maintaining accountability relationships with BIPOC-led organizations. These organizations include:
- BIPOC Caucus of the Root Social Justice Center ~ Our deepest partnership with regular communication, overlap, and ways of support
- Migrant Justice ~ We have had a stronger connection in past – looking to rebuild with more frequent connection and sharing more about their efforts with those in our network
- Additionally, we would love to develop strong supportive relationships with other local BIPOC-led organizations.
What forms will this take?
- Our Ready Response Team
- Ongoing support of the Root’s Mutual Aid
- Support in coordinating Everyone Eats regular Meal Delivery in conjunction with The Root
- Sharing requests and encouraging support from members for BIPOC-led initiatives and events.
- Aspiring to uplift and support BIPOC-led organizations and visions for the future, including SUSU CommUNITY Farm & Atowi.
Additionally we are dedicated to supporting folx to connecting, heal and learning through the following pathways:
- Running Monthly LRRJ Working Group Meeting
- Sharing facilitation and coordination roles with non-Nucleus LRRJ folx for meetings, projects, etc.
- Collaboration within the Solidarity Friday Coalition
- Co-facilitating Healing in Practice (HIP) Monthly Hangouts with the Root’s BIPOC Caucus
- Highlighting campaigns and projects locally and through our SURJ network
- Offering a Intro to Anti-Racism Study Group (when capacity/scheduling allows) & Sharing the Rural Racial Justice Organizing Toolkit
All that is named above is what we have identified as currently aligning with our guiding principles and current capacity. Below are things that feel important, but that we recognize that we can not dedicate focus towards at this time . . .
- Taking lead on large public rallies/events, but we’re willing to support in collaboration within Solidarity Fridays as well as if support is requested by one of our partners.
- Forming additional partners or taking on outside projects at this time but we encourage other groups within the area or state to use our group facebook page as a place to tap into the larger LRRJ membership.
- Involvement in nation-wide politics and lobbying efforts but will share about coordinated ways for individuals to plug in through SURJ’s initiatives
June 23, 2020:
- Our relationship with The Root Social Justice Center’s BIPOC Caucus, both organizationally and personally, continues to be our priority. We have been working closely with them through the pandemic to support their Mutual Aid Support Network efforts while they work hard to meet the needs of their BIPOC community by keeping up with their vital programming. We are so grateful for all they do and for the relationships we have built and continue to tend. Please click here to access the network’s many pages and see where you can plug in to help your community members. Thank you to all who have contributed!
- Our biggest project is the monthly Racial Justice Organizing Meeting that is co-hosted with the BIPOC Caucus of The Root and is held every fourth Monday. This meeting began as the Black Lives Matter southern-hub in 2015 and transformed into what it is today in 2016. Normally help in person, we are now meeting on zoom and use this time for educating ourselves about white supremacy culture, supporting BIPOC needs (personal and community needs), and plugging into tasks. It’s essentially an on-going mutual aid support network and relationship-building/healing meeting, which we believe are the foundations of what create a healthy multiracial and multiethnic community. At this meeting, we have breakout spaces for white-identified caucus and BIPOC-identified caucus to connect and do the work. Each of these caucuses has separate meetings each month as well.
- Lost River meets on every second Monday for our LRRJ Working Group Meeting where we dig into tasks and action steps. We are doing some restructuring of these meetings to meet the demands of this moment, particularly a large influx of white folks wanting to get involved. With such a small leadership team, we are trying our best to do that! Let us know if you’d like to help.
- Besides working closely with The BIPOC Caucus as our accountability partners, we have liaisons working/meeting with The Root Social Justice Center, Showing Up for Racial Justice, Out in the Open, Migrant Justice, the Brattleboro Food Coop, the Community Equity Collaborative of Brattleboro, and Brattleboro Solidarity.
- We developed and maintain an annual Rural Racial Justice Organizing Study Group and we were about to launch our Intro to Anti-Racism Study Group this spring (in deep collaboration with Out in the Open and Amber Arnold of The Root’s BIPOC caucus) but then Covid19 hit and we had to postpone. New dates TBD.
- An upcoming project is working with The Root to support their Statewide People Of Color Caucus in which we are being asked to help replicate the two-caucus model we co-developed here in Brattleboro, around the state.
- We also have a letter writing point person to initiate public responses to events happening in town that are racial justice related. Currently a letter is being written about what “defunding the police” means and could mean in our rural community. If you’d like to be involved, be in touch.
- And of course an additional chunk of time goes into managing email lists to keep folx updated on what we’re up to and what our co-conspirators are up to, as well as keeping up with leadership meetings twice monthly, social media, website edits, and non-profit financials.
- A group focused on Legislative efforts related to racial justice is forming. Wichie Artu, from the BIPOC caucus, is taking the lead and a couple of our nucleus members are joining him. Please be in touch if you would like to help with this vital work- we need more folks on board, especially if you have experience in this area.
- We encourage you to join the national org Showing Up for Racial Justice at www.showingupforracialjustice.org . We are an affiliate. You will receive information about upcoming trainings, phone calls with rural organizers, and events. There were 100,000 members a month ago and now there are 200,000. The accountability partners are M4BL, Cosecha, and Color of Change. We have some connections with other Vermont chapters/affiliates. New folks needed! Please contact Claire Halverson, our liaison to SURJ, if you’d like to get involved. if you are interested.
- A group focused on having conversations around “defunding” the police, in collaboration with other orgs, including a possible forum with BIPOC and other leaders who have been doing this work for a long time. Do you have experience in this area? Or do you want to help coordinate?
- A group in collaboration with other local organizations to make sure we stay in the streets as much as possible. Do you have experience organizing protests/rallies/stand-outs or being part of a street safety team during these types of events? Even if not, and you want to help/learn, be in touch.
- Please know that while we are here and working hard to maintain our on-going projects, we do not have the capacity to create and maintain lots of new projects so please, if you have the capacity and the experience and want to organize something, please be in touch with us (for white folx) via or The Root (for BIPOC folx) at and we will do our best to support you and work with accountability.
- Please use your financial resources to support black owned businesses and projects, especially The Root and The Root’s MASN, as well as the Susu Healing Collective’s gofundme to buy land for black farmers and healers.
- If you are able to dedicate time and energy to helping raise funds for this work, The Root Social Justice Center has a fundraising team that can always use more people to help with phone banking, data entry/management, mailings, etc. This is a great way for white people to get involved with the Root and support these important programs happening within the community and beyond. Please contact Anne Louise () if you are interested in getting connected with the Fundraising Team.
- Alongside doing active work in the community, please dig into the work of undoing racism in your body and mind, by educating yourself and even starting your own study groups and book groups based on our Reading List with your friends and family everywhere. We always encourage using a knowledgeable facilitator where possible and a focus on body-based practices, such as those offered by Resmaa Menakem in his book My Grandmother’s Hands. This is how we do the inner work to change our implicit biases and ultimately, change harmful white supremacy culture into a new culture based on care and connection. However, book groups alone will not stop the violence against our community members so be sure to get involved in other ways like the many listed above!
May 30th, 2020:
Lost River Racial Justice: Solidarity Action Steps for White People
Statement of Solidarity:
We, the leadership team of Lost River Racial Justice (LRRJ), are horrified, enraged, and grieving the brutal murders of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, GA, and so many others. These murders of black and brown people by police are tragic and horrifying; they also occur within a long history of white supremacist violence, taking place in many systems, including economic, educational, criminal justice, and health. We stand in solidarity with all those protesting and organizing for the lives, freedom, and protection of black people everywhere.
We commit to solidarity that is not limited to words; we commit to show up for the long haul with our time, money, and energy, to act with accountability to People of Color (POC), and to work to:
- address immediate harms, injustice and inequities;
- push for long-term systemic change;
- mobilize and educate other white people; and
- do our own learning and healing.
Fellow white folks who are ready to step into action to challenge racist violence: we encourage you to take the actions below with us right now AND to commit to engaging for the long haul with your time, energy, hearts, resources, and bodies.
- The Root Social Justice Center, POC-led racial justice organizing collective in Brattleboro. LRRJ maintains a close accountability partnership with The Root’s Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) Caucus through co-organizing and community relationships. The Root is currently coordinating a direct Mutual Aid Support Network to meet the needs of those most impacted by to COVID-19, centering our BIPOC community members first and foremost. Donate here.
- SUSU Healing Collective, a Brattleboro POC-led organization, put out a call to raise $12,000 to fund 20 local CSA shares for POC this year. UPDATE 6/7: This campaign reached its goal in under a week! SUSU has expanded the goal to $50,000 to purchase land for Black and brown farmers in Vermont! UPDATE 6/11: SUSU has expanded their goal AGAIN to raise $400,000 to support purchasing land and structures! Donate here.
- Black Visions Collective, a Minnesota based organization dedicated to healing and transformative justice and emerging Black leadership to lead powerful campaigns. Donate here.
- Louisville Community Bail Out Fund: Support jailed protesters in Louisville, Kentucky following the murder of Breonna Taylor. Donate here.
Show up for rallies and meetings:
Local: Join our mailing list to receive a Zoom link for future meetings.
- 2nd Mondays from 6pm to 8pm – Virtual LRRJ Working Group Meetings, as a space for white-identified people to deepen our learning and organizing together. Currently held via Zoom.
- 4th Mondays from 6pm to 8pm – Virtual Racial Justice Organizing Meetings co-hosted by LRRJ and The Root’s BIPOC Caucus. Currently held via Zoom.
(Already Occured . . . )
- BUHS Youth-Led on Tuesday 6/2 at 4pm. Bring signs! Please wear a mask.
- Brattleboro Solidarity Rally Sunday 5/31 at 12pm. Bring noise-makers and signs! Please wear a mask. Physical distancing protocol will be followed.
- Join a Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) National Phone Calls in Defense of Black Life to hear from organizers in Minneapolis, Louisville, and elsewhere.
- Many more critical action steps to demand justice for George Floyd (petitions, phone calls, donations, etc.) can be found in this list compiled by Minneapolis organizers.
Deepen our learning about white supremacy:
- Read My Grandmother’s Hands, Healing Racialized Trauma, by Resmaa Menakem, a black resident of Minneapolis and trauma specialist
- Read How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi, who names what an antiracist America would look like and our role in it.
- Dive into the LRRJ Intro to Racial Justice Reading list.
- Helpful article on how to respond when people say “Riots never solve anything!”
Join the LRRJ mailing list to receive updates about our work, including info on our Intro to Anti-Racism Study Group.