The police do not work for Vermonters of color. In Barre, a Black man is missing with what seems like little response, and in Burlington, protesters are speaking out about local police who have yet to be fired for assaulting BIPOC and poor Vermonters. Keep reading to find out how you can stand in solidarity with them.
-Kina Thorpe, Educational Program Manager
Click here to for the quarterly Peace & Justice
September 2, 2020
Views expressed by entities outside of the Peace & Justice Center do not necessarily represent the views of the PJC.
Ralph Jean Marie of Barre went missing on April 13th. Almost six months later, Ralph is still missing. The police stated that they suspect foul play, but have taken no action against those suspected of being involved in his disappearance.
Ralph’s family is asking Vermonters to gather in Barre on September 12th (the six month anniversary of his disappearance) from 3-5pm to support their right, and Ralph’s right, for a full and fair investigation. The Barre City Police and Vermont’s law enforcement community need to take action.
As stated by The Black Perspective: “This failure to act is unacceptable and yet another example of just how expendable Black Life remains in the eyes of too many. Ralph Jean Marie needs everyone to take a stand for his life and to demand accountability.”
Follow The Black Perspective on Facebook for updates, including the exact location of the rally.
-Amy Crosswhite, PJC Fair Trade Store &Program Manager
The 1999 song Testify by Rage Against the Machine is about the US media’s misrepresentation of world events. Frontman, Zach de la Roca, very pointedly calls out the US government’s pursuit of oil in middle eastern countries at the expense of human lives.
“Mass graves for the pump and the price is set”
News anchors dehumanize and water down violence toward Black and brown bodies as they fan the flames of patriotism. It’s all too familiar. This “family-friendly” media has subdued and placated Americans, dressing up unnecessary wars and police brutality as something to be proud of.
Each line of this song is potent and a scathing review of the US government’s military and foreign affairs. However, it is very easy to miss a key element of this conversation which is touched on in the intro to this music video. You may think I’m referring to George W. Bush stating “I support the death penalty,” but there is something else that snags my attention: the clip of Al Gore speaking on global trade, promising “free and fair trade” to the American people. Fair to whom? What’s free in trade?
This Labor Day (September 7, 4-7:00pm, Battery Park, Burlington), take a break from work and enjoy a meal. Everyone is invited to free BBQ and community potluck picnic hosted by folks in our local labor movement, friends, and allies to mark the 104th anniversary of the Eight-hour Workday Act.
The economic hierarchy that puts private profit over people and the planet is inseparable from the social hierarchy that puts whites above Blacks and pits working people against each other.
Today, working-class white people have more in common with working-class people of color than they do with white CEOs, landlords, or factory owners. Economic interests of a fifth-generation Vermont family align more with those of their new immigrant neighbors than with the Trumps or the Pomerleaus. In fact, they are quite in opposition.
Celebrate the gains made by the labor movement, inspire our communities to defend the rights we’ve won against attacks by capitalists and white supremacists, and strengthen solidarity so working people can win a better future.
Thursday, September 3
- 4:30-6:30pm Transformative Justice & Community Accountability Learning Group
- 5-6:30pm Do Police Belong in Vermont Schools?
Friday, September 4
- 5-5:45pm Pride Center We Wake Up Like This Tender, Brave Meditation Community (every Friday)
- 6:30 – 8:30pm Pride Center Friday Night Group (every Friday)
Saturday, September 5
- 10am-1pm Register to Vote at the Co-op!, Rutland Area Food Co-op (also on September 12)
- 10am-12pm Caroline Fund Pro Se Legal Clinic, Lawline of Vermont, Burlington
Sunday, September 6
- 1-1:30pm Cathedral Church of St. Paul: Silent Vigil/Witness, Burlington (every Sunday)
- 3–5pm Soul Food Sundays (every Sunday)
- 6:30-7:30pm Vets for Peace TV Show
Monday, September 7
- 4-7pm Working Class Picnic & BBQ Against White Supremacy, Battery Park, Burlington
- 6:30-8:30 Black Lives Matter Great Burlington Caucus Meetings (every Monday)
- 7 – 8:30pm 350VT Burlington Node Meeting (every Monday)
Wednesday, September 9
- 7-8:30pm Bennington 350VT Local Group Meeting
- 7-8pm EJ Series: Red New Deal: Centering Afro-Indigenous Perspectives on Environmental Caretaking
Friday, September 11
- 5:30-6:30pm Black Trans Lives Matter Critical Mass Bike Ride, Battery Park
Saturday, September 12
- 3-5pm Rally for Ralph, Barre
Sunday, September 13
- 5-6pm 2020 Vermont Pridestream
Monday, September 14
- 6-7:30pm Community Voices for Immigrant Rights
- 6-7:30pm Vermonters for Justice in Palestine email email@example.com to join the meeting
Wednesday, September 16
BIPOC Artist Spotlight
Art is an important form of self expression and movement building. For BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) it can often times be the only way that the world allows for self expression. Art allows people, regardless of where you’re from or what language you speak, to connect with one another. Since art and BIPOC voices are essential, check out and support these two Vermont based BIPOC artists.
If you are an Vermont BIPOC Artist and would like to be featured, please email Program@pjcvt.org.
“Paranoid Civilian” is a podcast hosted by PJC board members Kahlia Livingston and Jayna Ahsaf that explores social paradigms from a non-traditional perspective to help expose the fallacies in the systems that we’ve all been conditioned to rely on.
Action Highlight: Fire Violent BPD Officers, Support Knoll Farm Healing Space for Essential & Racial Justice Workers
Fire Violent BPD Officers
In an effort to support the greater Vermont community, The Black Perspective and their supporters are going on day 9 of 24/7 protest outside of the Burlington Police Department calling for the termination of Burlington officers Cory Campbell, Jason Bellavance, and Joseph Corrow.
These officers have repeatedly shown patterns of violence without provocation or just cause, and are a threat to the safety of the Burlington community. Here are links to view the patterns of violence of the officers in question: here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Please consider supporting protesters in Burlington by emailing Burlington city officials to demand the termination of these officers from the force.
For those wishing to donate funds or food for protesters or to join in the protest and/or daily march to City Hall, please contact The Black Perspective through their website or Facebook page for more information. If you’d like to send them money to buy food and supplies you can also send them money through Venmo (@theblackperspectivevt)
Support Knoll Farm Healing Space for Essential & Racial Justice Workers
In this time of crises, the pandemic and the national uprisings, everyone must ask themselves what role they will play in it. Knoll Farm in Fayston, VT feels that their part is to be a refuge for others.
As a small family farm, they chose to respond to this moment with hospitality, modeling the way the world should be: full of healthy land open to others, and all of us helping each other to be our best selves. With their supporters help, they are creating lasting relationships that will help our world emerge out of these crises of structural racism and pandemic together.
This past weekend, Knoll Farm and their supporters provided space to the PJC’s BIPOC staff, board, and racial justice advisory committee for us to relax, connect, and refocus ourselves and our commitment to this work. They will/have also provided space for other essential workers and racial justice groups including: Black Lives Matter, Out in The Open, Presente Maine, In Tandem Arts, VT Community Bail Fund, VT Food Bank, and Two Roads Social Services.
If you are able, please consider contributing toward their Be A Refuge fund to assure that other essential workers and racial justice organizations will be able to experience the amazing and healing space that is Knoll Farm.
All events are happening online. Registration is required
Unpacking Whiteness – Wednesday, September 2, 5-6pm. Formerly Toxic Whiteness Discussion Group, this space is held for white people to process how white supremacy culture is harmful to them. We hope by joining this space, white people will be allow the emotional needs of people of color to take priority in multi-racial spaces. Each month has a different topic. Space is limited. Click here to register. $10 suggested donation. No one turned away for lack of funds. Donations to be shared with The Black Perspective. Event also happening on September 16.
Seeing & Disrupting Racism: A Focus on White Fragility – Thursday September 18, 12-2pm. This introductory-level workshop defines racism and white fragility, explores how white fragility perpetuates racism, and gives ways to disrupt that cycle. This workshop was developed for predominantly white audiences, but all are welcome. Space is limited. Click here to register. $10 suggested donation, no one turned away for lack of funds. Also happening on September 23.
Fair Trade 101: Global Trade & Racism – Saturday, September 19, 2-3pm. Racism exists everywhere, even in the ways we make daily purchases. Join us as we touch on historical and current global trade systems, how the continued marginalization of native communities has led to fast money, and how, in response to these problematic practices, the fair trade movement serves as an ethical alternative. We will show you how you can make a difference in the global market by utilizing fair trade principles. Click here to register. FREE.
To learn more, visit our website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Workers Needed for Upcoming Election: Each election, many older folks give their time to work at polling stations.This year, those same folks are at a heightened risk of contracting COVID-19. Help keep those most at risk out of harms way in November by signing up to be an election worker. These are paid positions.They are looking for a diverse set of workers representing different ages, races, and party affiliations. Click here to find contact your town clerk to inquire about signing up.
Champlain Valley Amnesty International Monthly Meetings:
Join CVAI monthly on the 2nd Saturday from 10am-12pm via Zoom. Participate in their letter writing campaigns for imprisoned Iranian women. This includes a lawyer given 38 years in prison and 147 lashes for defending women who speak about human rights. They also write monthly letters focused on getting asylum-seeking families released, together, from US detention centers… centers now infested with COVID-19. To get involved, email email@example.com
Want to see more of the PJC more often?
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Center hours (reached via email or phone): Monday-Friday 10am-6pm
Store Hours: CLOSED
Location: 60 Lake Street, Suite 1C, Burlington’s Waterfront (Next to Skinny Pancake)