Posted by: Roger Vincent Jasaitis | 04/26/2015

Community Conversation on Homelessness

Homelessness-Community Conversation 042315

Posted by: Roger Vincent Jasaitis | 04/24/2015

Vermont African American Heritage Trail Launched

Curtiss Reed Jr., the executive director of the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity, said the trail is intended to boost cultural tourism in the Green Mountain State and increase awareness of its track record of racial tolerance.

Reed will give a talk on Sunday May 3rd at noon at Putney
Friends Meetinghouse, Putney Vermont.

Recently, the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing opened an African-American Heritage Trail with several sites (including Grafton) of importance to black history in the state.

The trail brings visitors to Vermont museums and cultural sites where exhibits, tours, and personal explorations illuminate the lives of African Americans for whom the Green Mountain State was part of their identity.

Posted by: Roger Vincent Jasaitis | 04/24/2015

Culture of Militarism

War is not the answer,  detail of mixed media painting by Roger Vincent Jasaitis,, copyright 2015

War is not the answer

Friends, FYI:

Program on Militarism in Our Culture.

Can we talk about the fear so common in our country and the violence which often accompanies it? This question will be addressed at a community program on Thursday, April 30 at 7 p.m. held at one of the Gifford Medical Center conference rooms in Randolph.

Joseph Gainza of Marshfield, who led the American Friends Service Committee in Vermont for over 15 years and who founded Vermont Action for Peace, will give a presentation on one of the main ways of looking at other people, social problems, and even the planet itself, which has become a dominant pattern in the present culture of the United States today – a pattern which appears to have become so engrained in our American psyche that it is largely unnoticed, sometimes referred to as “militarism.”

Following the presentation, the evening will also provide an opportunity for people to come together to honestly discuss their views and questions.

Co-sponsors of the program are the Will Miller Green Mountain Veterans for Peace and the Randolph Peace and Justice Coalition.

You can listen to these WDGR shows any time over your computer or phone — “live streaming”.

 Here are the shows; roughly an hour each.  Hit the red circle on the show you want and just listen — any time.


Joseph Gainza
Vermont Action for Peace
Producer & Host – Gathering Peace
WGDR 91.1 FM WGDH 91.7 FM


Posted by: Roger Vincent Jasaitis | 04/20/2015

Addressing Mass Incarceration

Dear Friends,unnamed-2

I’ve heard from many of you that mass incarceration is a deep concern for your meetings, so I’d like to invite you and your meetings to our national video conference call tomorrow, Tuesday.

Want to know more about federal laws concerning mass incarceration and racial justice? Friends Committee on National Legislation is hosting a nationwide video call this Tuesday, April 21 at 8 pm EST. Join Diane Randall and Tila Neguse to hear an update on what Congress could do this year to address mass incarceration, and how Friends can be involved.

To RSVP to the call and get details, email

Thank you, and I hope you can join us.


Shannon Palmer
Program Assistant
Quaker Outreach

Posted by: Roger Vincent Jasaitis | 04/16/2015

Today is the day!

Dear Putney Friends,

Thank you SO much for the work you have done leading up to today’s vote. What a mountain we have climbed together!!

Today at 1pm the House of Representatives will debate S. 141 and then vote. I encourage you to join us at the Statehouse and bear witness. This is huge.

If possible, it’s best to come early so you’re able to take your seats at 12:30 (you can have lunch beforehand in the Statehouse cafeteria if you like). The Gun Owners of VT folks will be trying to turn out in force, so plan to be calm and respectful. Along those lines, if the vote does, in fact, go our way, it’s important not to celebrate outwardly in the chamber (applause, etc.) because we wouldn’t want it to seem like gloating. And anyway, if we’re successful, the most important thing will be to soak it in so that you remember at your core what your hard work can accomplish!

The House Judiciary Committee spent all last week taking testimony on S. 141, and this morning they are poised to vote it out of committee. This means that the bill will go straight to the House Floor for a full House vote as soon as Thursday, so it’s critical to call your reps and voice your support now!

If you aren’t able to make it in person today, call the Sergeant-at-Arms office at the Statehouse at 802-828-2228 or 1-800-322-5616.

It’ll take just minutes to leave a message for your representative encouraging them to support S. 141 to help keep guns out of the wrong hands, but it can make all the difference!

GunsenseVTEven if you know your representative is supportive, call them to say thank you. As we go into the floor vote, it is critical that representatives feel the support that exists for this bill in their district. If you’re not sure who your representative is, click here, and if you want more guidance about what to say when you call, click here.

Today is the day!

Ann Braden

Posted by: Roger Vincent Jasaitis | 04/14/2015

Beyond Conventional Wisdom

Spring Sunrise, photo by Roger Vincent Jasaitis, RVJart.comToday, I was struck powerfully by the fact that there are so many proverbs in scripture that express some lazy and erroneous conventional “wisdom” that we should question and reject. An example of this is the frequently repeated notion in Proverbs that if you love God and are faithful to the Spirit’s leadings, you will inevitably be protected from harm and suffering, avoid persecution, be prosperous, and enjoy nothing but good things in life.

The sacred stories offered in the gospels about the arrest, cruel torture, and humiliating public execution of Jesus as a rebel leader at the hands of the Roman Empire puts the lie to this very naive notion. While loving God and loving what God loves does open us to great joy, communion, and near endless gratitude, it does not protect us from suffering persecution or betrayal at the hands of others. In one of the gospels, even Jesus is reported to have said on the cross, “God, God, why have you forsaken me?”

Yet, the resurrection story of Easter says to me that we while we can suffer betrayal and persecution at the hands of others, we are not forsaken. We are not alone. We are not without divine love and spiritual resources. In fact, the message of the resurrection story to me is that evil can be evil, but it can’t kill the Spirit–and God’s Spirit always remains available to accompany us on a path that can deepen our joy, inspire our courage to challenge the corrupt ways of empire in the world (and in our hearts), and help us become much needed channels of divine love and healing so we are able to say in the midst of intense suffering and betrayal, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”

To this, I would only add, “Forgive me, Divine Spirit in which we all live, move, and breath, for I so often do not know what I do and I so often miss the mark.” Blessed be.

Steve Chase

Posted by: Roger Vincent Jasaitis | 04/01/2015

Gun Sense, Moving Quickly

VPR-Gunsense-20131021Dear Friends,

We have exciting news about how quickly the House is moving forward on the Gun Violence Prevention Bill. After passing the Senate 20-8 last week, the House Judiciary Committee has already started hearings on S. 141. A floor vote could happen in as soon as two weeks! We were so successful in making our voices heard in the Senate, and we need to take a similar approach in the House, which means polite yet consistent contact urging them to support the bill.

Looking ahead at these next two critical weeks, here are the key steps:

1) RIGHT NOW e-mail your representatives in the House and encourage them to support S. 141 to keep guns out of the wrong hands. (Also, please e-mail Elissa at to let us know that you’ve sent your e-mail.)
I’ve included direct links to your representatives’ e-mail addresses below to make it easy.

2) In the coming days, encourage your friends and neighbors to write personal letters to your representative urging support for the bill. (Click here for additional information about the bill.)

3) Help phone supporters in swing districts to encourage calls to key representatives. (E-mail Elissa to help with calls!)

4) In the final days before the House floor vote, flood the Statehouse Sergeant-at-Arms office with calls in support from across the state.

Your voices were so important in the Senate, and they are going to be just as important on the House side. Please e-mail your representatives now!

Thank you!

Windham 1 Guilford, Vernon MICHAEL “MIKE” HEBERT
Windham 2-1 Brattleboro VALERIE A. STUART
Windham 2-2 Brattleboro MOLLIE S. BURKE
Windham 2-3 Brattleboro TRISTAN TOLENO
Windham 3 Athens, Brookline, Grafton, Rockingham, Westminster, Windham CAROLYN W. PARTRIDGE
Windham 3 Athens, Brookline, Grafton, Rockingham, Westminster, Windham MATTHEW A. TRIEBER
Windham 4 Dummerston, Putney, Westminster DAVID L. DEEN
Windham 4 Dummerston, Putney, Westminster MIKE MROWICKI
Windham 5 Marlboro, Newfane, Townshend EMILY LONG
Windham 6 Halifax, Whitingham, Wilmington ANN MANWARING
Windsor 1 Hartland, West Windsor, Windsor DONNA SWEANEY
Windsor 1 Hartland, West Windsor, Windsor JOHN BARTHOLOMEW
Windsor 2 Cavendish, Weathersfield MARK HUNTLEY
Windsor 3-1 Andover, Baltimore, Chester, Springfield LEIGH J. DAKIN
Windsor 3-2 Springfield ALICE M. EMMONS
Windsor 3-2 Springfield ROBERT “BOB” FORGUITES
Posted by: Roger Vincent Jasaitis | 03/24/2015

Call Now! Support Gun Legislation

GunsenseVTDear Friends,

It is especially important that your Senators hear that you support s.141.  Their vote is particlularly important in ensuring the success of this bill which will most likely be voted on tomorrow.  The opposition is making calls and we need to do the same today.

It is a very easy process. Simply call the Sargeant at Arms and tell them your town and county and that you support s. 141.  The number is (802)-828-2228 or 1-800-322-5616.

If you can send me an email that you have made the call that would be wonderful.

Thank you!

Elissa Bhanti, GunSenseVT

Posted by: Roger Vincent Jasaitis | 03/21/2015

Bright Wings Chorus Concert at Next Stage

Preview YouTube video Bright Wings – Greenwood LakeBright Wings – Greenwood Lake

Dear Friends,

You might be interested in an upcoming concert at Next Stage Arts in Putney. On Friday, March 27 I will be performing with my group The Bright Wings Chorus, a nine person a capella group that performs traditional American sacred music, including shape note hymns, gospel, and my original work. For this tour, we will be doing a mentorship with Rev. Donna Cox, a gospel singer from Ohio, to deepen our practice in that tradition and to facilitate a conversation about race in the folk music community. And for the Putney show, we will be joined for one song by members of the BUHS Madrigals group. It will be an exciting evening, and I’d love to see you all there.

You can hear a bit of what the group sounds like here:

Tickets are $12. You can reserve ahead of time at or get them at the door.

in song,


Posted by: Roger Vincent Jasaitis | 03/14/2015

Big News!



I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to tell you that the Senate Judiciary Committee PASSED a gun violence prevention bill out of committee BY A UNANIMOUS VOTE IN SUPPORT!

Gun violence prevention has been untouchable at the statehouse for decades, and this is proof that times have changed. It has been your grassroots action that has gotten this issue on the table, and now it is moving forward despite opposition from the gun lobby. This is HISTORIC!!

Please e-mail the Senate Judiciary Committee members to thank them for taking this issue seriously!
Senator Sears –
Senator Nitka –
Senator Benning –
Senator White –
Senator Ashe –

We have such incredible momentum coming out of this committee vote, and it’s up to us to make sure we keep moving forward. The bill will get a number next week (it’s not called S. 31), and the debate and floor vote could happen as early as Thursday or else the following week. We’ll need to have supportive calls flooding into the statehouse for that, and since the gun lobby will likely do another robo-call to generate activity, we need to do the grassroots equivalent: a massive phone tree to call other supporters asking them to call their senators. To prepare for this, folks are coming together at locations all across the state this weekend to start making phone calls. If you haven’t yet signed up to help, contact Elissa, and she’ll put you in touch with the phone bank organizer in your area.

Our voices are making a huge difference, and we must continue to ensure that the call for common sense comes through loud and clear.

Together we are DOING this!!

P.S. Here is the first news report out about the bill, and I’m sure others will be coming out shortly.

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