We Quakers here in Putney Vermont arrived at Worship today to find that our “Black Lives Matter”sign in front of our Meeting house was stolen some time this week. To quote from our minute on Black Lives Matter; “What’s important for us is that it’s not just a sign, not just a statement, it’s a commitment to join with others in doing the work we need to do.”
The stealing of our sign by some unknown community member hurts, but it in no way lessens our resolve to be “actively involved in whatever ways we can to make our Quaker Meeting and our community as a whole a part of the change that needs to happen.”
Sheila Garrett has volunteered to create a new sign and install it this evening, Sunday July 10th, during a candlelight vigil. Join her, if you can, in solidarity.
Here is the full text of our minute;
Open Letter In Support of Black Lives Matter
“Those of us who have grown up with a white identity in America have a particular challenge in that we have been conditioned not to notice the system of racism and white privilege. Our well-intentioned attempts at color-blindness can have the unfortunate result of blinding us to the system of racism in which we unwittingly participate.”
Excerpted from the Minute on Racism ~ Approved at New England Yearly Meeting Sessions 2003
Putney Friends Meeting, in solidarity with the “BLACK LIVES MATTER” movement, has erected a sign in front of the Putney Friends Meeting house on Route 5 in Putney, Vermont. What’s important for us is that it’s not just a sign, not just a statement, it’s a commitment to join with others in doing the work we need to do.
“BLACK LIVES MATTER” is a local movement as well as a national movement. Even in Vermont people of color are disproportionately singled out, treated with suspicion and treated as outsiders. When Putney Friends Meeting agreed to put up the sign, we intended it for the whole community. Yes, we do hope that people of color will know our intentions to be in solidarity, to honor their leadership and support their efforts. And Putney Friends Meeting also wants to remind ourselves and others that this means being actively involved in whatever ways we can to make our Quaker Meeting and our community as a whole a part of the change that needs to happen.
Because Vermont is one of the least racially diverse States, we have different challenges than States with more residents of color. This means exploring the opportunities to support and learn from those who are most affected by racism and bias. All Vermonters are affected in a variety of ways. There are programs and activities that help people learn about how racism and white privilege exist everywhere and how everyone is involved. The goal is to become a community that is truly welcoming, open and affirming, where anyone can come and know they are valued and safe.
Putney Friends Meeting looks forward to working with other religious communities, groups and individuals to communicate and share what they are doing, engage in further actions, and challenge each other to do effective organizing.