MLK Sunset, photo by Roger Vincent Jasaitis,, Copyright 2016

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.

Contact information:

Carol Forsythe, Clerk~ Putney Friends Meeting

P.O. Box 381, Putney, Vermont 05346


Image 1-6-16 at 11.21 AM

Below are two items from Joseph Gainza of Vermont Action for Peace concerning possible responses to Trump visiting Vermont this week.  For those that don’t know, Joseph was the VT American Friends Service Committee Program Director for many years.   One suggestion relates to a monetary protest that will support those here in Vermont  being attacked by Trump.   I’ve seen one post pledging 10 cents a minute.  I’m sure we cannot all be so generous, and many of us maybe able to send something.
The other is about what sort of direct action to take.  A totally silent vigil is being suggested. Food for thought for those who feel a need to do something to push back against hate.
In the Light of Love,
Connie Kincaid-Brown
Communications Coordinator
Northwest Quarterly Meeting

Item #1
Paul Erlbaum, president of Vermont Action for Peace, has a suggestion I think has merit. What If we each pledge some money for every minute Trump is in Vermont and sent it to Migrant Justice, a great group of migrant farm workers in Vermont organizing for social and economic justice for migrants and immigrants. Trump would love that.
You can send your contribution to Migrant Justice, 294 N. Winooski Ave. Burlington, VT 05401, or donate online
Item #2
I agree, a peaceful vigil is the best response. It is far more preferable than a “direct action” intended to shut down Trump as I understand some have spoken about. In addition to the First Amendment issues, any disruption of Trump speaking may well play into his hands. Several people have asked why would he come to Vermont. One response has been that Trump wants to tweak Bernie’s nose on his home turf. That may be a factor, but I think it is more likely that he is in Vermont to get the most disruptive response we are capable of giving him. The national press would eat that up and Trump could then point to Vermont as the place where people disregard the First Amendment and break the law to stop “democratic” discourse. He could then say: “See Bernie is from Vermont, Bernie points to Vermont as a model for the rest of the nation, and look how Vermonters behave. Do we want a president who thinks this kind of behavior is OK?” Whether or not you support Bernie’s candidacy, do you want to hand Trump this prize? As the old organizer saying goes: “If you do not have a strategy, you are part of someone else’s strategy.” Let’s not be part of Trumps strategy of using anything to get publicity and, in this case, to score points against Bernie..
A silent vigil makes Trump part of our strategy.
Peace, Joseph
Joseph Gainza
Vermont Action for Peace
Producer & Host – Gathering Peace
WGDR 91.1 FM WGDH 91.7 FM


Thank you for this message. You might be interested to know that there are currently over 700 people signed on to some version of silent presence outside the Flynn Theater, starting at 5:00 p.m. in the park. Many of us will wear black or dark clothing with a white paper rose pinned over our hearts.

A few days ago, I started organizing this event:

In collaboration with two other events with similar missions, it seems we have arrived at a consensus that a silent, compassionate presence rooted in love is our preferred method. I cannot, of course, control the outcome, but it currently seems that there will be at least 700 people gathered silently in the park, to be joined by another 100 walking out from within the theater. We are also to be joined by members of the Vermont Interfaith Action group.

The other two Facebook events are listed here:

I cannot tell you how inspired I am that this may in fact come to pass. Thank you, Joseph, for your wise words. You are not alone: their sentiment has taken root, and is shared by many.

In the Light,
Finn Yarbrough
(South Starksboro Meeting)

Global Healing Labyrinth Walk:
Healing Hearts at Wounded Knee
December 29th  Putney Friends Meetinghouse, 7PM
In the wake of the events in Paris, California, Africa, Georgia (the list can go on and on), please consider joining the Native Elders as they create a Global ceremony to end massacre, and all that massacre means, and to heal our hearts.
“ALL OF HUMANITY suffers multi-lineal, multi-generational trauma and carries a grief so deep, so profound, so massive as to bring us to our knees in awe, overwhelm, shock, and pain buried in denial. We have WOUNDED KNEES!  WE HAVE WOUNDED HEARTS! All peoples have suffered for so very long, indeed our Earth is suffering with us!  The choice in clearly dawning — either grow and heal together or perish if we continue alone.   Please join us by gathering at your local sites of massacre, holocaust, places of human grief and suffering, places of worship, or in your own home to perform ceremony with us.”
The Labyrinth Walk in Putney for Healing Hearts will be held at 7PM 
(If you wish to participate at noon like others around the globe, consider downloading and printing this finger labyrinth: )
This event is being hosted by Sadelle Wiltshire, who is also a Veriditas Certified Labyrinth Facilitator. 
For more information, contact Sadelle at


Stand with Victims of Gun Violence

Saturday, Dec. 19, from 11:00 a.m. to noon

Meet on the sidewalk in front of the Putney Tavern, across from the Putney Diner, Rt.5, Putney, Vermont
 This will be a silent vigil, using the Gun Sense banner and poster signs (“Standing with Victims of Gun Violence”). So please, plan on joining us if you can, and help us by spreading the word.

Good morning Northwest Quarter folks,unnamed-2
Some of you may be interested in attending this event.  You may recall that Northwest Quarter is a member of the NH Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty as is the New England Yearly Meeting.  The Yearly Meeting joined the Coalition after a request was brought to session jointly by Northwest and Dover Quarters a few years ago.
Also please remember to register for Quarter if you know you are planning to attend and please consider attending if you have not yet decided.
Connie Kincaid-Brown,
Outgoing Presiding clerk, Northwest Quarter

Friends, GunsenseVT

First of all, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who made it out to our celebration this past weekend. It was fabulous to see everyone, celebrate our accomplishments and look forward to our next steps as a growing and influential grassroots movement for commonsense gun laws in Vermont.While our work has primarily been focused on Vermont-based policies, I am also writing to bring your attention to something that is happening in the US Senate right now.

Recently, the House of Representatives approved their version of their CJS Appropriations Act for FY2016 (H.R. 2578).  In the process, 11 so-called “gun riders” were added to their bill, and today, the Senate Appropriations Committee is taking up this piece of legislation.

If approved, the riders would:

  • Terminate the long gun reporting program which the ATF is using to prevent gun trafficking in those four states bordering Mexico.
  • Prevent the ATF from regulating dangerous armor piercing ammunition.
  • Prevent the ATF from strengthening the regulations on gun trusts so that local law enforcement can determine who in their communities is able to obtain fully automatic machine guns.
  • Reinstate a program ended by Congress over 20 years ago that allows formerly convicted violent felons to obtain dangerous firearms.

These gun-related riders have been added to the House legislation without open debate. Unless the Senate hears from you, these dangerous provisions will make it into the final version of the law, threatening community safety, here and around the country. We need to make it easier, not harder, for the ATF to do its job!

Our colleagues at the Center for American Progress and the States United to Prevent Gun Violence have made it easy for GunSenseVT supporters to speak up on this issue — particularly since Senator Leahy is a key member on the Appropriations Committee that is considering this bill. Simply contact Senator Leahy using this form and ask him NOT to include these bad gun riders in their CJS bill. These riders will only benefit criminals while tying the hands of law enforcement trying to reduce gun violence.

Thanks for taking a minute to speak out on this important subject. I hope you are enjoying this beautiful early summer weather!


GunSenseVT · PO Box 2533, Brattleboro, VT 05303, United States


LynchedPosterV5Dear Friends,

I wanted to let you know that my documentary film will be shown at the Putney School this coming Sunday Evening at 7:30.

The film is made up of interviews with white and black performers of the William Grant Still piece “And They Lynched Him on a Tree” (composed

in 1940) which tells the story of an already convicted black man who was lynched by a white mob

for whom justice was too slow. The white chorus sings the part of the lynchers and the black chorus sings the pats of the lynchees.

Despite the graphic poster, no violent imagery is included.  Embodying the lyrics

through singing brings the experience of the story (and our shared history) home in a very visceral way and forms the foundation from which

the interviews were drawn. I was interested in how this experience might be different for the performers from reading about this aspect of

our history or seeing it portrayed in dramatic films and what deeper reflection it might inspire.

In the time between when the performance of the piece was first conceived a year ago by

Cailin Manson, the choral director, and the time it was performed (Martin Luther King day this year) the

endless news of police shootings colored much of what was said in the interviews.

It has a dramatic arc, interspersed with rehearsal clips and final performance and has much to give us hope

that further dialog might be possible. (51 minutes)

Hope to see you there-



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.