With a spiritual eye, I can see that while material goods are gone once given, spiritual treasures are not lost but are expanded when given. Gratitude begets gratitude. Kindness begets kindness. Joy begets joy. A simple smile begets a smile. All this whether or not the person near me responds in kind. When I am grateful, respectful, kind, loving in the world around me, the spiritually healing presence of Light settles in. The little expressions of gratitude, respectfulness, kindness or caring are magnified, sanctified by the Divine, and all around are blessed in the Light.

Candace Cole-McCrea

Photo; RVJart.com

PUTNEY FRIENDS MEETING CALLED MEETING TENTH MONTH 3RD, 2021

A called meeting coordinated by Quakers Wrestling with White Supremacy addressed our meeting’s relationship to people in our community with ties to the Native Americans who lived on the land now occupied by our meeting. People of the Sokoki community of the Abenaki nation lived in the part of the Connecticut Valley where Putney now lies, but had mostly departed from this land before people of European (mostly English) descent started to settle here in the mid-1700s. The system of land ownership which we now follow dates from that occupation.

Friends agree that we are called to deepen our understanding of the people who lived on this land before we came to it. We ought not to burden Native people to explain this to us.

We understand that this concern is not limited to our particular local story. The need to understand the people who have lived in the Americas for millennia is widely defined.

We strive for understanding of why we are called to acknowledge our relationship to indigenous peoples … of what our right relationship to our indigenous fellow members of the community is … and of what the future of this conversation should be. We seek a deeper understanding of what indigenous people would like us to contribute.

We understand that our own perception of our relationship to the land is challenged here. We hear from our indigenous neighbors a sense that the land is not ours. We are of the land. How do we respond to that challenge? What do we have to learn?

“We are a people that follow after those things that make for peace, love and unity; it is our desire that others’ feet may walk in the same, and do deny and bear our testimony against all strife, and wars, and contentions … Treason, treachery, and false dealing we do utterly deny; false dealing, surmising, or plotting against any creature upon the face of the earth, and speak the truth in plainness, and singleness of heart.” ~Margaret Fell, June 1660

Putney Friends Meeting is deeply distraught by the criminal invasion of our capital building on January 6, 2021.

We denounce the violence to our democracy, the loss of life and the threat to the lives of our legislators. We endeavor to model the testimonies of truth and integrity as we struggle to understand and to actively respond during this dark time in our country.

Minute 2021:01:01: Denouncement of political violence approved by Putney Monthly Meeting 1-17-21

Black Lives Matter, Putney, Vermont.
September 27, 2020
September 27, 2020
 

As Friends are no stranger to process, its worthwhile to share the recent Black Lives Matter Street mural in Putney started months ago.The Town Equity and Inclusion Committee, invited a collaboration with the WIndham County NAACP, who proposed the project to the Putney Selectboard.That started many meetings and months to get to last Sunday, when about 50 locals met, starting at 7am on First Day, 9-27.

Among them were a dozen Friends from Putney Meeting, who were encouraged to come and offer Peacekeeping Services. Concerns arose from when a similar event in Bennington Vt was visited by opponents of the project who disrupted th proceedings and led to 4 people being arrested.

As far as I know, No problems arose , and I don’t think it was the intimidating presence of all these Quaker Pacifists,  sitting and milling about. There was a general aura of community, gathered in a common purpose. To use art to state our town support for Black Lives Matter and adressing systemic racism. The mural was completed, and the real work addressing Systemic racism continues.

Mike Mrowicki

 
 

 

To the community of Putney, our Town, State and Federal elected officials and other Towns taking up the  work of understanding systemic racism. 

Black Lives Matter Putney

In Jan 2016, the Putney Friends Meeting (Quakers) agreed to hang a Black Lives Matter sign in front of the  Meetinghouse. We also agreed that we wanted to  become a body that is actively involved to make our  Quaker Meeting and our community as a whole, active  participants in the change that needs to happen to  become more anti-racist.  

Part of that understanding is that white people in our  congregation and community need to learn the history  and impact of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, continuing  disparites in opportunities for housing and education  and mass incarceration of african americans, as a result  of white american denial and indifference. We need to understand  how the resultant white privilege is not simply a matter  of individual acts of blatant violence, but in fact the truth  that unwittingly all white people have inherited systemic  racism. It shows up for all white people, and it is our  responsibility to work on intimate understanding of how  that system of racism plays out all the time in our  interactions with people of color. 

On September 2, Steffen Gillom, President of the  Windham County NAACP, attended a Select Board  meeting in Putney. That meeting, like all public meetings, was recorded and broadcast by Brattleboro Community Television (BCTV). Watching this meeting is a  great example of a person of color speaking up about  systemic racist activity that he had experienced. It took great  courage for him to address a room of white people  about behavior that white people find difficult to acknowledge,  because of the enormous discomfort it provokes in themselves.  

The outcomes of that meeting for Putney were  profound. White participants were able to:

  • Admit their own  moments of unintended racism.
  • Invite one  another into conversation and study about systemic  racism, at a time when talking openly about race is still  almost impossible for white people to do.
  • Challenge one another to step up our game, to examine  closely how people of color are treated in our Town, and  how to begin to recognize how micro-agressions are  currently and actively experienced here.

We see it as  helpful and educational as white people, to invite feedback  from people of color to point out racist comments, acts  etc, such as Steffen gave us all at our Select Board  meeting.  

Members of Putney Friends Meeting continue to be  troubled by, and wrestle with, white supremacy. Our  congregation has undertaken reading racial healing 

material (anti-racism) material, sharing with other  Friends Meetings taking up this work, and participating  in local groups working for justice and addressing  systemic racism. 

Putney Friends Meeting will do the following:

  • We will join in the community with continual work on  systemic racism by supporting conversations and action  that do just that.
  •  We will participate in Town wide book groups.
  •  We will support the Equity and Inclusion Committee.
  • We encourage the Select Board to take up active anti racism training as a model of getting educated about  how systemic racism works in Vermont.
  • We will encourage our membership to join the  September 27 Black Lives Matter street painting in Putney. 

We appreciate that mistakes are essential to learning,  and the real question is how we are creating a trusting  enough Town, where honest feedback from people of  color can be heard, believed and responded to by our  largely white community. This is for all of us.

The Commons, Brattleboro Vermont,  August 26, 2020

After successful fundraising campaign, CASP to support two new asylum seekers 

BELLOWS FALLS—In spite of the restrictions imposed on its fundraising efforts by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community Asylum Seekers Project (CASP) was able to raise more than $11,000 from its sup- porters all over the country. 

“We ran an online StartSomeGood campaign in July that reached 83 folks all over the country, with roughly 30 percent of our donations coming from out of this area,” Dempster Leech, the campaign’s chief bandleader, said in a news release. “It’s a testament to peer-to-peer fundraising and our supporters’ understanding of how this pandemic is affecting our work that we actually raised more than last year.” 

As a result of this year’s suc- cess, Leech says CASP has com- mitted to taking on two new asylum seekers. 

A nonprofit founded in 2016, CASP provides material and moral support to those seeking asylum from violence and pov- erty in their home countries by finding host families for them, helping with food and other daily needs, assisting them in navigat- ing the asylum claim process, and helping them achieve even- tual independence as they pro- ceed through the process. 

CASP supports 14 individu- als from Mexico, Cuba, and Honduras in the Windham County area. 

CASP supporters Dale Kondracki and Alan Fowler created a three-minute video for the project that ran on the StartSomeGood website and fea- tured CASP founder and former executive director Steve Crofter and its new executive director, Kate Paarlberg-Kvam, discuss- ing CASP’s mission and vision for the future. 

As part of the campaign, a raffle of donated gift certifi- cates was held. Winners were Leda Schientaub, $50 from Woodzels by Wetzels; Francie Marbury, $100 from Village Square Booksellers; and John Bohannon, $200 from Chris Sherwin of Sherwin Art Glass. 

Further information about CASP and its work can be founded at caspvt.org. 

Thursday, Aug 6 and Sunday, Aug 9, 2020 mark the 75 year anniversaries of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan . Hundreds of thousands of civilians lost their lives as a result of these bombings, which were not necessary to end World War ll because the Japanese government was attempting to surrender. However, the U.S. went ahead anyway with the bombings to gain an advantage over the Soviet Union in the newly emerging Cold War.

There will be a vigil on both days at the Wells Fountain (adjacent to the library) in Brattleboro, Vermont – to call attention to these atrocities. All are welcome to attend. Please bring your own sign if possible. We will be wearing masks and social distancing. Vigil times are:

Thursday, Aug 6 and Sunday, Aug 9 from 4:30-6:30pm

Welcome to Putney Mutual Aid!

We are a group of community members working to coordinate neighbor-to-neighbor support in response to the COVID-19 crisis. 

We help match needs and offerings for things like essential rides, food, grocery pickups, caring for loved ones, organizing neighborhood groups, meals, masks, donations and more.


DO YOU NEED HELP?  CAN YOU OFFER HELP?

Please go to our CONFIDENTIAL Needs and Offerings Form.  A small team of Mutual Aid volunteers will receive your requests and offers and match you behind the scenes. Please know that this team is committed to your privacy and your name will not be shared other than with the volunteer(s) and community organizations who will be supporting you.


DO YOU WANT INFORMATION ABOUT PUTNEY AND VERMONT-SPECIFIC RESOURCES?

Please go to our Putney Mutual Aid Resource Sheet.


DO YOU NEED INFORMATION ON STAYING SAFE WHILE HELPING NEIGHBORS?

To reduce transmission of COVID-19, the State of Vermont has asked us to stay at home and keep social distance of 6 feet. If we go out of the house, we are asked to wear a mask, maintain distance, avoid going into anyone’s home, and wash our hands before and after. Volunteers are being asked to follow Neighborly Best Practices for Helping During COVID-19 to keep everyone safe and healthy. 


DO YOU HAVE AN EMERGENCY OR VERY URGENT CONCERN? 

Please call Tom Goddard, the Putney Emergency Director. You can reach him through the fire station hotline – 802-387-4372. If you can’t get through, please call 911.


FIND OUT ABOUT PUTNEY FOODSHELF RESOURCES HERE

Foodshelf open hours, resources related to food insecurity

FIND OUT ABOUT PUTNEY COMMUNITY CARES RESOURCES HERE 

Meals on Wheels, essential rides, small grants, help with applications and more


PUTNEY MUTUAL AID TEAM (and growing – join us!)

Volunteer Team

Ruby McAdoo, Jaime Contois, Cor Trowbridge

Support and Advisory Team

Ellen Strong and Hannah Pick (Putney Foodshelf), Kathleen Duich, Sarah Armour-Jones, Abd Rababah, Kate Kelly (Putney Community Cares), Laura Chapman (Putney Selectboard), Mike Mrowicki and Nader Hashim (State Representatives)

Neighborhood Point Person Team

Chris Ellis, Elizabeth Christie, Elizabeth Bissell, Maria and Ward Ogden, Nancy Shepherd, Amber Paris, Michael Hornsby, Amanda Perez, Jorika Stockwell, Gerrit Bollin, Ruby McAdoo, Jaime Contois, Betsy Hallett , Maggie Smith, Alison Mott, Sheila Garrett, Dierdre Kelley and growing

• • •

This is a grassroots effort, organized around a value for self-organizing community systems. Please feel empowered to take part.

You can reach us directly at PutneyVTMutualAid@gmail.com

Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PutneyVTMutualAid