We have put up a sign saying that Black Lives Matter.
We had a film series in late spring on looking at racism and some of its evolution.
And this is your invitation to join a focused group this fall. Details are below. Please contact Gail Haines to register (or with questions). Gail.email@example.com
802-387-5676 or 802-258-0369.
Please register by September 10th.
Thanks and toward justice and peace, Gail
> Whites confronting our Racism – study and dialogue to action
> A group to meet 5 times. Regular attendance at all sessions is important for group development, so let us know if you have to miss a time. There will be readings sent out ahead of each session. We hope everyone who attends will have seen or see the films that were in the racism series in the spring. (they can be borrowed from the meeting)
> Tentative session titles:
> White privilege and white fragility within the context of a society that has structural racism
> Micro aggressions
> Practicing interventions
> Being black / person of the global majority in a majority white community and congregation
> How to take action
> Wednesdays, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
> Sept 21, Oct 5, Oct 19, Nov 2, Nov 16
> At Mareka’s house, 126 Main St. Putney – go in front door and ring bell on right (residence)
> Please let Gail Haines know by September 10th if you want to participate. Gail.firstname.lastname@example.org
> Organizers and facilitators of the series – Claire Halverson, Sandy Lynn, Mareka Ohlson, Sheila Garrett, and Gail Haines.
Our Panel: Ken Williams (Interim Dean, S.I.T.), Chief Michael Fitzgerald (Brattleboro Police Dep’t), Dan Davis, Esq., José Moldando, Orlando Alverez, Patrina Lingard (moderator), and Darah Kehnemuyi (Director, Brattleboro Community Justice Center)
“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.
Sheila Garrett deconstructed the word responsiblity as part of her following note. Have you ever thought of this word in this way? It opens up possibilities for action in ways that you may not have thought of… both as individuals and as Faith groups.
Sheila is walking from Vermont to Georgia. You can follow her diary on PutneyFriendsMeeting.org; Sheila’s walk to Georgia.
Part of what I struggle with in understanding and explaining my ministry is the universality and inclusivity of it. One thing became clear in the past few days. The Doctrine of Discovery, the Papal edicts of the 1400s justifying the subjugation and annihilation of indigenous peoples, was the EXACT same system, the same definition of Christianity that justified/called for slavery of African people. John Woolman’s writings make that very clear. The exploitation of natural resources and of other species is also justified the same way. It really is all connected.
When people ask ‘why are you walking?’ I say ‘I’m walking with a concern for the earth and all it’s beings, including you.’ In saying that, I intend to honor John Woolman’s approach. Woolman was very intentional in making all those connections, perhaps especially the inclusive aspect of concern for the slaveholder as well as the slave. I think when I can, I need to be able to articulate clearly and concisely what I mean by this. It is what Woolman and others say about ‘taking away the occasion for war.’ It is that BLACK LIVES MATTER as much as any lives matter, more than others right now, because the movement (Black Lives Matter) needs support and because they have been so intentionally and consistently disregarded. This is not to say that other lives don’t matter, too. When I met with the working party on Racism at Stony Brook in Baltimore, people were saying they thought the message should be BLACK LIVES MATTER, TOO. I think it’s good to hold the line on BLACK LIVES MATTER as a definitive statement of the need for redress. It means for me that no matter how simply I live I will always be privileged and with that privilege comes responsibility, the ABILITY to respond effectively to injustice. I carry that response ability and I need to use it as best I can. I need to find ways to effectively express it and live into it so it can resonate with each person I meet. For me prayer and direct connection to the divine are completely entwined with this. I cannot do this alone. For some, it is obvious and easy to discuss. For others, ‘God talk’ shuts them down immediately. Same with talk of social justice. And there are levels that work and don’t work for each of us. I pray for the ability to be sensitive to each person’s needs. I try to meet each person where she/he is and engage meaningfully to whatever extent possible.