Anthony Flaccavento Book Signing

Anthony Flaccavento BookSunday, August 28th
2-4pm at the
Peace & Justice Center

Author, organic farmer, and bottom up economy advocate Anthony Flaccavento will sign and discuss his new book, Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up: Harnessing Real-World Experience for Transformative Change. In the book, Flaccavento looks at how agriculture, urban and rural connections, personal finance, economic policy, and the arts all play into creating localized resilience. He also offers guidance to people who are interested in making positive strides toward sustainability in their personal lives, communities, and at the political and policy level.

The founder of Appalachian Sustainable Development, Flaccavento is also president of SCALE (Sequestering Carbon, Accelerating Local Economies), Inc., a consulting business based in southwestern Virginia. He writes and speaks regularly on economic justice, sustainable development, and related issues and also produces a YouTube series, Take Five with Tony, that addresses many of these ideas in easy to digest 5 minute episodes. View the series and learn more at


Jake Witzenfeld“I hope that Oriented can help people unlearn their defensive and divisive behavior and ’embrace the grey’ of the complex human stories that may lead us to a reconstructive attitude in forging a shared future,” said Jake Witzenfeld, Director/Producer of Oriented.

Sharing why he wanted to make this film, he continued, “As a British Jew tired of the cyclically clashing narratives on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and an expat in Tel Aviv alarmed by the depressing blanket generalizing by Jewish Israelis of their Arab minority population, this story immediately struck me as one I wanted to tell.”

On August 3rd, at Big Picture Theater in Waitsfield, over 50 community members came together to watch this film, discuss the overlapping themes it explores, and relate it to work being done here in the Green Mountain State. The event was a partnership of the PJC, Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel, Outright Vermont, and Pride Center of Vermont. Also a new group called Green Mountain Solidarity with Palestine joined in last minute as part of the discussion.

Oriented Equal LogoIn the post-film talk, people highlighted meaningful insights such as the similar experience of coming out as queer Vermonters and queer Palestinians; the history of Israel/Palestine that is illuminated in the film through personal story but not outlined in a direct way; the importance of a chosen family; and the joy in taking on oppressive systems.

We are pleased to say that between the contribution of one major donor plus donations at the door, partnering organizations raised over $100 each. More importantly, each of us engaged new people in our work.

Thank you to everyone who was a part of this program for continuously working to create a more just and peaceful world.

My Experience at the PJC’s Racial Justice Workshop in June

Sophia Summer Programming Team 2016I am Sophia from Middlebury, Vermont and a junior at Ithaca College. I am a racial justice and peacework summer intern here at the Peace & Justice Center. Before my internship started, I was asked to attend a Building Empathy and Addressing Racial Oppression workshop in Essex. I went in expecting it to be a lecture style class, where they would give us information, we would fill out worksheets and have a couple discussions, however it didn’t turn out to be that way. The 3 part workshop was largely discussion based and pretty flexible to the needs of everybody in the room. This was meaningful to me, because in my experience, whether in classes or groups, there have been a lot of times when it is a lecture about racism, which is important, but also doesn’t allow people to ask clarifying questions that could be extremely important to them addressing racism in their own lives. Also, a lot of times, the lectures, classes, or discussions are addressed to a specific group of people who are intended to know vocabulary and such, which isn’t always the case and may silence those who might not be as familiar. To my pleasant surprise, there was a large group of people, from all different backgrounds and identities, which gave a lot more perspective to the conversation. It seemed like we were all there because we genuinely wanted to learn and talk about racism, generally and locally.

The facilitators were welcoming and encouraged thoughtful discussion as well as created a space where I personally felt I was able to openly share experiences, thoughts, ideas, and questions, which I think is really important for a workshop like this. In my experience, in spaces where people feel they can be more open, there is a lot more room for advancing knowledge and conversation. Especially when some people may be on completely different levels of comprehending and talking about racism. The workshops had many opportunities for small group discussions where we could practice talking about and confronting racism, as well as being able to bounce ideas off of each other in a smaller setting. One of the workshop days included an activity which involved going outside and moving around, this was a nice way to split up the sessions so we weren’t sitting for the whole time. Overall, this workshop was definitely a good experience, and I think anyone, regardless of your experience or knowledge about racism would have something to learn. This is also a good way to make connections with others in your community who are interested in taking on racism in the community and building collaboration!

By Sophia Abdul Sater

If you would like to participate in a Building Empathy and Addressing Racial Oppression workshop, join us on Tuesdays, September 13, 20, and 27 from 6:30-8:30pm at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library, 135 Main Street, Montpelier or Mondays October 3, 10, and 17, from 6:45pm-8:45pm at Sterling College in Simpson 3, 16 Sterling Dr, Craftsbury Common!

Oriented Screening and Discussion

Come join us at The Big Picture Theater and Cafe in Waitsfield on August 3rd from 6:30-8:30pm for a screening of the documentary Oriented followed by a meaningful discussion. 

The film follows the lives of three Palestinian friends who explore their national, sexual and cultural identities in Tel Aviv. They form a media art/activist group called Qambuta to share their thoughts on equity on various levels.

The discussion after the film will include panelists from Outright Vermont, Pride Center of Vermont, and Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel. The hope is to foster communication and discourse about the complex issues surrounding sexual and national identity. Our goal is to inspire community building and increase the support of and for those that suffer sexual, gender, ethnic or religious discrimination.

Tickets can be picked up at the Peace & Justice Store or Pride Center of Vermont in Burlington, Huntington Public Library, or Warren Public Library. Tickets are free but we recommend getting them in advance because space is limited.