A Thank You to Kid’s Club Participants!

A big thank you to all who participated in this month’s kids clubs! Young people are an integral part of social justice movements now and have been in our history. Together at the two different events kids and adult family members explored feelings and needs we all have, practiced empathy and talked about nonviolence and nonviolence action. Kids who attended these two events shared the way they are involved in changing the world and the social justice movements they feel most passionate about. Both kids club meetings were a success and now we are excited for their slightly older peers to join the conversation in our Nonviolent Action for Youth workshop, which is coming up on July 11th! In this workshop participants will learn just a few techniques of nonviolent action as well as some examples of youth-lead actions in peace and justice work. It is best suited for youth and young adults. Register online or call us at 863-2345 x6 to register over the phone. If you have questions you can also call us or send an e-mail to program@pjcvt.org.

A Participatory Reading of Frederick Douglass’ “The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro”

As a community, we invite you to the steps of Burlington City Hall on the 163rd anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ speech to reconsider the meaning of racial justice and freedom through a historic lens as we celebrate our nation’s independence day. Help commemorate the day in which this great abolitionist delivered a powerful speech excepting himself from celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

In 1852, Frederick Douglass, one of our nation’s greatest orators and abolitionists, was asked to speak at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Douglas, offended by the invitation, instead gave this provocative speech the following day, castigating the United States for decades of slavery and injustice.

In the speech he said, “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.” And he asked, “Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?”

Check out this video with portions of last year’s reading:

Douglass’s speech remains emotionally powerful and thought-provoking more than a century and a half later and we invite you to read it with us.

The PJC is helping to organize the Burlington event on Thursday, July 2, at 5:30 on the Church Street side of City Hall. However, other community readings will take place throughout the state at a dozen locations from Brattleboro to Jeffersonville and Wallingford to St Johnsbury. All events are between July 1 and July 5. See the dates and places on the VT Humanities Council’s Calendar.

Copies of the speech will be provided and audience members are encouraged to partake in the shared reading of this influential speech. Audience members will be needed as well so please come whether you’d like to read or not.

The Burlington event will be introduced by Denise Dunbar, Ph.D, Vermont Anti-Racist Action Team and Reading to End Racism Director, and is supported by the Peace & Justice Center, the VT Humanities Council, Partnership for Change, AALV, Young Writers Project, Community Change Inc., and PAUSE. For more information contact Kyle at 802-863-2345 X6.

VT Candlelight Vigil for Charleston Victims

There will be a silent candlelight vigil on tonight (June 19th) from 8:30 PM to 10:00 PM in front of the First Unitarian Universalist Society (top of Church St.) in Burlington for the victims of the Charleston massacre. This vigil is to remember and mourn the victims in solidarity with their families and the Black Lives Matter Movement. As Vermonters, we are not separate from any acts of violence against people of color in this country. We must mourn together, stay engaged together, and make change together! Rest in peace: Rev. Clementa Prinkney, Cythia Hurd, Rev. Sharonda Coleman, Tywanza Sanders, Ethel Lance, Susie Jackson, Dewayne Middleton, Myra Thompson, and Daniel Simmons. Please share this event widely and bring a candle and some to share if you can.

Loving Day Vermont: June 13th

As an interracial couple, here are a few reasons why  Loving Day, and the Supreme Court decision (Loving v. Virginia) that it commemorates, matters to us:

  • Prior to 1965, we could not have wed in Indiana, the state that our wedding was in and that our marriage license is from.
  • There is still opposition to our marriage from many, despite its legality.
  • We will soon be having a biracial child and want them to be proud of their mixed race heritage.
  • Vermont is one of only 9 states in the U.S. that did not at some point consider interracial marriage illegal.
  • There are many parallels between the fight for interracial marriage equality in the 1960’s and the fight for same-sex marriage equality today.

Our hope for this year’s Loving Day Vermont Celebration (the 2nd annual) is that the format of an open-mic story forum will encourage sharing and listening amongst our community. This ties Loving Day Vermont to the international Loving Day mission to “fight racial prejudice through education and build multicultural community.” We encourage you to bring your stories (about any way in which you identify with Loving Day or the Loving case), as well as your desire to celebrate!

Loving Day is a global network of events that commemorate the anniversary of Loving vs. Virginia, the 1967 Supreme Court case that legalized interracial marriage. Loving Day’s goal is to fight racial prejudice through education and build multicultural community. This event is brought to you in partnership with the Peace & Justice Center.

By Sarah Brown (Founder/Organizer) and Nicholas Glass (Co-Organizer)