White Fragility

White Fragility is a state in which even a small amount of racial stress becomes intolerable for a white person, thus preventing conversations confronting racial issues. Recognizing and naming it can be a helpful way to stay engaged in discussions about racism and in ongoing racial justice work, especially when it becomes uncomfortable. Because VT is a predominately white state, this concept is important to explore in many spaces that seek to meaningfully address racism. Peace & Justice Center facilitators go over this idea, outlining how it actively perpetuates racism in a cycle, and explore ways that the cycle can be disrupted as part of nearly all of our racial justice programming. Participants discover different approaches to noticing white fragility in order to no longer allow it to prevent meaningful learning and work in addressing racism within self, community, and institutions. In addition to being integrated into our multi-week programs like How to Talk with Kids about Racism, Building Empathy and Addressing Racial Oppression, and Privilege and Accountability: Becoming an Ally, the Peace & Justice Center also offers the exploring of this idea as a stand alone racial justice event. Facilitators explored this idea with well over a thousand people throughout VT, in mostly small settings, like classrooms, faith gatherings, social justice action groups, and to community spaces like libraries and our spot at 60 Lake Street, in Burlington.

We are excited to keep on sharing this idea and encouraged by the feedback that we continue to receive that it is helpful in supporting people in taking action to disrupt racism in the everyday lives of people in our community. Please let us know if you would like us to come to your community, or if you are interested and available, please join us at public events that involve this program in April and May. We are committed to including the Deaf community and others who need language interpretation, if you need ASL or other language interpretation and are planning to attend one of the following events, please let us know ASAP so we can plan accordingly.

  • Wednesday, April 12th from 6-7:30pm at Saint Michael’s College, McCarthy Arts, 1 Winooski Park, Colchester. The Peace & Justice Center is excited to join the with St. Mike’s MOVE Program to bring this workshop to the school and surrounding communities. 
  • Thursday, May 4th from from 11am-12 noon at the Peace & Justice Center, 60 Lake Street, Burlington. Due to the success of offering this program to the community at our space in February and to the success of our monthly lunch hour Toxic Whiteness Discussion Groups we are offering this as a lunch hour weekday program on May. People are encouraged to stay after to participate in a New Volunteer Orientation.

See National Bird with VT PBS this April

The Peace & Justice Center is delighted to share screenings being hosted in various places throughout Vermont next month. Each screening will be followed by a panel and/or Q&A. VT PBS, local communities and the PJC are coming together to do this. We are excited to help make connections to members of the Will Miller Chapter of Green Mountain Veteran’s for Peace, and others who have work with us and on their own, to expose realities of drone weaponry. Understanding drone warfare is an important aspect of exploring the military industrial complex and how it is changing. We think this film is full of heart and we love that it spotlights the courage of whistleblowers who dare to do what is right. We hope that is moves individuals and communities throughout the state and disrupts misinformation that is shared about these weapons.

We hope to see Peace & Justice Center folks at some of these Vermont screenings hosted by VT PBS and local community partners.

  • Thursday, April 13 at 6:30pm at The Art House Gallery, Studio & School, 67 S Craftsbury Rd, Craftsbury. In partnership with VT PBS, the Art House, Sterling College, and the Peace & Justice Center.
  • Tuesday, April 18 at 7pm at Johnson State College in Johnson. In partnership with VT PBS, Johnson State College, and the Peace & Justice Center.
  • Thursday, April 20 at 7pm at Manchester Community Library, 138 Cemetery Ave, Manchester Center. In partnership with VT PBS, the Manchester Community Library, and the Peace & Justice Center.
  • Tuesday, April 25 at 7pm at Kellogg-Hubbard Library, 135 Main St, Montpelier. In partnership with VT PBS, the Kellogg-Hubbard Library, and the Peace & Justice Center.
  • Wednesday, April 26 at 7pm at Catamount Arts, 115 Eastern Ave, St Johnsbury. In partnership with VT PBS, Catamount Arts, and the Peace & Justice Center.

Description from nationalbirdfilm.com:

National Bird follows the dramatic journey of three whistleblowers who are determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial current affairs issues of our time: the secret U.S. drone war. At the center of the film are three U.S. military veterans. Plagued by guilt over participating in the killing of faceless people in foreign countries, they decide to speak out publicly, despite the possible consequences.

Their stories take dramatic turns, leading one of the protagonists to Afghanistan where she learns about a horrendous incident. But her journey also gives hope for peace and redemption. National Bird gives rare insight into the U.S. drone program through the eyes of veterans and survivors, connecting their stories as never seen before in a documentary. Its images haunt the audience and bring a faraway issue close to home.

Director, Sonia Kenneback, shares more about the film in her director’s statement. Below is just an excerpt. For the full statement click here.

National Bird is an investigative political documentary that explores the complex issue of drone warfare from a human perspective. Through this film, I hope to enliven the public debate not just by enriching the existing discourse with a balanced portrait of the U.S. drone program, but more importantly by illuminating the impact this program has on the people – veterans and survivors – the human side of this war. Like previous advancements in military technology, combat drones have transformed warfare, outpacing the ability of legal and moral frameworks to adapt and address these developments. A broad, immersive, and thoroughly public discourse is critical to understanding the social cost of drone warfare.

From the day I met my first source in rural Pennsylvania to that moment in Kabul where I sat on a wooden bench opposite a maimed man and his son, this project has grown far beyond my expectations. The protagonists have given me intimate access to their stories and lives to educate the public about a weapons program with global implications. I greatly respect their courage and thoughtfulness, but most of all their humanity.

Disrupting Violence and Discussion Practice Group

Held on the 4th Thursday of the month from 6:00 to 7:30 pm, hosted at the Peace & Justice Center. This is the second time, of three, this program has been offered. Each discussion and practice group will include different content to help participants disrupt the cycle of violence and engage in conflict nonviolently. The hope is that people will attend as many sessions as possible but there is no expectation of that. There will likely be suggested readings and continued practice offered on the night-of but all will be proposed as optional. People of different backgrounds and skill sets encouraged to attend. If you are interested in leading an activity and/or have materials you would like to be considered for use, please contact us at program@pjcvt.org or 863-2345 x6. The third planned date is April 27th and there is a possibility it will continue if there is enough interest from participants and/or potential participants. Please let us know if you would like it to continue to be offering in an ongoing way.

Employment Opportunities

We are hiring two positions: Program Assistant and Seasonal Store Clerk.

The Program Assistant supports the the Program Managers on events and campaigns. This includes Racial Justice, Fair Trade, Peace, and miscellaneous programming. 15-25 hours a week.

The Store Clerk is responsible for helping customers with shopping needs and check out, stocking inventory, creating displays, receiving product, and other administrative duties.  The clerk acts as an ambassador for the PJC. This is a 10-12 hour a week summer position.

The ideal candidates must have a demonstrable commitment to the organizational mission. Click here to see full job descriptions. PJC is an Equal Opportunity Employer; people of color, members of the queer community, and differently-abled people encouraged to apply.  Compensation is competitive.

International Women’s Day Celebration in Burlington

We invite you to join us and the rest of the world in celebrating and honoring the women and girls of the planet and to use this day to commit ourselves to ensuring the rights of women of all ages so they can lead secure, creative, healthy, and free lives.

Saturday, March 18, 2017
1:00–3:00 PM
King Street Center
87 King Street
Burlington, Vermont
A community lunch will be provided.

This year the program features presentations by young women:

  • Young Writers Project
  • Muslim Girls Making Change
  • Nepali Dancers

Each year we honor three women who have distinguished themselves through their work with women and girls in the community.  This year’s honorees are:

  • Armina Medic – Victim’s Advocate with the Chittenden Unit Special Investigations
  • Aftaba Mezetovic – Advocate for Bosnian and other minorities in the areas of housing, jobs and education
  • Wanda Hines – Joint Urban Ministry Project (JUMP)

We invite you to come meet and converse with the diverse women of our community, taste international treats, and hear about three community members being honored for their work.

Sponsored by: The Caroline Fund, The Laura Kate Winterbottom Memorial Fund, Zonta Club of Burlington, and The Peace & Justice Center.

This event is FREE and all are welcome to attend.