Ed Everts Social Justice Activist Award
Every year the PJC honors activists who are doing the hard work of making change in their communities. This award was inspired by the work of Ed Everts (1919-2013), who was a decades long supporter and member of the PJC.
During his service in WWII, Ed had a near death experience and began to question war. He was a union organizer and all his work was informed by the need for workers’ rights and solidarity. Ed was a world traveller and met the love of his life, Raven Davis, in Japan in 1965. They settled in Charlotte in 1973 and Ed devoted the second half of his life to turning swords into plowshares working for justice and peace through the Peace and Justice Center in Burlington, the VT chapter of the American Friends Service Committee and the local Veterans for Peace. He produced over 660 hour-long shows for the Peace and Justice Review on Vermont Community Access Media’s Channel 15.
Isaiah Hines is a graduate of South Burlington High School (SBHS). While attending South Burlington High, he was a student representative to the South Burlington School Board. He also helped create the Student Diversity Union which seeks to bring students of different backgrounds together to challenge racism and prejudice. Most notably, Hines is known for helping lead a campaign that influenced the school to rid itself of the nickname Rebels. A name that was tied to a history of racism and was no longer befitting for the school. In 2017, Hines was named Vermonter of the Year by the Burlington Free Press and received the David Goldberg Child and Youth Advocacy Award from Voices for Vermont’s Children for his efforts in combating racism. South Burlington High School has since taken on a new name, and Hines a new school. He is currently in his first year at Columbia University.
Muslim Girls Making Change
Muslim Girls Making Change is an ensemble of four unique high school students with a love of poetry. They are Kiran Waqar, Hawa Adam, Lena Ginawi, and Balkisa Abdikadir- all really close friends and seniors at Burlington and South Burlington High Schools. Since 2016, these young women have been using slam poetry to bring about discussions of racism, sexism, Islamophobia, among other topics that are close to home. They have have competed at international levels, won numerous awards, and have helped lead several local and nation wide initiatives. Muslim Girls Making Change were also included in the Huffington Post’s list of 17 Muslim American Women Who Made America Great in 2016. The following year they were awarded by Rights and Democracy VT with Humanitarian Awards for their work fighting for social justice. Kiran, Hawa, Lina, and Balkisa continue to inspire groups of all ages across the state of Vermont as they organize locally and globally.
Rising Tide Vermont
Eugene Jarecki, a public intellectual on domestic and international affairs, is an Emmy and Peabody award-winning director of dramatic and documentary subjects. Motives in his films often stems from a sense of outrage at areas of corruption, exploitation, or injustice in contemporary life. Jarecki’s films deal with rigorous inquiry, weaving story, emotion, and penetrating analysis into a series of unforgettable sounds and images. He has won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival twice; first in 2005 for Why We Fight, and again in 2012 for The House I Live In. He is the founder and executive director of The Eisenhower Project, a public policy group dedicated to promoting greater public understanding of the forces that shape U.S. foreign and defense policy. He published the book ‘The American Way of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril’ in 2008 to further discuss topics like these. He is also the creator of ‘Move Your Money’, an online video that sparked a national movement in 2010 to shift personal banking away from “too big to fail” banks into community banks and credit unions. Since then, millions of Americans have “moved their money.” Today he continues to receive wide critical acclaim as both a dramatic and documentary director in film and television.
Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform
Vermont’s criminal justice system was created over time by citizens who wanted safer communities. While all had good intentions, many citizens sought to create harsher sentences out of fear or mistakenly thought that criminalizing a behavior would prevent it. Others strove to create more constructive alternatives including diversion programs, community justice centers, restorative justice panels, and specialty courts. Nonetheless, Vermont today remains a state of over-incarceration, like many others in this country. Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform is a nonprofit organization that works to achieve an effective and restorative criminal justice system and is dedicated to ending unnecessary incarceration, ending the use of out of state prisons, improving access to services like mental health and drug treatment, promoting alternatives to incarceration, and keeping communities healthy and safe.
Migrant Justice/Justicia Migrante
Migrant Justice/Justicia Migrante is a nonprofit, community, and non-governmental organization that consists of Vermont farm workers working to bring about food justice and human rights. Its seeds were planted in 2009 following the tragic death of José Obeth Santiz, a young dairy worker who was pulled into a mechanized gutter scraper and strangled to death by his own clothing. The mission of Migrant Justice is to build the voice, capacity, and power of the farmworker community and engage community partners to organize for economic justice and human rights. Through an ongoing investment in leadership development, its members are able to deepen their skills in community education and envision collective solutions to shared problems. Members of the organization have defined community problems as a denial of rights and dignity and have prioritized building a movement to secure these fundamental human rights to: 1) Dignified Work and Quality Housing; 2) Freedom of Movement and Access to Transportation; 3) Freedom from discrimination; 4) Access to Health Care. Migrant Justice has gained national attention over the years for its cutting edge human rights organizing and its concrete victories.
Joseph was a part of a Quaker peace and justice organization, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), from 1995-2009. As a part of this organization he worked nationally and locally for fair immigration policies and an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; he founded the Central Vermont Farm Worker Coalition. The Coalition continues to advocate for the rights of undocumented and documented farm workers from Mexico and Guatemala. Joseph was a member of the Vermont Farm Health Task Force, where he co-chaired the Migrant Farm Worker Committee. Joseph has been a community organizer/outreach worker for Central Vermont Community Action Council, an anti-poverty agency, where he initiated the organizing of the Vermont Foodbank. These are just some of the many amazing campaigns that he has been a part of. He walks his talk. And we have been grateful to have walked and talked with him during these difficult years when militarism and consumerism have reigned supreme. A teacher by nature, he has provide a generation of young people with guidance and helped them discover their moral compass.
Mercedes serves as the Equity Education Specialist for the Diversity & Equity Office in the Burlington School District. Mercedes has worked for Jubilee USA Network in Washington, DC, an alliance of 75 religious denominations, faith communities, human rights, environmental, labor, and community groups working for the cancellation of debts in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Mercedes reminds us that our young are very capable of rising above today’s uncertainty and able to give voice to the many inequities which alienate and deny them access to participate in their own decision making.
Safe Power Vermont
Safe Power Vermont is a coalition of experienced citizen, environmental, legal and nuclear replacement organizations working to close Vermont Yankee, replace it with clean, safe and renewable energy solutions, and put the energy future of Vermont in the hands of its citizens. This coalition was instrumental in achieving a victory in the VT Senate with a vote of 26-4 to deny re-licensure to VT Yankee in 2012!
Since moving to Burlington, Ita has worked for Vermont Access to Reproductive Freedom, facilitated groups at Outright VT, and chaired the RU12? Queer Community Center Board of Directors. Ita is an activist with the Radical Cheerleaders, is a member of Kings Local 802, and is a founding member of the House of Lordes, both activist-oriented drag performance groups and was a core member of the group of activist who worked to add “Gender Identity and Expression” to the State of Vermont’s list of protected classes. They can often be seen traipsing about town in bright colors, talking loudly, interrupting hurtful remarks and breaking up fights. Ita is a founding member of CQ Strategies.
Marmete Hayes was the co-founder of Pax Christi Burlington, a membership organization that rejects war, preparation for war, every form of violence and domination, and personal and systemic racism. Marmete taught religious education and spoke at parishes across Vermont about religious customs in the home. In 1981, she co founded a new chapter of Pax Christi in Burlington, promoting peace and justice and addressing issues such as violence, nuclear weapons, oppression in Central America, the U.S.-led wars in Iraq, and the School of the Americas. For years, she stood with many others at the top of Church Street in a silent vigil as a steward of peace during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
VT Freedom to Marry
Vermont Freedom to Marry is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization committed to gaining civil marriage equality for same-sex couples in Vermont. VFM works to deal with the complications and expenses that comes with juggling in-state marriage equality as well as federal and out-of-state discrimination. VFM works throughout the state to educate Vermonters about the importance of civil marriage equality for same-sex couples and their families in addition to answering questions about financial and tax issues, family and child custody concerns, and more. Much of VFM’s work entails tabling, public speaking (at local churches, synagogues, etc.), hosting house parties, collecting signatures of support, and grassroots lobbying.
Roddy O’Neil Cleary
Since 1976, Roddy has been a force for social change. She has worked for justice for refugees, women, and minorities. She was a frequent volunteer for COTS, Vermont Interfaith Action and the Burlington Food Shelf and was a member of the Freedom to Marry Task Force. A former Roman Catholic nun, Roddy directed the Cooperative Campus Ministry and taught in the Women’s Studies program at University of Vermont. Roddy was part of the first organizing team of the local Habitat for Humanity. She and her husband Bill (deceased) have two sons. She was the Affiliate Minister at the First Unitarian Universalist Society for 10 years.
Ed Everts (1919-2013), was a decades long supporter and member of the PJC. During his service in WWII, Ed had a near death experience and began to question war. He was a union organizer and all his work was informed by the need for workers’ rights and solidarity. Ed was a world traveller and met the love of his life, Raven Davis, in Japan in 1965. They settled in Charlotte in 1973 and Ed devoted the second half of his life to turning swords into ploughshares working for justice and peace through the Peace and Justice Center in Burlington, the VT chapter of the American Friends Service Committee and the local Veterans for Peace. He produced over 660 hour-long shows for the Peace and Justice Review on Vermont Community Access Media’s Channel 15.