What current and former facilitators have said about their work with the Peace & Justice Center…

“I believe that we all have to work for peace and justice in the world. Most of the workshops that PJC offers address both those issues as well as educating white people on racism. As a POC, it’s important to let other POC know that there is a way to work with white people that is not demeaning and disparaging.” – Beverly Little Thunder

“After participating in several PJC workshops and discussions myself, I find that facilitating is one way I can continue working towards dismantling racism. Each program I’ve attended or facilitated has been very different and has highlighted ways racism harms everyone. To me, this reflects the complexities of racial oppression and the need for me, as a white person, to continually work towards progress.” – Lauren Layn

“In short, I am a kid who regularly talks with adults about race and racism. I feel that I can offer a unique perspective as a PJC facilitator because of my age and my experiences as a youth of color living in Vermont. I know how important and helpful it was for me that my parents talked to me about racism and I want to help other parents initiate these difficult conversations. I feel that facilitating is a great way for me to ensure that adults in my community are engaging in anti-racist parenting.” – Isaiah Hines

“I want to be a facilitator because I see it as an opportunity to further educate people in my community about social justice issues.” – Rachel Wilson

“I’ve been an activist my whole life and organized my first public protest at age 11 when we walked out of grade school in Lyndonville nearly 30 years ago to stop the first war on Iraq. I lead PJC programs because I believe racism is the key element used to oppress poor people, so the best work I feel I can do toward building a healthier world and future is to fight racism. No one is born hateful and all poor people are harmed by white supremacy, so this is a battle for hearts and minds just waiting to be won.” – Netdahe Stoddard

“I started doing this work because of all the horror stores I’ve heard from People of Color about what is like to live in Vermont. I’s especially interested helping create safe schools where all students can develop positive identities and thrive.” – Alyssa Chen

“I am thrilled to marry two of my passions — my social justice activism and my work teaching meditation/mindfulness classes — in one lovely package, as a facilitator for the Peace and Justice Center’s “Mindfulness for Activist” program. I love teaching meditation because the science supporting the benefits of a regular practice is so strong. And who better to share this information with than my fellow activist peeps? All of us need to engage in the kind of self care we need to hang in there for these tough battles over the long haul. Another great aspect of the Mindfulness sessions, PJC-style, is that we can all learn from each other. All kinds of good! I am really grateful that PJC has taken me on as a facilitator!” – Ginny Sassaman

“If we are ever to heal from the wounds of racism, it will be because my white sisters and brothers have taken responsibility for ending racism. The Peace and Justice Center has courageously taken up this mantle.” -Hal Colston

“As a young woman of color it is incredibly important for me to break down the barriers of communication that prevent dialogue around racism. Facilitating for the PJC is exciting because it creates a platform for community members to learn more about the systems we have in place that perpetuate racism as well as generating a network of people who are trying to change their minds and the minds of their peers about race and racism.” – Kesha Medina

“While growing up in a small, rural community in southern Vermont, I understood racism as individual acts of violence by bad people, and primarily acts that happened somewhere else. As I matured I came to understand institutional racism as a system that disadvantaged some through no fault of their own, but for a while I never had to confront the corollary, that for some to be disadvantaged, there must be some who are advantaged. During my years as an educator, mother and community member, I wrestled with what best to do with my unearned advantages. More recently, I’ve been thinking a great deal about the ways systemic injustice harms everyone; we all have a responsibility to work to effect change. I believe in the power of education and dialogue. Participating in and facilitating workshops for the Peace & Justice Center provides an opportunity to engage in meaningful, challenging and diverse conversations with a broad range of people, the kind of conversations that promote my own growth and advocacy work as much as (I hope) that of others.” – Karin Ames

“I do facilitation work with the Peace & Justice Center for the rare experience of both giving and receiving knowledge, wisdom and understanding from community members who represent many different backgrounds and experiences. Facilitating workshops with PJC is some of the most meaningful work I’ve done, and a memorable shared experience that is always worth the tensions that arise when we are faced with difficult conversations. I love it.” Infinite Culcleasure

“As a mother of a toddler and an educator in the public school system I am always looking to connect with others around how are we making anti-racist parenting and teaching part of our daily lives. As a white person it is my responsibility to act in solidarity to end white supremacy and build this consciousness in our Vermont communities. But this work is too big for any one of us alone so I am grateful for the opportunity to facilitate and come together for these workshops.” Jade Walker

“As co-founder and CEO of Abundant Sun, an international cultural transformation agency, I have been working as a global diversity, equity, and inclusion professional for the past 25 years. As a global citizen, I re-located to Vermont, from the UK and Europe in the summer of 2015. This choice was driven by Vermont’s international reputation of being a progressive state committed to social justice. Having expanded our business operations to Vermont, I have been very busy working for a variety of organizations in Chittenden County where there is the highest visibility of cultural diversity in the State. The demand for our work is strong there, yet virtually silent in the southern Shires, where I have found it very hard to put my finger on the diversity, equity, and inclusion pulse. Then the opportunity arose to facilitate a community-based conversation, with the Peace & Justice Center, at the local Manchester library around ‘Seeing and Disrupting Racism in Children.’ What I felt I could help with was providing a global dimension of race and racism, and to help people see beyond what I consider to be the narrow confines and definitions of race within American society. I suppose I accepted the offer to work with the PJC because deep down inside of me I would love to see the United States of America’s culture free itself from what I have come to call its ‘Obsessive Compulsive Racial Disorder’. I would love to see the United States of America move beyond the binary of race, to evolve beyond just seeing and defining people only in terms of black and white. I am reminded of the phrase ‘Free your minds and the rest will follow’.” – Jude Smith Rachele, PhD

“I am doing this work with PJC because it is simply impossible for me to like with myself just going about my daily life, cloaked in white privilege, without engaging in strategic anti-racism action. We are in a time where black and brown people are being targeted yet again for being their human selves and the fact that I have a choice to do nothing, not think about or talk about it, and therefore perpetuate it, is unacceptable to me. I could never answer to my son if I din’t act. My son is a white male. There is nothing to stop him from perpetuating this violence if I do not teach him how to continually act against it. Having conversations about race with white people is the tip of the iceberg.” – Julie Drogin