“Even the statement, “Let’s invite more Black people to the table,” implies ownership of the table and control of who is invited. Racism is about power.”
Bernice A. King (b.1963)
American minister and the youngest child of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King
There are quite a few submissions this week, WeCANners, and we are so thankful for the effort each and every one of you continues to put forth into our community. From protests and counter protests to feeding our neighbors during this pandemic to taking a good look at our own inherent racial biases, Windham County residents are demanding progress and we are excited to witness it! Thank you!
As an added bonus this weekend, we’d like to share with you some thought provoking music to enjoy while you peruse this week's Weekly Email Update. Afro-Caribbean-Canadian singer and songwriter Kaia Kater, who studied Appalachian music at West Virginia's Davis & Elkins College, often references the Black Lives Matter movement within a music form that doesn't exactly snap to mind as being in dialogue with modern issues.
These days, Kaia Kater records for Smithsonian Folkways and some of the songs she brought to this Tiny Desk Concert come from her recent recording Grenades, a record she worked on while exploring her father's home country of Grenada. It's a country that has "experienced a lot of political turmoil," she says. "My father left when he was 16 years old and he came to Canada as a refugee, on his own. It's a story I ran away from for a long time, where I didn't want to reconcile with myself being this kind of hyphenated Canadian." Kaia Kater tries to come to terms with that history on the last song at the Tiny Desk, also the title track of Grenades. "Rain heavy like carpet bombs, sweetgrass, and lemonade / Fold the memory into your arms and whisper it away." The imagery is stunning, her Tiny Desk Concert sublime. (From NPR Music Mar 20, 2019) Enjoy!
(Click the image for NPR's Tiny Desk Concert featuring Kaia Kater. Many thanks to Lissa Schneckenburger for the recommendation on Facebook)
“Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.”
We are attempting to go back to a weekly emailing schedule, WeCAN Family, and we are excited to share this week's email and all the ways you can get involved in the struggle for Justice and Equality in America right now. One fantastic way you can stay involved and support your local economy from wherever you are is by stopping by your favorite local bookstore (in the flesh or online) and purchasing a few new books that will fuel your activism this Summer and get you thinking about how we can make this world a little bit better. Brattleboro's favorite activist bookstore, Everyone's Books, has a monthly suggestion list for activists and this month's is nothing short of inspiring. Take a look and grab 2 or 3 for those lazy hammock or river days: https://www.everyonesbks.com/social-justice-june-2020-edition
In addition, after three years of emails and activism, a proper logo was created for our fantastic group. The new logo is simple and streamlined and we can't wait to share it with you. Ta Da!
Lastly, another you way you can stay involved from home is by following our brand new Instagram account at www.instagram.com/windhamcountyactionnetwork and share Justice events, accounts, videos, and images with your followers. You can send your events via DM as well, by 10pm on Friday nights, for inclusion in that week's Weekly Email Update. We can't wait to see what you share with us on social media.
“It’s time. This moment is our time for folks…—not just Black folks— to show up and confront the violent and brutal reality of law enforcement across the United States of America. I promise, the moment you listen to Black organizers you will be freed.”
Black Lives Matter organizer and activist
In observance of Juneteenth this week, a holiday that commemorates the emancipation of African slaves in America, the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) is organizing a weekend (6/19-6/21) of action to demand divestment from police departments and investment in black communities. “This Juneteenth is a rare moment for our communities to proclaim in one voice that Black Lives Matter, and that we won’t tolerate anything less than justice for all our people,” said the organization in a press release.
Titled SixNineteen, the Juneteenth weekend of action includes several digital actions and marches around the country to push three causes: defunding the police, investing in black communities, and the resignation of donald trump. Although details about the actions have not been provided, the group said June 19th will be dedicated to celebrating black beauty and resilience, while marches will be organized for June 20th, and the focus for June 21st will be to get trump out of office. “Electoral justice and political power are often pitted against activism and protest, but in our movement they are deeply connected and a requirement for one and the other to coexist", said Jessica Byrd, an organizer with the Movement For Black Lives Electoral Justice Project, in a statement.
“For the last six years we have collectively taken a national course in police violence, and we now know some solutions that have been offered, have not borne fruit in terms of reducing or eliminating police violence, said Mervyn Marcano, the co-founder of Blackbird. “We believe this weekend of action will continue to lift people’s spirits at the same time that they are fighting for justice in the streets.”
For more information on Juneteenth, check out this video clip from an episode of black.ish in 2017. In it, an animated version of The Roots gives viewers a Schoolhouse Rock-inspired primer on the real history of slavery and the origin of the holiday. FACT: It took three years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation for slaves to be freed. FACT: Texas landowners forced slaves to work through another harvest season after then Civil War ended. It wasn’t until June 19, 1865, to be exact, that slaves were officially freed, leading to the celebration of “Juneteenth” as the official end of slavery. On the track that follows, Black Thought sings, “I am a slave, yes I’m only a slave / They’ll place my body in an unmarked grave.”
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We are hurting along with our Black, Brown, Indigenous, Immigrant, and Minority members and the community. We extend our outrage and love. We must do all we can to educate ourselves and our neighbors to the realities of police, institutional, and systemic racism and eradicate our own complacency, as well as that of our fellow Vermonters, when we witness anti-black racism. Scroll down for local public events today and Tuesday. In the spirit of education (and due to the prevalence of Covid19), below is a list of 26 ways to contribute your voice to the health and safety of black communities beyond marching or protesting: 26 Ways to Be in the Struggle Beyond the Streets
Racial Justice Resources for Families
How to Talk to Kids About Racism: An Age-by-Age Guide
Have you talked to your kids about race and racism? Maybe you think they’re still too young or that a specific conversation isn’t really necessary? They’re never too young, and an ongoing dialogue about race and racism is a really good idea. Kids who may be targets of racism may need help negotiating their feelings and figuring out how to respond to what they are experiencing. How do you start the conversation? Each age group has different needs. Read on for ways to broach the subject with your child.