Weekly Email Update 7.5.21

"Okay guys, one more thing, this summer when you're being inundated with all this American bicentennial Fourth Of July brouhaha, don't forget what you're celebrating, and that's the fact that a bunch of slave-owning, aristocratic, white males didn't want to pay their taxes."
Dazed and Confused, 1993

     There are a few new additions to this week's Weekly Email Update, including two Windham County Democrat events, the Sister's Rising local premiere in Brattleboro, and Edible Brattleboro's Share the Harvest stand. In whatever way you choose to observe this July 4th, we wish you a healthy and safe weekend and look forward to seeing you at an event soon! 



2nd Annual Southern VT Sister District Blue States USA Croquet
Sunday, July 4th, 2021, in Putney Village. 9am-4pm.

Sign up for a tee time here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/904044fa4aa29a4f58-blue
Southern VT Sister District will host our 2nd annual, 4th-of-July-weekend, croquet fundraiser for our Virginia candidates. Held in Putney village, this family-friendly, COVID-conscious event is a BLAST! 
Bring your friends and family and enjoy how the local artists and activists capture this year's theme, Hopes for our Future, with their whimsical wickets.
Last year we raised over $2000. This year we aim for over $3000. Donations collected at the event.


Share the Harvest Stand
a project of Edible Brattleboro
Starting Sunday, July 4th, 2021 in the garden at Turning Point Recovery Center (corner of Frost Street and Elm Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 11am-1pm.
This program runs until October 31st, 2021.
Fresh produce available at no cost thanks to local farmers, VT Foodbank and local gardeners. Donations accepted with gratitude. If you have surplus from your garden, please drop them off on Saturdays between 3 and 3:45pm, or Sundays between 10:30 and 11:15am, or by appointment (call or text 516-298-9118).


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Weekly Email Update 6.28.21

"Transgender people frequently face bias in court and are assigned unsupportive public defenders, factors which lead to more extreme sentences and longer incarcerations...Transgender people, especially transgender women of color, face pervasive discrimination throughout life, including by those sworn to protect us...I want to make sure that people understand that, behind this national conversation around transgender rights, there are real people who hurt when they're mocked, who hurt when they're discriminated against, and who just want to be treated with dignity and respect."
Delaware State Senator Sarah McBride (b.1990)
First person to publicly identify as transgender to be elected a State Senator;
American transgender rights activist, currently the National Press Secretary of the Human Rights Campaign

     New additions to this week's Weekly Email Update include Full Plates VT coming to Brattleboro, BI&POC Voices at this month's Gallerywalk, the return of Edible Brattleboro's Share the Harvest Stand, and so much more. Take a few moments to scroll though to the end of the email, grab your calendar, and make some plans! We can't wait to see you at an event or meeting soon. Have a great week! 


Can You Hear Us Now: Film Screening and Panel Discussion
hosted by Lean Left Vermont
Virtual Film Showing:
Sunday, June 27th 2021-Wednesday, June 30th, 2021
Panel Discussion:
Wednesday, June 30th, 2021, Online. 6pm.
Please register here: https://watch.showandtell.film/watch/llv
Through the stories of four determined Wisconsin women, the documentary Can You Hear Us Now, unravels the way years of one-party control has eroded democracy. As extreme partisanship has become the norm, Wisconsin voters find their lives are increasingly irrelevant to state lawmakers.
Lean Left Vermont is proud to host this special screening of a powerful new film that shows the personal and political impact in Wisconsin of anti-democratic policies and one of the most gerrymandered state legislative maps in the country.
The film is particularly relevant for us in 2021 when redistricting, at federal and state levels, looms large in states around the country. Our post-screening panel will feature activists from the film, along with Doug Poland, a lawyer fighting for fair maps in Wisconsin.
At the post film panel, you will hear how activists are fighting back in Wisconsin through elections, redistricting, and the courts. Join Lean Left Vermont's post-screening panel to hear about how activists are fighting back against gerrymandering and other anti-democratic measures in Wisconsin. Lean Left Vermont's Ann Smith will lead a conversation with Law Forward's Doug Poland, film subjects Rebecca Clarke and Sheila Plotkin, and filmmakers Jim Cricchi & Susan Peters.
This event is free to join but we strongly encourage you to make a donation that will raise funds for two organizations that are leading the fight in Wisconsin. You can donate here to Law Forward and Citizen Action of Wisconsin.



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Weekly Email Update 6.21.21

"Slavery occurred at an intersection of racism, homophobia, and negative attitudes towards sexuality, largely influenced by Christian ideology. Juneteenth, therefore, celebrates the end of an inherently heteronormative, sexphobic system of racial oppression. There are intersections here."
Gabrielle Alexa Noel, 
author of "How to Live with the Internet", essayist, software developer, and sex-positive content creator

   As this Summer Solstice weekend unfolds, we mark the longest day of the year, the first time Juneteenth is federally recognized, and the continuation of Pride month... it's quite a weekend, WeCAN readers! We would like to share with you an enlightening excerpt from "Black & Queer: What It Means to Celebrate Juneteenth and Pride in the Same Month" by Gabrielle Alexa Noel, an author, essayist, and sex-positive content creator, who is also Black and Queer. We hope this piece helps all of us to better understand what it means to identify as both BI&POC and LGBTQIA2+ during the month of June and the social intricacies that are woven into the identity of any person straddling two communities. You can learn more about the author here: https://gabriellealexa.com.

     "Every year on June 19th, we celebrate the ending of slavery in the United States. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1st, 1863, it took more than two years for news to reach the enslaved in Texas. Juneteenth, aka Freedom Day, acknowledges that delay and is observed as a day of pride and reflection. Juneteenth also sits directly in the middle of LGBTQ+ Pride month, which was established in 1969 to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising. Both are celebrations of important milestones for Black and LGBTQ+ liberation. And yet, as a Black queer person, this overlap sometimes splits my identity in half.
     In Black spaces, where Juneteenth is primarily celebrated, there is a perception that being LGBTQ+ is antithetical to Blackness. Other Black people tell me all the time that queerness was constructed by white people, although there is so much evidence to disprove that, and that it’s an intentional endeavor to weaken Black families and communities. My celebration of Pride is met with scorn by other Black people who wonder why there is seemingly more support for LGBTQ+ liberation than for Black liberation. At the very least, I’m told I should endeavor to be Black “first.” Liberation movements do not occur in succession, and I don’t have to pick one aspect of my identity to focus on. They all simultaneously exist and inform how I am marginalized. And yet, as I’m fielding questions about why I gave up on Black men or why I’m actively going against nature, it does feel like they’re trying to incentivize me to choose a side.
     On the other hand, LGBTQ+ spaces can be notoriously racist, evidenced by the phrase that has decorated gay bars and dating app profiles alike: “No fats, no femmes, no Asians, no blacks.”
     I’m used to both rejection and fetishization. White queers have said everything to me from, “I’m not attracted to Black girls,” to “I just love Black skin, it makes you so attractive.” But there is also overt and systematic discrimination. Mainstream LGBTQ+ organizations have even advocated for policies that were ultimately harmful to QTPOCs. In that context, Pride feels more like a celebration of white queerness. When LGBTQ+ movements neglect to center or uplift Black and Brown people, they are centering white supremacy instead; their silence creates some of the problems we see today, like the severe rates of poverty and homelessness amongst Black queer folks.
     It’s also ironic that we neglect to center QTPOCs when the Stonewall riots were incited by Black and Brown drag queens and trans women as a reaction to police violence. Considering the particular way in which the police harass, assault, and re-victimize Black trans women, it is impossible to extract race from our conversations about Stonewall. But, somehow, we ended up with a historical Stonewall film that follows a white, cis gay man in their place.
     Similarly, when we talk about slavery, it’s important to note the presence of Black queerness and its impact on perceptions of Black bodies. When the Portuguese arrived on the continent of Africa, representations of queerness and gender fluidity reified ideas that Black people were inferior and sexually indiscriminate. Slavery occurred at an intersection of racism, homophobia, and negative attitudes towards sexuality, largely influenced by Christian ideology. Juneteenth, therefore, celebrates the end of an inherently heteronormative, sexphobic system of racial oppression. There are intersections here. And in not talking about them, homosexuality has been reframed as un-African and a “white disease,” even though there are countless examples of homosexuality across cultures.
     When I hear people refer to the LGBTQ+ community and the Black community as two separate entities, black queer folks like me learn that we cannot belong in either camp. “Safe spaces” are never quite safe for us. We forfeit safety from homophobic violence in exchange for safety from racial violence and vice versa. White LGBTQ+ people and cis Black folks do not have to make the same critical decisions. And this complicates my celebrations of both.
     The LGBTQ+ community and the Black community have intentionally been positioned as rivals, even though their liberation movements overlap. During the Bush administration, government funding was intentionally diverted to Black religious organizations that were most likely to vote against same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, in the 1960s, a lot of LGBTQ+ advocacy groups referred to gay as “the new Black.” Gay right’s activist Frank Kameny even stated, “Now that it is becoming unfashionable to discriminate against Negros, discrimination against homosexuals will be on the increase.” He considered homosexuality to be the last major area where prejudice and discrimination were prevalent, minimizing the struggle for Black liberation in this country.
     In the quest for stricter anti-discrimination laws, LGBTQ+ organizations failed to realize how the criminal justice system was harming the exact people they had set out to protect via mass incarceration.
     Recognizing how Black issues in this country are often sidelined, celebrating our collective freedom on Independence Day—and not Juneteenth, when all ethnicities were freed—is off-putting. But to also share a month with LGBTQ+ Pride, which started a hundred years after Juneteenth, has drawn the ire of the Black community. By commemorating important days in our history, it keeps us educated about this country’s mistakes. Otherwise, those mistakes end up happening again. The fact that so many people are aware of Pride but don’t have the same energy for Juneteenth reflects the role of white supremacy in the structure of this country.
     These are the issues that complicate my experience as a queer Black woman. I want to celebrate all of the facets of my identity. I want to recognize the struggles my many communities have had to overcome and not be forced to pick between marginalized communities. The quote “Until we are all free, we are none of us free” by poet Emma Lazarus rings true.”

Gabrielle Alexa Noel


Abenaki Heritage Weekend
co-hosted by Vermont Abenaki Artists Association and Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, with support from: New England Foundation for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts Vermont Humanities Council
Ending today, Sunday, June 20th, 2021, Online. 1pm.
More details coming soon. We invite you to contact us with specific questions and comments. Email [email protected] or call 802-579-0049 after 5pm.
A 5-day FREE virtual celebration of Abenaki heritage. Meet Abenaki culture bearers and gain a richer experience and understanding of the Abenaki contribution to life in the Champlain Valley. Enjoy conversations and demonstrations with artists from participating tribes who invite you to share their indigenous arts, traditions, stories, language, and more.
Register in advance for Zoom sessions that will be announced shortly.
Sessions themed for all ages, with special programs for young audiences Pre-K to Grade 2, Grades 4 and up.
June 20, 1 pm - Abenaki Music and Crafts


The Abenaki Canoe Build
hosted by VT Abenaki Artists Association and Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
Sunday, June 20th, 2021, Online. 5pm.
*After registering you will receive a confirmation email with the Zoom link.
Free, donations appreciated. Open to adults, families, scout troops with children fourth grade and up.
Virtual Abenaki Heritage Weekend presents The Abenaki Canoe Build, chronicling how Abenaki basketmaker Bill Gould teamed up with artist and toolmaker Reid Schwartz to build a birchbark canoe from start to finish. The screening will be followed by a live Q & A and discussion with Gould and Schwartz. Recommended for High School students and adults.
A lumberman by trade, Bill Gould is a master artist of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, a citizen of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki, and a juried member of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. Reid Schwartz is a non-indigenous artist with a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design who creates handmade woodcarving tools and miniature bark canoes, and has taught and assisted courses for Plymouth Craft and the Penland School of Craft.
Designing, building, and launching their first full-sized birch bark canoe was a new adventure for these experienced woodworkers. “We learned so much,” says Gould, “and we have already started work on our next canoe!
This program will be recorded by VAAA/AAEC and published on the Abenaki Arts & Education YouTube channel.
Funded in part by Vermont Humanities Council, New England Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Putney Anti-Racism Book Group: Caste
hosted by the Putney Central School Leadership Council and the Putney Public Library
Sunday, June 20th, 2021, Online. 7pm-9pm.
For Zoom info to join or for more information, contact [email protected] or 603.504.2906 -- you can also send a message through FB messenger.
Please join the Putney Central School Leadership Council and the Putney Public Library for a continuation of an anti-racism book group for all Putney families and community members.
Join us for a discussion of Caste-The Origins of Our Discontents, written by Isabel Wilkerson.


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Weekly Email Update 6.14.21

"Like racism and all forms of prejudice, bigotry against transgender people is a deadly carcinogen. We are pitted against each other in order to keep us from seeing each other as allies. Genuine bonds of solidarity can be forged between people who respect each other's differences and are willing to fight their enemy together. We are the class that does the work of the world, and can revolutionize it. We can win true liberation."
Leslie Feinberg, 
Transgender activist and author
From Transgender Liberation: A Movement Whose Time Has Come, 1992

     This week's Pride Month feature comes from Brattleboro's own Out in the Open (www.weareoutintheopen.org). Out in the Open "connects rural LGBTQ people to build community, visibility, knowledge and power. Based in Brattleboro, Vermont, we work locally and regionally."* They are actively seeking submissions for We Feed Each Other: Rural LGBTQ+ Food Traditions, V. 2 and invite members of the LGBTQIA2+ community to join them.

From their website:
Out in the Open’s We Feed Each Other Volume 2 is Seeking Submissions*
The submission deadline is Wednesday, June 30th, 2021.
Submission form can be found
It's back! Our We Feed Each Other- Rural LGBTQ+ Food Tradition zine was a great hit in 2020, and we're excited to be celebrating our vibrant, joyous queer community with you this summer and always!
See our first volume here: https://www.weareoutintheopen.org/zines-toolkits. Download and print a copy from your home for free! 
Our movements towards social justice are fueled by food, stories, stories shared around food and more. For our Rural LGBTQ+ community connecting around food and stories is healing, joyful, and is a place for us to share together, and to feed each other, both our bodies and our movement. 
In this moment in time- we turn towards healing, holding our collective grief and trauma, building space for joy and creativity, and building traditions. Our history of healing and liberation led is by Black Trans women. We are in a movement, historically and presently, fueled by Black Trans Women.
Food has acted as a a form of healing, care, support, and joy throughout our rural LGBTQ+ communities. We invite you to share your recipes, stories, and more in this zine collection. Please add your favorite recipes, food memories, stories/poetry and art. (feel free to include just a recipe, just a story/poem, just artwork or a combination of all offerings!). 
Submissions will be compiled into a shareable zine. For questions and more information email [email protected].
Out in the Open connects rural LGBTQ people to build community, visibility, knowledge, and power.
We envision a resilient community of communities that works toward the transformation of our economic, social, and political relationships. We are building a multi-issue social justice movement of rural LGBTQ people.
For more information about Out in the Open- visit, weareoutintheopen.org. 
The name and photo associated with your Google account will be recorded when you upload files and submit this form.




Weekly Community Conversation with Rep. Emilie Kornheiser
Sunday, June 13th, 2021, Online. 11am.
Please sign up in advance for this meeting and we’ll send you an email with the zoom link. https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEtce-grD4rGNxo9FEE3R8zKpRSj_qBTz03
Emilie Kornheiser, State Representative for Windham 2-1, invites you to join her weekly community conversations: every Sunday at 11am. We’ll talk about what’s happening in the legislature and in our town. Open conversation format-- come for the full hour or just stop by for a few minutes to share a particular concern or question.

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