Newsletter Vol. 4 No. 4 – April 2024

NAVIGATION
Mentorship Is Key To Being Successful Personally and Professionally In Vermont

by Alfonso Villegas

Vermont is a small state. As a new attorney, I quickly learned that the bar is equally small and your reputation travels fast. Attorneys and judges talk to each other. Folks will hear about you before they meet you – which will be their impression about you. Indeed, Vermont is a place where people tend to know each other and your references really matter. This can be both a challenge and an asset. Learning how to capitalize on Vermont’s word-of-mouth ecosystem is essential to building your career and setting yourself up to hear about opportunities that you may not otherwise hear about. That is where mentorship comes in.

Professionals of Color are at a critical time in Vermont where we can lay a strong foundation for mentorship. For example, everyone knows Vermont is one of the whitest States. According to recent Census data, Vermont is 93.8% white. Nevertheless, I was still surprised to learn that Samuel Johnson, Esq. was the only Black attorney in Vermont as recently as 1986.  Johnson moved to Vermont in 1977. Then, attorneys had to complete a clerkship, a formalized “mentorship”, before taking the bar. Being the only Black applicant, Johnson experienced discrimination while looking for a clerkship. Eventually, he found one and took the bar in 1978. But that experience led Johnson to advocate for a new rule in the ethical code governing attorneys that forbade employment discrimination. Between 1985 and 1986, the Vermont Supreme Court proposed and passed such a rule. Between 1978 and 1986, Johnson was the only Black attorney in Vermont. Unfortunately, after several years of practice, he moved away. Those that practiced with him remember him as smart and charismatic. But, Johnson was also an advocate for future generations of diverse attorneys.

As Professionals of Color in Vermont, it is incumbent upon us to be mentors. Traditionally, a mentor is a person that offers guidance, patronage, and influence to someone that is less experienced. Mentors can have an outsized impact by helping shape decisions and foster personal and professional growth in a mentee. Tuck School of Business Professor Stacy Blake-Beard challenges that traditional definition. She argues that the traditional definition is “sponsorship,” which is part of mentorship. Successful mentoring also focuses on how a mentee feels. Professor Blake-Beard has developed expertise in helping corporate clients develop institutional mentorship programs. Otherwise, mentorship programs that are not done well can be damaging.

Mentorship provides two things to the mentee: weak links and strong links. Mentors are the strong links. The mentee seeks a mentor based on characteristics that include similarity, attraction, trust, and frequency of contact. Similarity and attraction is important for the mentee to feel comfortable with the mentor and for the mentor to be willing to share links with the mentee. The mentor being willing to use some of their social capital for the benefit of their mentee is essential vulnerability. Vulnerability that is rewarded leads to trust and a more positive relationship between mentor and mentee. If the mentee feels that they are being invested in by the mentor, they are more likely to develop confidence, to perform better, to be curious, and to seek professional development which benefits everyone – the mentor, the mentee, and the mentee’s company or law firm.

The mentor gives the mentee access to weak links. Weak links include introductions to individuals, encouragement to apply for a job or course, and access to information or exposure that the mentee would otherwise not have organically. While researching how women progressed in their careers in India, a male dominated space, Professor Blake-Beard observed that mentorship opened inaccessible doors. These doors were the result of introductions facilitated by the mentor. Introductions can be formal, such as a planned meeting where the mentor sets up the mentee with an interesting contact, or encourages the mentee to take part in a particular community program or training initiative. Introductions can also be informal, like at social events where the mentor can introduce the mentee in conversations. These kinds of interactions build a social and professional bond that is reciprocally rewarding – but requires trust. Mentors benefit because humans have an inclination to be generative. “Generativity” is the concern for the future or a need to nurture and guide younger people and contribute to the next generation.

Vermont has more attorneys of color today than ever before. Similarly, there are more professionals of color in Vermont than before. But the numbers are still small. BIPOC folk have had to overcome barriers to clear a path for equality, inclusion, and the opportunity to succeed. We are entering a new phase in Vermont’s history where we can build bridges for the future so that those that come after us succeed.

About the Author

Alfonso Villegas is a trial attorney at Gravel & Shea PC focusing on all aspects of civil and criminal litigation in state and federal court. His parents immigrated from Colombia. Originally from Pompano Beach, Florida, he went to Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and graduated from Vermont Law & Graduate School. He lives in South Burlington where he often hosts meals with friends (including Colombian recipes). 

COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT

Our member spotlight is on Myra Flynn (she/her)! Myra is a musician and journalist who has been in Vermont for 38 years. Additionally, she serves as the host and executive producer of the Vermont Public podcast Homegoings.

Currently, she splits her time between Brookfield, VT, and Monrovia, CA. Read more about her background, experiences, and insight at the link below!

news FROM THE NETWORK

Introducing: VT PoC’s The Things in Between!

Missed out on our past Financial Literacy Series webinars? No worries! We’re shaking things up and bringing the knowledge straight to your screens with our new video format!

Get ready to dive into The Things in Between! ✨ Our hopes for The Things in Between is to provide an accessible way to share information, while also discussing topics beyond financial literacy.

In March, we spoke with Jonathan Goffe from Vermont Consumer Credit Consulting to answer questions about understanding personal credit. Check out the playlist at the link below!

BIPOC-Owned Businesses: Host a Table at St. Michael’s College Job Fair!

St. Michael’s College is holding an internships and careers fair on campus as part of its student-led DEI week on April 3, 2024!

Table spaces are limited, but they will give priority to BIPOC-owned businesses who have summer job openings or career opportunities for students. Employers can contact Kaomi Taylor directly at ktaylor9@smcvt.edu or register to host a table at the link below. Registration is open through April 2.

VT PoC’s 2023 Annual Report

2023 was an incredible year of growth and community for VT PoC, and we’re excited to share the work that we did with you. Find the full report at the link below.

Document cover for VT PoC 2023 annual report pdf

New Fellowship at Outpost for BIPOC High School Students

BIPOC high school students throughout the state (grades 9-12) who are poets, fiction writers, and essayists are invited to apply for this fellowship! A small cohort of promising students will be selected to participate in an intensive writing workshop. This workshop will be held at the historic Robert Frost Stone House in Shaftsbury. Selected fellows will receive a $300 award plus travel expenses.

Applications will close on May 15th. If you have any questions, contact Ricardo Wilson at director@outposttheresidency.org.

Apply now: VTDigger’s Advertising for Racial Equity program is accepting new businesses

The program supports BIPOC-owned Vermont businesses, entrepreneurs, and solopreneurs by offering up to $2,000 worth of free digital advertising on VTDigger’s website!

BIPOC Financial Empowerment

The Root Social Justice Center is excited to announce the launch of the BIPOC Financial Empowerment program, an initiative of the Building Equity Collaborative. The program is designed to provide BIPOC with the knowledge, tools, resources and coaching to support their financial wellbeing.

BIPOC must be living in rural Vermont (outside of Chittenden County) to participate in the program. The program offers monthly hybrid (in-person & zoom) workshops on various financial topics, a supportive affinity group setting and 1:1 coaching to help you achieve your goals.

Workshops start in April and end in October, register to claim your spot now! The program will offer free workshops and coaching in English and Spanish. English workshops will be offered the 1st Saturday of the month and Spanish workshops on the 3rd Saturday of the month.

State of Vermont Outdoor Recreation Survey

The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation and the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative invites you to share your views on outdoor recreation in Vermont by completing a brief survey.

The mobile-friendly online survey takes approximately 15-20 minutes and asks questions about outdoor activities, opportunities, barriers, and opinions on priorities. Your input will guide and support decisions about where to focus energy and resources across the outdoor recreation landscape over the next five years.

To learn more, visit the Move Forward Together Vermont website and feel free to share the link to the survey with your organization and community.

NAACP Rutland & Bright Leadership Institute Present: Bright Power Fellowship

The 2024 Bright Power Fellowship is now accepting applications! This year-long, facilitated leadership training for BIPOC Vermonters who are already serving or are interested in serving on nonprofit boards and other non-elected local, regional, and state level leadership opportunities. Fellows will receive $1000 stipends, learning opportunities, peer support, and mentorship.

Applications will close at midnight on April 12th.

2024 Braiding Seeds Fellowship Applications Open Now!

The Braiding Seeds Fellowship is an 18 month long remote fellowship program for beginning BIPOC farmers based in the northeast and southeast of the US. The fellowship provides $50,000 stipends as well as resources in professional development, mentorship, business acumen, and individualized coaching!

This is officially the final year of our initial 5 year pilot program so we highly encourage folks to apply, both new applicants and returners! If you always had this program on your radar but never felt up for submitting an application, this is YOUR year!

Town of Stowe – Student Design Charrette Seeking Mentors

The Town of Stowe Electric Department is hosting a design event with high school and college students! They are looking for 3-6 professionals willing to volunteer their time to work with the students as they come up with their designs. It’s a mentoring role to provide guidance and encouragement to the students.

Professionals in art and design, engineering, landscape ecology, business and marketing, and architecture are valuable, but any professional willing to volunteer their time to work with students is most valuable. Lunch will be provided.

If interested, contact Michael Lazorchak by phone at 802-253-1710 or by email at mlazorchak@stoweelectric.com by April 12.

CVOEO’s Community Action Network Tax Preparation and Assistance Season

From Thursday, February 1 through Monday, April 15, low-to-moderate income Vermonters can receive no-cost assistance with income tax return preparation through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), as well as help with rent rebates and homestead property declarations.

Please call to schedule an appointment for tax assistance or return preparation.

VT DBHI+ Community Day: Vendor Registration

The intent of DBHI+ Day on May 4th is to introduce new leadership and re-establish current leaders from various organizations in Vermont. To share with the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard-of-Hearing Community about the resources and services that are offered throughout the State of Vermont such as educational supports available to youth, current telecommunication and assistive technology, services providers (state and non- profits) and support groups, etc.

This is an opportunity to network with Vermonters and nearby neighbors (NH/MA/NY) that stop by to learn what Vermont offers to their community. Register deadline for vendors is April 15.

EVENTS

April 1 – Strip(TEA)SE at Grimm’s Domain (6:15 PM – 9:00 PM)
Enter a realm where tea and tantalizing performances converge at Strip(TEA)SE. Join us for an early evening of handcrafted teas, local talent showcases, including captivating pole performances, followed by laid-back chats. Sip on Railyard Apothecary teas as you immerse yourself in the mesmerizing performances by local artists, showcasing their pole dancing prowess. After the show, unwind with fellow attendees in a relaxed atmosphere, fostering connections and sharing laughs. Strip(TEA)se is more than just an event; it’s a celebration of wellness and community. Don’t miss out – reserve your spot now for an unforgettable evening of sensory delights and connection.

April 2, 16 – Mandarin Conversation Circle with the Vermont Chinese School (11:00 AM – 12:00 PM)
Please join volunteers from the Vermont Chinese School to learn and improve your Mandarin and make new friends. Registration is not required. All are welcome! Please email vtchineseschool@gmmail.com with any questions. Thank you!

April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 (Every Tuesday) – Richard Kemp Center: Got Chess? (5:00 PM – 7:00 PM)
The Youth Chess Club is a dynamic and inclusive program designed to empower young individuals from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities through the timeless game of chess. Our program offers a safe and welcoming space where youth can explore the world of chess, cultivate essential life skills, and experience a range of valuable benefits.

April 3 – Mercy Connections – Business Owner Wellness Virtual Workshop: What is Your WORTH? (1:00 PM – 2:00 PM)
Pricing is the key to prospering! But, pricing is one of the most challenging aspects of being in business. Pricing is a combination of many elements, but when you don’t know your WORTH, it’s nearly impossible to attract your best customers. Join this lively workshop with Markey Read to learn how to price according to your WORTH and learn how to create amazing offerings based on your Cost of Services Sold (COSS)!

April 3, 8 – Early College & Free Degree Promise Info Sessions
Early College is a program for high school seniors and the Free Degree Promise allows students in the high school classes of 2024-26, who complete Early College at the Community College of Vermont, to continue and earn an associate degree at CCV, for free! Learn about our programs, get help with financial aid, and win cool prizes. In-person session: April 3 at 4:30 PM at Community College of Vermont – Upper Valley. Virtual session: April 8 at 6:00 PM.

April 3, 10, 17, 24 – ELL Classes: English for Beginners and Intermediate Students (6:30 PM – 8:00 PM)
Beginning English-language learners can practice written and spoken English with a certified TOEFL instructor. FREE. Please register for classes by emailing Barbara Shatara at bshatara@burlingtonvt.gov.

April 4 – Richard Kemp Center: Virtual Black Affinity Space for Youth (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM)
All are welcome to participate In recognition of the unique experiences, challenges, and strengths of the African Diaspora “Black Space provides a safe, supportive, and empowering environment where Black individuals can come together to share common experiences, build relationships, foster community, and promote healing. Click for meeting link.

April 4 – Vermont Womenpreneurs’s Biz Buzz Waterbury (5:30 PM – 7:30 PM)
Join us at Stone’s Throw for a night of delicious bites and fabulous wines. We have reserved Stone’s Throw private dining room to mingle, network, kick back and relax while in the company of amazing womenpreneurs. Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to treat yourself to a night of great food, great wine, and great company! Ticket for the evening include appetizers and the main course. Cost: $20.

April 5 – My Mother’s Table with Thingz from Yaad (5:00 PM – 6:45 PM, 7:00 PM – 8:45 PM)
Enjoy Destination Jamaica right here in Vermont with the most authentic 3-course mouth-watering family-style dinner. Join me on April 5th at Local Maverick to try some of our crowd-favorite menu items and a slice of Haitian Rum Cake for dessert by All Heart Inspirations. Cost: $50.

April 5 – Mal Maiz and Kotoko Brass at Zenbarn (6:00 PM – 10:00 PM)
Don’t miss this co-bill featuring the incredible Latin dance band Mal Maiz with acclaimed Boston area band Kotoko brass combinig Ghanaian Drumming with New Orleans style horns! This is a not-to-be-missed party for all ages! Dinner included. Cost: $15.

April 5 through 7 – The Field Center Presents: Helical Transmissions with Belinda He and Mohammadreza Akram
Drawing from the Feldenkrais Method, we foster the potency of touch as a vehicle for self-knowledge, community building and technique refinement. Using partnered touch, as well as an invisible, imagined one, we practice specifying pathways and heightening awareness with one another. We propose, at varying speeds of dancing, how “becoming a spiral” is a vital detail of the Flying Low technique. By orienting towards ease and a nuanced listening to our whole selves, we will investigate how to harness and integrate the forces coming from the ground through our individual and collective structures for spontaneously generative dancing, fast, slow, high, low, and everywhere in between, in our shared and solo dances. We offer 3 full scholarships for BIPOC folks in each session.

April 5, 12, 19 – Dance/Rink Skate Drop-In Sessions with Joy Riders and Vermont Skate Society (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM)
Bring your own skates or request a pair in advance (preferably 24 hr notice). Helmet & waiver required (bike helmet ok). All entry fees will be donated to the ONE Strings music program at the Integrated Arts Academy. Please let us know if you need financial assistance. Cost: $10/session, venmo or cash accepted.

April 5 – The Field Center Presents: ‘about face’ Performance Evening with Belinda He + Mohammadreza Akrami (7:30 PM – 8:30 PM)
The Field Center presents a work-in-progress showing of about face with Belinda He (Singapore/US) and Mohammadreza Akrami (Iran/Canada) on Friday evening, with a post-performance discussion with the artists! Sliding scale $10 – $20 | pay at the door.

April 6 – Community Discussions on Community Health and Wellness (4:00 PM – 6:00 PM)
Public safety conversations focusing on racial justice is crucial, given the historical challenges faced by Black communities in the United States. We are adopting a comprehensive and collaborative approach that combines policy advocacy, community engagement, and education to contribute to a meaningful change in the conversation around public safety, particularly as it pertains to the safety and health and wellness of Black people. This open and ongoing communication with community members, organizations, and stakeholders is crucial in building a comprehensive and effective response. It will enable us to formulate and execute the community-based approach required to ensure our safety, health and wellness.

April 7 – Tarot Reading at Rabble-Rouser Chocolate & Craft Co (10:00 AM – 1:00 PM)
Come to Rabble-Rouser on Sunday, April 7th to see what the Sun’s Total Eclipse has in store for YOU! There will be a sign-up sheet for readings. Don’t miss this opportunity only a day before the much-awaited Eclipse!

April 8 – Central Vermont BIPOC Advisory Group’s Solar Eclipse Community Wellness Gathering and Viewing Party (1:30 PM – 5:30 PM)
Welcome to the Solar Eclipse Community Wellness Gathering! Join us at Christ Episcopal Church for a day of relaxation and rejuvenation. This FREE community event is all about coming together as a community to focus on our well-being. Food, games, chair massages, and music will be offered. Whether you’re looking to de-stress, connect with others, or simply enjoy the solar eclipse, this gathering is the perfect opportunity. Take part in workshops, meditation sessions, and other activities designed to promote wellness. Don’t miss out on this unique experience to nourish your mind, body, and soul! Viewing glasses provided.

April 8 – Obscura BTV: Total Solar Eclipse (All Day)
On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will cross over North America, and Burlington is lucky to be in the direct path of totality! The City of Burlington has SO much in store for this once-in-a-lifetime event to welcome visitors to our wonderful city and to delight and prepare locals for this stellar experience. There will be events at the waterfront, downtown, and all throughout the city, with community venues and organizations programming their own events in addition to direct Obscura programming. Stay tuned to burlingtoneclipse.org for all of the goings on, as well as with key information regarding services, transportation, and other essentials.

April 11 – Firefolk Arts Presents: A Concert With Touring Artists Brittany Ann Tranbaugh and Blair Borax (6:30 PM – 9:30 PM)
Join us for a concert featuring touring musicians Brittany Ann Tranbaugh (Queer Americana from Philly, PA), and Blair Borax (Portland, Oregon) sharing her new album “Tender Lately” ~ indie-folk vocal stylings reminiscent of 1920s jazz and pop melodies, with special guest folk singer Avery Lavoie (Vermont). All ages are welcome + mocktails for sale during this show! Cost: $15/ticket.

April 11 – Richard Kemp Center: Black Affinity Space for Adults (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM)
All are welcome to participate In recognition of the unique experiences, challenges, and strengths of the African Diaspora “Black Space provides a safe, supportive, and empowering environment where Black individuals can come together to share common experiences, build relationships, foster community, and promote healing.

April 12 – Building Trust with Communities in Vermont: Facilitated by Ruchi Nadkarni (12:00 PM – 3:00 PM)
This workshop is for professionals engaged in community based work in Vermont and will go over the basics of building trust in interpersonal relationships and the community. This also pertains to small businesses that cater to customers in the Vermont community. Other Professionals can also attend this workshop to build their skills in building trust in their work settings. Ruchi is offering a sliding scale and scholarships to VT PoC members who want to attend – email her directly at nadkarniruchi@gmail.com!

April 12, 26 (Every 2nd and 4th Friday) – Richard Kemp Center: Youth Movie Night (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM)
Youth Movie Night is a community-centered initiative aimed at promoting awareness, understanding, and dialogue on racial justice issues through the medium of film. This program creates a safe and inclusive space where youth from 8 to 18 can come together to watch thought-provoking movies with cultural themes, engage in meaningful discussions, and share food in a welcoming and collaborative environment.

April 13 – Fletcher Free Library Presents: The Poetry Experience with Rajnii Eddins (1:00 PM – 3:00 PM)
Looking for a fun space to be creative and share poetry? Check out this local writing/sharing circle (held every 2nd and 4th Saturday). The Poetry Experience is hosted by Rajnii Eddins! Please spread the word and feel free to invite poets, writers, teachers, emcees, creative people and arts enthusiasts of all ages.

April 13 – Fletcher Free Library Presents: Black is Beautiful Film Series – Rustin (3:00 PM – 5:00 PM)
The powerful true story of Bayard Rustin, the openly gay Black Civil Rights leader who dedicated his life to a quest for racial equality, is finally getting the spotlight. The Black Is Beautiful Film Series is curated and hosted by poet Rajnii Eddins. The series features monthly films by Black film directors. The films range from the well-known Hollywood blockbusters to award-winning independent films. Please join us for an afternoon of entertaining and engaging movies!

April 13 – Sherpa Foods’ First Annual Momo Eating Contest (5:00 PM)
We are very excited to announce our first Annual Momo Eating Contest to benefit South Burlington Food Shelf! All proceeds from the event will be donated to South Burlington Food Shelf. $30 entry fee (First prize $100, Second prize – $50 and third prize $30) Please click the link for registration info and rules for the contest.

April 14 – NYChillharmonic at Zenbarn (7:00 PM)
The NYChillharmonic is a Brooklyn-based, 18 piece, progressive-jazz orchestra led by composer/singer/bandleader, Sara McDonald. The music fuses multiple genres including rock, pop, classical, and jazz while sonically embracing unconventional textures, arrangements, and harmonies – ultimately creating an ensemble sound like nothing you’ve ever heard before. Cost: $15 for general admission, $20 for day of show.

April 14 – Sahib Singh at the Vermont Comedy Club (7:00 PM)
After serving 5 years in the JROTC, Sahib Singh has not only proven himself on the battlegrounds, but also on the stage. The rising star from the Baltimore/D.C. stand-up scene has performed at clubs and colleges across the country, and in 2019, he won the Magooby’s New Comedian of the Year competition. His original videos have earned him a strong following on social media, and in 2021 he worked as a writer and performer for Comedy Central. His work has been featured on the CBS Comedy Showcase and the digital series AS SEEN ON ADULT SWIM.

April 17 – Clean Heat Standard Gathering
The Clean Heat Standard (CHS) deserves your attention whether you rent your living space, own your home, or operate a business. Join us for one of three virtual gatherings to learn more about – and share your thoughts on – the potential Clean Heat Standard. The CHS will impact what you pay to heat your home or business.

April 17 – Vermont Womenpreneurs’s Biz Buzz Bristol (5:30 PM – 7:30 PM)
Come join us for a fun evening of networking and craft brews at Hogback Mountain Brewing! Connect with local womenpreneurs over a pint of locally brewed beer and delicious eats from Lucky Star Catering. This in-person event is the perfect opportunity to expand your network and enjoy great company in a relaxed setting. Ticket price includes food and first pint. Cost: $20.

April 18 – Richard Kemp Center: Outreach and Education; Equal Protection and Reparations – Hybrid (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM)
Join us at the Richard Kemp Center for outreach and education on systemic racism root causes, impact and discussions on solutions. This is an opportunity to learn and get acquainted with folks who are interested and engaged in doing the work of eradicating systemic racism. These sessions are intended to equip our community and provide space to do the work. If attending online, click to register in advance for this meeting.

April 19 – SeedSwap & Human Family Potluck (5:00 PM – 7:00 PM)
We would love to have you at the next Human Family Potluck with our SeedSwap Table, live poetry, songs & live music! Hosted by Farmer Ama and Kiah Morris. Featuring Shidaa Project, Marcie Hernandez, and more special guests to be announced. All ages, free and by donation.

April 19 – Craig Mitchell’s Birthday Bash ft. Purple: A Tribute to Prince & DJ Disco Phantom (8:30 PM)
“Many people know Craig Mitchell as one of Burlington’s top club DJs. In fact, he’s a multiple Daysies victor for best club DJ. In addition to dropping hot beats on the ones and twos, Mitchell is one of the biggest Prince fans in town — and he takes his love for the dearly departed Purple One to the next level. Mitchell fronts Purple: A Tribute to Prince, for which he enlists some of the finest musical talent in the area as his backing band.” – Seven Days Newspaper

April 19 – Richard Kemp Center: Game Night (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM)
The Game Night is a unique and inclusive community event designed to foster unity, understanding, and celebration of diverse cultures while promoting racial equity and social justice. This is a welcoming space for people from all racial backgrounds to come together, have fun, and engage in meaningful conversations. You can expect Inclusive Games, Cultural Exchange, Racial Justice Discussions, Networking and Building, Community, Food and Refreshments and a Family-Friendly Environment.

April 20 – Firefolk Arts Presents: Sorrows + Sunshine – Grief Writing + Story-Telling Workshop with Rachel Wylie (1:00 PM – 3:00 PM)
Grief can often feel very solitary, but sharing our stories of sorrow with others helps bring light to the darkness. In the Sorrows & Sunshine workshop, Rachel will guide participants through an explorative writing exercise designed to shine a warm light on our sorrows, followed by optional story-telling. What to expect: Creation of a communal grief altar, writing exercise, and a opportunity to tell your story to the group. Cost: $10 – $20 sliding scale.

April 23 – Zosha Warpeha + Matthew Evan Taylor Performing at The Phoenix (7:30 PM – 8:30 PM)
Join vocalist and Hardanger d’amore player Zosha Warpeha for an evening of intimate and meditative music in anticipation of her forthcoming album silver dawn. Matthew Evan Taylor will open the night and then join Zosha for a duet performance. Cost: $15 – 30 sliding scale.

April 26 – Community Dialogues for Entrepreneurs: Navigating Difficult Conversations Saying No and Yes (10:00 AM – 11:30 AM)
Guided conversation about the real experiences we have as humans running a business. Entrepreneurs and business owners are invited to participate to build community, share learning, and broaden perspective around common themes and challenges women, femmes, and thems experience in current business communication, culture, and operations. We might discuss: strengthening trust in your body and voice to communicate and advocate for what you need, and the importance of boundaries and the shadow side of bypassing direct communication.

April 26 – Joy Riders VT: BIPOC Skate Night (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM)
Save the date for our next BIPOC Skate Night on Friday, 4/26 from 6-8 PM at the ONE Community Center gymnasium! More details coming soon! Cost: $10/person.

April 27, 28 – Sci-Fi & Fantasy Expo at the Champlain Valley Exposition (10:00 AM – 6:00 PM)
A family friendly event for all ages – delight in whimsical workshops, ghostbusting demos and role-playing games. Visit over 100 vendors, cosplayers, authors, artists and game designers. Interact with fan organizations, live demos, panels and workshops. Dress like your favorite sci-fi or fantasy character, costumes are always welcome but never required!

April 28 – Isabel Wilkerson, Pulitzer prize-winning author, presents Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (6:00 PM – 7:00 PM)
The Burlington Community is honored to welcome Isabel Wilkerson, Pulitzer Prize-winning Author, to give a virtual presentation on her new book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. Please reserve an advance ticket for this event. There will be a 30-minute presentation followed by a 30-minute Q&A.

May 2 – The Flynn Center Presents: Rodrigo y Gabriela (7:30 PM)
For over two decades, Rodrigo y Gabriela have created the kind of music that invites lasting transcendence, mesmerizing audiences across the globe with their virtuosic yet wildly inventive guitar playing. As shown on critically lauded albums like the Grammy Award-winning Mettavolution (a 2019 release largely shaped by their longtime interest in Buddhism), the Mexico City-bred duo have continually turned to musical expression as a form of spiritual searching—a journey that recently led to the making of their sixth studio album. Sparked from their study of Advaita Vedanta (a Hindu philosophy rooted in the concept of nondualism), In Between Thoughts…A New World arrives as one of Rodrigo y Gabriela’s most revelatory offerings yet: a spontaneously composed body of work primed to bring about the very expansion of consciousness that inspired its creation. 

May 24, 25 – Michelle Buteau at the Vermont Comedy Club (9:30 PM)
Michelle is the creator/writer/star of the upcoming Netflix series SURVIVAL OF THE THICKEST, inspired by her autobiographical book of essays of the same name, published by Gallery Books. Note: tickets are selling out quick!

FUNDING & GRANTS

VT PoC BIPOC Relief Fund Reopened for BIPOC Small Businesses and Community Members

The VT PoC BIPOC Relief Fund has reopened and is available with limited funding available to BIPOC small business owners and community members in need of relief funding from the July 2023 flood. Application Deadline: May 15, 2024.

$100,000 Funding Opportunity for BIPOC-Led and BIPOC-Serving Composters
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is launching a BIPOC Community Composter Mini-Grant Program to support new or existing local community composters in coastal states in New England. Programs seeking funding must be BIPOC-led or BIPOC-serving, in a Native Nation, or working in a historically excluded neighborhood. We will provide $100,000 in sub-grants to selected projects, awarding up to 10 grants with a minimum grant of $5,000 and a maximum of $20,000. Awardees will also receive virtual hot composting training, a travel stipend to attend the 8th National Cultivating Community Composter Forum in Cleveland, Ohio, in October 2024, and access to ILSR’s Community Composter Coalition, a network of community composters that builds connections, spreads lessons learned and inspires new operations. Application Deadline: April 2nd, 2024.

NOFA-VT’s Farm Share Program – Waitlist Open
NOFA-VT’s Farm Share Program reduces the cost (25-75%) of a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share or farm stand credit for Vermonters in need of financial assistance, while ensuring farmers are fully paid. A CSA is a subscription (usually weekly) from a farm for a regular supply of farm-fresh veggies, dairy products, meats, bread, and more. Due to high demand, all applications will be added to a waitlist. If funding opens up, we will contact you regarding next steps.

Vermont Arts Council – Creation Grants
The Vermont Arts Council is now accepting applications for its annual Creation Grant, which supports artists or artist groups in creating new work. Grant funds may be used to compensate artists for time spent creating new work, to purchase materials, or to rent equipment or space for the process. This highly competitive program is reviewed by an independent panel of practicing artists and arts professionals. Both established and emerging artists are encouraged to apply. Application Deadline: April 9, 2024.

The BIPOC Artist Exchange and Activation Initiative
The BIPOC Artist Exchange and Activation Initiative is designed to showcase the contributions of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) artists to the New England art community. This program empowers BIPOC artists in New Hampshire and New England, inspiring local BIPOC artists by introducing them to artists from outside our community. Applications will be accepted until funds are exhausted.

NEWS

Holi celebration in Winooski marks a colorful (if snowy) start to spring
On Sunday, the Winooski School District gym turned into something like a rainbow explosion. That’s where the Bhutanese Nepali Community of Vermont hosted Holi this year, moving it inside after the weekend’s snow storm.

Vermont could become the next state to make Juneteenth an official holiday
Discussion in a Senate committee this week made it clear that the bill is not looking to make Juneteenth a paid holiday because setting new time off for city workers would involve collective bargaining. But some communities have gone that route.

2024 eclipse expected to bring traffic jams to Vermont
“You just might be sitting in traffic for a little while,” said Burlington’s events director. “But from an actual safety standpoint, we feel good about it.”

Community schools may be the future of education. Their funding is drying up.
Educators say schools are serving more needs than ever before. The community schools philosophy leans into this broad understanding of the role of public schools.

Vermont desperately needs nurses. Its nursing schools need instructors.
Universities in the state are investing millions in nursing schools. Can they address a chronic workforce shortage?

Schools to close for eclipse day in Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties
Eclipse day on April 8 will be treated like a snow day for thousands of Vermont public school students.

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