Newsletter Vol. 4 No. 6 – June 2024

NAVIGATION
A Change Is Gonna Come… At Some Point

by Mark Power-Freeman

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

The above is one of those proverbs I think we’ll have with us always, and it has been on my mind quite a bit lately as I look back over a life that spans from the late 20th century through the first quarter of the 21st.  

The more things change, the more they remain the same. 

Is it a cause for despair or comfort?

My life has changed quite a bit from the days of my youth in South Florida. I was a little Black kid being raised by a single mother in the poorer neighborhoods of Fort Lauderdale. Couldn’t swing one of those little brown anoles so common there without hitting an incidence of racism: personal security guard escorts in the nicer stores at the malls, being punished by authorities (police and school administrators) because somebody thought “you look[ed] like the kid who did it,” suspected whenever someone’s personal belongings went missing. 

But things have changed! Haven’t they?

I’m now a middle-aged Black man living in a Vermont suburb. I want, or need, to think something other than myself and my geographic location has changed in the world. So I keep a keen eye out for what racism looks like up here. 

And it is here, though to my eye it’s…the same but different. I am still rarely able to just be a person in any space, only an object of interest. Which is one of the curses of otherness: everybody wants to be noticed, but you want it to be that Daaaaamn kind of notice not the Keep an eye on that one, just in case kind of notice. 

By contrast, my kids see things that are the same as what young me saw. Being the one an authority figure singles out if they’re in a group of non-Black kids and youthfulness is exuberating. Having even the simplest of things explained to them in a patronizing manner. (One of these days, I’ll get around to watching Trading Places with them so they can learn to do that aside glance Eddie Murphy shoots the camera when Billy Ray has the ingredients of a BLT spelled out for him. I did it all the time growing up, even when there was no camera for me to glance into. Still do it on occasion.) Being a prime suspect whenever anything suspicious happens. Having a certain word said to them by kids who absolutely know how hurtful the word will be but who claim innocence of that word’s deeper meaning and history when confronted about it.

When I speak to them about things that have happened to them, they respond in ways that mirror mine when (well-meaning) people asked me about things that had happened to me: It’s fine, let’s move past it, it doesn’t matter, it’s to be expected, it’s not the first or last time….

Why is my world full of same but different and theirs full of same and same?

I wish I could chalk it up to wisdom and the eye of a grizzled veteran as opposed to their younger eyes, but we’re the ones being seen here, not the ones doing the looking. Why hasn’t that Gaze changed much?

Maybe change, like the future, is not evenly distributed. Maybe a few people have changed here and there, but they’re not in a critical mass that presages widespread revolution just yet. I like to think there’s a ripple of change moving slowly through the world, because Sam Cooke said it was going to come.

After all, my kids don’t see everything I saw. I, like many folks near my age, have some stories I could tell. As does my brother (much older than me), as does my mother, going back into our peoples’ deeper post-Jamestown past in this country. I have to hope that my children will be in this position with regard to their children.

Because that would mean things have changed and things are the same, in that wide and slow outward ripple.

About the Author

Mark is a UX designer/research/product strategist/part-time novelist who lives with his family in Williston. Born and raised in Florida, he spent a quarter century of his life in Texas and arrived in Vermont about three years ago. So far, so good, VT: though not perfect, of course (referring to both himself and the state).

COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT

Our member spotlight is on Raheemah Madany (they/them)!

Raised in Bennington, Raheemah recently joined the VT PoC team in April as our enthusiastic Event Coordinator and brings a rich background and experiences to their role. We’re so excited to introduce Raheemah to y’all!

news FROM THE NETWORK

VT PoC’s The Things in Between

Missed out on our past Financial Literacy Series webinars? No worries! We’re bringing the knowledge straight to your screens with our 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 April, we spoke with Shanda Williams from S D Communications Marketing and Consulting Group to answer questions about personal finances. Check out the playlist at the link below and stay tuned for a playlist on holistic financial planning with Anastasia Surmava from Commonwealth Financial Group!

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

Join Creative Catalyst with a 50% Discount for VT PoC Members by June 12!

Rebecca De Ornelas, The Story Artisan, leads Creative Catalyst, a transformative program that empowers participants to craft compelling, human-centric content. The program focuses on finding your genuine voice, telling stories with integrity, and creating meaningful connections. Rebecca believes in the power of diverse voices and the need for more representation in storytelling, which is why she’s offering a 50% discount with code VT PoC at checkout!

SUSU commUNITY farm: grief garden registration is open until June 14!

the grief garden is a sacred somatic ritual based program held at SUSU commUNITY farm, a 37 acre afroindigenous farm that runs along the wantastegok river, rooted in the Black womanist beliefs of our collective ancestors in so called newfane vermont. this 5 month in depth ritualistic immersion we will journey through the 5 gates of grief and into a 2 day long dagara grief ritual where we will grieve in the arms of our earth mama and our healing village. this program is rooted in the afroindigenous wisdom systems of the dagara people of Burkina Faso.

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!

Families of Color Advisory Committee for Racial Equity in Child Care Policy

Your insights and experience are very important to help Let’s Grow Kids monitor how the new child care bill is working in Vermont. You are invited to join Let’s Grow Kids’ Families of Color Advisory Committee for Racial Equity in Child Care Policy.

Your voice can help to shape the future of child care in Vermont and help us make sure that child care in the future serves ALL Vermont families, including children of color and their families.

The Advisory Committee meets by zoom once a month for 90 minutes. The group is hosted by BIPOC facilitator Ilia Gilligan. Meetings are on the second Tuesday of each month from 7:00 – 8:30 PM.

VT Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence Needs Participants for Research!

Did you know that you can support Vermont Network by simply sharing your thoughts? It’s true! We are seeking folks aged 25-60 who regularly interact with the youth in their lives to join us for a 15–30 minute interview, in which we’ll ask your thoughts on some of our prevention messaging. $50 stipends are available for all participates. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, simply complete our inquiry form here and we’ll be in touch.

EVENTS

June 4 – Healing Together Project: Life Is Good PLAYMAKERS PLAY EVENT (10:00 AM – 4:00 PM)
Please join the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and The Playmaker Project for a day of in-person training designed to spark JOY, boost morale, and reignite PASSION in the incredible work you do! Play, Learn, Gain…a wealth of practical tools and techniques to create optimal, healing environments that protect and insulate children from the negative impacts of trauma.

June 4 – 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@gmail.com with any questions. Thank you!

June 4, 11, 18, 25 (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.

June 4, 11, 18, 25 – Burlington Yoga Equity Project Presents: BIPOC Affinity Space Yoga Class (5:45 PM – 7:00 PM)
The Burlington Yoga Equity Project is pleased to offer incentivized affinity-based yoga classes and workshops designed to support and sustain the health and wellness of our BIPOC community members at Laughing River Yoga (Chace Mill).

June 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 – Burlington Discover Jazz Festival
Burlington Discover Jazz Festival is back for it’s 41st year. This year’s festival, produced by the Flynn and presented by New England Federal Credit Union, takes place across Downtown Burlington from June 5-9. The Flynn is also thrilled to announce the opening and closing events of the festival. Haitian-American composer, singer, and visual artist Cécile McLorin Salvant, who Dr. Angela Davis called, “without a doubt, her generation’s most accomplished jazz vocalist,” opens the festival on the Flynn Main Stage on June 5 at 7:30 pm. The festival closes with one of the towering figures of the modern jazz scene: five-time Grammy-winner Robert Glasper on the Flynn Main Stage on June 9 at 7 pm. Burlington Discover Jazz Festival is produced by the Flynn and presented by New England Federal Credit Union.

June 5 – Burlington City Arts Presents: Summer Concert Series – Trio Gusto (12:30 PM – 1:30 PM)
Suave, swinging Trio Gusto–joined by singer and guitarist Mike Martin–plays a cosmopolitan mix of jazz standards, hot club swing, and French chanson. The group’s repertoire includes originals as well as compositions by Cole Porter, Django Reinhardt, and Georges Brassens.

June 5 – Online Spanish Conversation (5:00 PM – 6:00 PM)
Whether you are fluent or a beginner, join teacher Elliot Lafferty online to practice Spanish conversation. Email daml@damlvt.org to register to receive the Zoom link.

June 5 – 2024 Vermont Womenpreneurs Summit (5:00 PM – 8:30 PM)
We are excited to celebrate our sixth anniversary convening and creating a stage for women-led businesses to share their journeys as entrepreneurs. This is an evening of connecting with women-empowered businesses and organizations over local food and beverage at the Old Lantern Inn & Barn in Charlotte. Admission includes: cash bar and food, swag bag with sponsor goodies, business listed in printed and digital attendee directory.

June 5 – Unlikely Riders Mountain Bike Group Ride at Saxon Hill (5:30 PM)
Unlikely Riders mountain bike meetups are BIPOC group rides without formal instruction. We’ll be hosting group rides at select VMBA Days and monthly at Saxon Hill. These rides are for people who have experience mountain biking and are interested in going on a group ride with other BIPOC mountain bikers. If you have previously attended an Intro to Mountain Biking event with Unlikely Riders, we recommend attending these Meet-ups!

June 5, 12, 26 – 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.

June 6 – Queen City Bicycle Club Boombox Ride! (6:00 PM)
As an homage to our humble beginnings, the Champlain Valley Radical Adventure Riders chapter is continuing the vibey rides that started it all in Burlington, VT. We’re so excited to start up our Queen City Bicycle Club Ride series again! First Thursdays of the month, May-October, there will be glitter ✨

June 6 – Richard Kemp Center: Virtual Youth Black Space (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM)
In recognition of the unique experiences, challenges, and strengths of Black individuals, our organization is proud to introduce “Black Space”, an affinity space initiative. This initiative is designed to provide a safe, supportive, and empowering environment where Black individuals can come together to share common experiences, build relationships, foster community, and promote healing.

June 7, 8, 9 – St. Albans’ First Pride Weekend
This inaugural Pride Weekend (held June 7-9 of 2024) will kick off with a Drag Show Friday night, continue with an all-day celebration Saturday with a parade leading into Taylor Park, a Gala that evening at City Hall Auditorium, and wrap up Sunday with an interfaith service in Taylor Park in the morning and an ice cream social in the afternoon.

June 7, 14, 21, 28 – South End Get Down (5:00 PM – 9:00 PM)
Free outdoor block party, every Friday until August 30. 18+ food vendors, two bars, live music from Burlington’s best DJs, and family friendly!

June 7 – Richard Kemp Center: First Friday (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM)
First Friday is a monthly gathering at the Richard Kemp Center, dedicated to fostering cultural empowerment, educating on systemic racism in the nation’s history, and providing practical insights into economic advancement. The event aims to bring together both youth and adults within the African American community for a dynamic two-hour session of learning, dialogue, and community building.

June 8 – 2024 Women’s Economic Opportunity Conference (8:30 AM – 3:30 PM)
The Women’s Economic Opportunity Conference was founded by former Senator Patrick Leahy and his wife Marcelle and has been for 25 years in Vermont. The conference has a long history of bringing Vermonters together to learn, network, and discuss issues in the economic sphere. Senator Welch is excited to carry on the WEOC legacy, and will be hosting the conference at Vermont State University in Randolph, Vermont on June 8, 2024. To receive updates on the conference details, registration, and other information, head to our website. You can email weoc@welch.senate.gov or call 802-863-2525 with any questions or reasonable accommodation requests.

June 8 – I am VT Too Photo Booth at Shelburne Farms (9:00 AM – 12:00 PM)
“I Am Vermont Too” began in March of 2014. Modeled after the I Too, Am Harvard initiative, the I Am Vermont Too photo-story project shines a light on the diversity of identities and experiences of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) all across the State of Vermont. It looks to provide an opportunity for reflection and dialogue for majority-white communities who may be unaware of their participation in perpetuating racial stereotypes and harming BIPOC. The I Am Vermont Too project is a medium for BIPOC to tell our own stories and convey that this type of racism has a significant impact in our lives. This is the first known statewide, multi-generation project done only by BIPOC living and going to school in the state.

June 8 – Unlikely Riders Community Mountain Bike Day at Kingdom Trails (9:30 AM – 3:00 PM)
Join us for a day of mountain biking at Kingdom Trails! We’ll have a beginner lesson in the morning and group rides all day, plus a cookout for lunch! Hosted by Unlikely Riders at Kingdom Trails in East Burke, Vermont. The beginner lesson is best suited for people who have bicycling experience and are interested in trying mountain biking. For those taking the lesson, mountain bike rentals are available for rent at no cost to those who need them. The group rides are best suited for people who already have experience mountain biking and are interested in going on a group ride in a BIPOC affinity space.

June 8 – Firefolk Arts – Art Market (12:00 PM – 5:00 PM)
🩵 thanks for supporting local artists & makers. 💛 we love vermont for the thriving arts community it holds. come out and show them some love. 20 vendors, Korean / Filipino Food + Herbal Mocktails + Ice Cream, Free Entry. Indoor Event (rain or shine).

June 8, 22 – 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.

June 8 – Fletcher Free Library Presents: Black is Beautiful Film Series – Shaft (1971) (3:00 PM – 5:00 PM)
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!

June 9 – The Flynn Presents: Robert Glasper with Aja Monet (7:30 PM)
Robert Glasper is the leader of a new sonic paradigm with a career that bridges musical and artistic genres. Evolution is his hallmark. To date, he boasts five Grammy wins and 12 nominations across 11 categories; an Emmy Award for his song for Ava DuVernay’s critically hailed documentary 13th, with Common and Karriem Riggins; and a Peabody Award for his composition of Mr. Soul!.  Glasper’s breakout crossover album Black Radio won him the Grammy for Best R&B Album and established him as the musician of choice for some of the world’s most iconic artists, most notably Kendrick Lamar’s who enlisted Glasper to play keys throughout his landmark album To Pimp A Butterfly. The ongoing Black Radio series has since become Glasper’s calling card—he recently won the Grammy for Best R&B Album for Black Radio III in 2023—securing him a place at the heart of a trailblazing community: from long-time sonic brothers Mos Def and Bilal to legends including Lupe Fiasco, Jill Scott, and Erykah Badu.

June 10, 24 – English Conversation Circle (12:00 PM – 1:00 PM)
Practice your English and make new friends. Join library staff and volunteers for a fun and friendly conversation with other adult English learners. Our English Conversation Circle meets the second and fourth Monday of each month, in the Digital Lab of the South Burlington Public Library. Registration is not required for this program. All are welcome! Email sbplprograms@southburlingtonvt.gov with any questions.

June 12 – Paint & Sip “Dragonfly” at Zenbarn (6:00 PM)
Begin Wednesday Night Dead at Zenbarn with Paint Night. Paint your acrylic on canvas of a Dragonfly. On June 12th, join teaching artist Natasha Bogar from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. upstairs at Zenbarn in Waterbury for an evening of fun and creativity. The class is guided step by step, learning about color mixing, brush handling, and blending. All supplies are included and all abilities are welcome. Doors open at 5:45 for paint night. Live Grateful Dead music starts at 7:00 p.m.

June 12 – The Flynn Presents: Hasan Minhaj (7:30 PM)
Hasan Minhaj is a two-time Peabody Award-winning comedian best known for his breakout Netflix special Homecoming King and his critically acclaimed political satire show Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj for Netflix, which won a Peabody, an Emmy, and a Television Academy Honor. His second one-hour comedy special, The King’s Jester, premiered on Netflix in October 2022. Hasan was a senior correspondent at Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and headlined the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. He’s the co-founder and chief executive officer for 186K Films, producing its first feature, For The Culture, with Amazon Studios. Minhaj is co-writing the script with Prashanth Venkataramanujam and stars in the film.

June 13 – Flood Legal Assistance Clinic in East Middlebury (2:00 PM – 5:45 PM)
This event will provide legal information, advice, and limited assistance. Representatives from Vermont Legal Aid, Legal Services Vermont, and the Vermont Small Business Law Center at Vermont Law & Graduate School will be present. No registration needed; walk-in. Location: East Middlebury Community Room at the Sarah Partridge Library

June 13 – 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.

June 14, 28 (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.

June 14 – Zenbarn Presents: MTL’s Mighty Thicc Birthday Bash: EDM Dance Party – 4 DJ’s – 4 Sets (7:00 PM)
On June 14th we celebrate the Thicc One’s birthday with a Mighty Thicc Birthday Bash!!! EDM, Dance Music all night at Zenbarn! If you love to dance and get weird to some house, techno and dance music, then The Thicc One will see you at Zenbarn for MTL’s Mighty Thicc Birthday Bash. We’ve got some of the best DJ’s in Vermont to help us celebrate. DJ’s Tangii, GaGu and Scalz will be joining MTL to celebrate the last birthday of their 20’s as MTL turns 29!

June 14 – Nama Farm *Human Family Potluck* in Cabot (4:00 PM – 8:00 PM)
Juneteenth-season Human Family Potluck for All Ages! Friends & Family welcoming. Kids to Elders. BYOB. MARCIE HERNANDEZ is playing live & we’ll enjoy her latest Video Project! OUTSIDE IF WEATHER PERMITS! POETRY CIRCLE with Farmer Ama & Arealles Ortiz! Pond Swimming time if its Hot! (Lifeguard your kids, we have extra Towels, water is clean & spring fed) Bring FOOD to share or just come enjoy it all with us. LABEL ALL Dishes. Bring Watermelon & other Fruits! Enjoy Pastelion with Beef & Plantains by Taino Kitchen VT! Yam Glass Noodles w Lime Garlic by Farmer Ama! Horchata! Salads! FLAN! – What will YOU bring? DONATIONS Welcomed! (Sliding Scale $20-80 give what you can to support our kitchen and the artists performing!) RSVP for directions and more info: 802 310-8601 or NamaFarm@gmail.com

June 15 – Juneteenth BTV (11:00 AM – 11:00 AM)
More Info Coming soon! Please reach out to reib@okay-okay.com with any inquiries. Keep an eye on our social channels for more details as they’re announced!

June 15 – Freedom Dreaming Creation Workshop (12:30 PM – 2:30 PM)
Inspired by the book Freedom Dreams, The Black Radical Imagination by Robin D.G. Kelley, the Freedom Dreaming Creation workshop provides space to explore our relationships to the idea of freedom. Through conversation, activity, and artistic creation, we imagine environments that can exist beyond our current realities. For freedom dreaming, all you need is love and your imagination. The workshop is led by Interdisciplinary Artivist, Educator, and Warren resident janet e. dandridge. The workshop is best suited for ages 14-adult; however, families with children as young as 8 may participate together.

June 16 – Fletcher Free Library Presents: Pokémon GO Walk (2:00 PM – 3:00 PM)
Walk around downtown Burlington and catch ’em all! Patrons will meet at the library and walk for about an hour as they look for pokémon. In the event of inclement weather, patrons will play Pokémon GO in the Teen Space. For ages 11-18. No required registration. For more details, please email us at FFLteens@burlingtonvt.gov or call us at 802.540.2546.

June 17, 18 – Juneteenth Sails (4:15 PM, 6:45 PM)
All Heart Inspirations and Whistling Man Schooner Co. have manifested Black joy on the water since 2021. We gift 60 Black Vermont residents a sailing adventure in honor of Juneteenth. This event is FREE for our local Black community through sponsorships and crowdfund donations. It truly takes a village! Registration opens Wednesday, June 5th!

June 19 – Juneteenth in South Burlington (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM)
Enjoy an evening celebration of Black culture and remembrance as South Burlington offers education, poetry and music in honor of Juneteenth. This event will be hosted by local poet, Rajnii Eddins, who will talk about the history of this bittersweet holiday and share some of his work. Check back for a list of musicians. Juneteenth, also called Emancipation Day, Freedom Day or the country’s second Independence Day, is the anniversary of the 1865 announcement in Galveston, Texas, that the war was finally over. This announcement, two months after the end of the Civil War and two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, intended to free remaining slaves. This celebration of freedom will be offered at Veteran’s Memorial Park. Food and arts vendors will sell their wares. Other related events will include a talk on building community through Hip-Hop and baking “Frogger Joe” cookies with kids.

June 21 – 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.

June 21 – Zenbarn Presents: Sia Tolno & Afro Dead (8:00 PM)
Don’t miss Sia Tolno & Afro Dead live at Zenbarn! Afrobeat meets the music of the Grateful Dead with this amazing international touring group! Join us at Zenbarn for a one-of-a-kind live performance by Sia Tolno and Afro Dead as part of a rare tour in the US. All Ages! $20adv/$25dos.

June 23, 30 – Feelings: Myra Flynn Live at Paradiso (6:00 PM – 9:00 PM)
Welcome Myra Flynn to Paradiso! We’re honored to host Vermonter Myra Flynn for a three-night June residency. Each evening will feature a deep vinyl listening of Myra’s newest release “Shadow Work” followed by a live performance! Join us after for a post-show set by Myra and friends. Myra Flynn is a lyrical storyteller, who uses her voice to empower, inspire, and even educate. Her uncategorizable and unique blend of indie/soul/folk/R&B original songs combine soulful vocals with a lyrical delivery that doesn’t let one get too comfortable. As the New England Deli magazine puts it, “Her vocal influences have as much in common with Ani Difranco and Shawn Colvin as they do with Rihanna and Jill Scott.”

June 24 – History & Impacts of the Art of Drag! (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM)
Come join us in this hour long presentaion, for a fabulous evening delving into the rich history and cultural & societal impacts of the art of drag! This FREE event will be held at the Vermont Comedy Club where we will explore the evolution of drag culture and its significance in on LGBTQ+ culture. Get ready for a fun and informative night celebrating the artistry and influence of drag performers. Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to learn and be entertained!

June 26 – Burlington City Arts Presents: Summer Concert Series – KeruBo (12:30 PM – 1:30 PM)
Originally from Kenya and now based in the Burlington area, KeruBo is a seasoned Afro-Jazz artist with over two decades of global stage experience. Her music blends African Traditional Music with Brazilian Samba/Bossa nova, jazz, and slues. Inspired by luminaries like Miriam Makeba and Nina Simone, she boldly champions social justice causes through her compositions, resonating with themes of healing and African heritage preservation.

June 27 – 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.

June 29 – Fletcher Free Library Presents: Queer Reads Book Club Series (11:00 AM – 12:00 PM)
Interested in reading and discussing LGBTQIA+ books? Join us for five hand-picked queer reads across genre and identity! Meetings will be in the Local History Room from 11am-12pm on the final Saturday of the month from May – September. Register here. Got questions? Email Miriasha at mborsykowsky@burlingtonvt.gov.

July 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.

FUNDING & GRANTS

Arts & Social Cohesion Grant Program
The Community Foundation is seeking Letters of Interest (LOI) for projects and events in the visual, performing, music, and literary arts that create opportunities for positive social interaction, engagement, and collaboration. Projects should strengthen belonging and community cohesion in ways that are likely to persist and grow. Ideally, people who experience a project funded through this program will feel that they have participated in something special, had a positive encounter with their neighbors, and become more connected to their community. LOIs are due on June 11, 2024 by 5 PM.

The Walter Cerf Community Fund
The Walter Cerf Community Fund (WCCF) makes grants to address charitable needs in the state of Vermont. Priority interests are the arts, education, historic preservation, and social services, reflecting the pattern of giving established by Mr. Cerf over many years. Within these issue areas, there is a strong desire to support work that addresses the needs of underserved populations. The WCCF prefers proposals that encourage cooperation, collaboration, and community building. Applications are due on July 2, 2024 by 5 PM.

Laurance & Mary Rockefeller Fund
The Laurance & Mary Rockefeller Fund will accept applications from organizations working to preserve and enhance the physical, cultural, spiritual, and wellness environment of the communities of Barnard, Bridgewater, Hartland, Killington, Plymouth, Pomfret, Reading, and Woodstock. The Fund will consider requests for both general operating or project/program support. Applications will be accepted between September 17 and October 8, 2024. Applications must be received by 5 PM on Tuesday, October 8 to be considered.

Community Action Team
The Vermont Community Action Teams (CATs) are groups of employees at each of Ben & Jerry’s three Vermont manufacturing and office facilities. They offer general or project support within the broad guidelines and funding provided by the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation. Applications are reviewed monthly.

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.

Social Equity: Vermont Cannabis Control Board
Individuals that have been determined to meet social equity status by the Vermont Cannabis Control Board may be eligible to receive a beneficiary payment from this program. Eligible applicants must have completed the intake process with Roads Consulting, the state’s provider of cannabis business technical assistance. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Flood Recovery Rebates for Residents
Qualifying low- and moderate-income Vermont homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $29,500 per household to replace flood-damaged appliances and equipment. Damage must have occurred between July 10 – July 31, 2023 (or July 10 – August 10 for residents of Addison County). Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Flood Recovery Rebates for Businesses
Businesses whose heating, cooling, refrigeration, or commercial kitchen equipment was damaged by recent floods can receive a flood recovery rebate of 100% of costs up to $4,000 per product for up to four products, in addition to standard offers. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

NEWS

First Black restaurant owner in Vermont honored with 7-foot statue in Rutland
The sculpture of Ernie and Willa Royal, unveiled Wednesday, is on Merchants Row in Rutland as part of the Rutland Sculpture Trail.

New study suggests pay equity, antiracism improves well-being for Black artists in Vermont
Funded by a $250,000 grant from the Vermont Department of Health, the Charlotte nonprofit Clemmons Family Farm checks in on the well-being of Black artists and asks what support they could use. The idea is that artists need to be well themselves before they can then promote community wellness.

Vermont home prices spiked more than any other state last year while fewer homes sold
A recent national analysis showed that Vermont saw the highest year-over-year home appreciation rate of any state, at 12.8%.

Families with kids at Vermont schools can now get money for summer meals
The state has extended its EBT program into the summer, a reversal from earlier claims that it didn’t have the administrative staff to handle it.

Green Mountain Transit brings back fares as financial uncertainty looms
Vermont’s largest public transportation provider, Green Mountain Transit, is reintroducing fees in the Burlington area for the first time since the pandemic. At the same time, it’s dealing with issues with ridership and funding, and service cuts loom on the horizon.

Vermont moves toward new tax on second home buyers
“If for this reason we lose second homes, many of us are okay with that,” Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale said of the increased property transfer tax.

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