Sign up now: Me & White Supremacy August weekly reading circles

Sign ups close JULY 30: 

Join Me & White Supremacy book circles for the month of August! Please fill out this form by July 30  if you are interested in participating!

You will ONLY need the book (not the journal).  LINK HERE. If you’d like to buy a book for another person, please indicate it in the survey (or if you’d like to receive a free book!) 

Join other SURJ Upper Valley members for a 28-day process to unpack white supremacy on a personal level. Meeting once a week throughout August (days and times tbd), we’ll read and discuss Me and White Supremacy by speaker and racial justice advocate Layla F. Saad:

“Me and White Supremacy leads readers through a journey of understanding their white privilege and participation in white supremacy, so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on Black, Indigenous and People of Color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.”

For 4 weeks in August, participants will engage in reflective dialogue and journaling prompts from the book. We’ll meet once per week to discuss our hurdles and our learning using the Circle Way, a non-hierarchical dialogue and facilitation method founded by Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea. In order to set up an intimate and productive space, this process can hold up to 12 participants. Folks at any point in their anti-racist journeys are encouraged to participate–– especially beginners!

Please fill out this form by July 30  if you are interested in participating!

July Community Meeting, Wednesday 7/28 @ 7PM

This month’s Community Meeting will focus on what Critical Race Theory is (and isn’t), how it is being attacked in current New Hampshire legislation and beyond, and what we can do about it. 

We’ll also offer updates about:

  • our upcoming reading and discussion circles with Layla Saad’s book Me and White Supremacy, (4 weeks in August), 
  • and ways to support anti-racist candidates in the upcoming Hartford Selectboard Special Election. (August 10)

Register at this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/surj-uv-july-community-meeting-crt-and-me-white-supremacy-book-circles-tickets-163645866191

To get ready for the discussion, please do one (or more!) of these: 

  1. Listen to Layla Saad’s Good Ancestor podcast Episode 047 with Michaela Loach, about Climate Justice and Antiracism (1hr, 21min, or read transcript)
  2. Read HB 544 – As Introduced (5 pages, legal language)
  3. Read New Hampshire Public Radio article “Despite New State Law, Debate Continues Over Discussing Race And Equity in N.H. Schools” by Sarah Gibson (5-10 min read)
  4. Watch PBS News Hour’s  video “What is critical race theory?” featuring University of California, Berkeley sociology professor Prudence Carter (3 min)

We’ll reflect on these discussion questions: 

  • What is critical race theory?
  • What current legislation impacts how critical race theory is discussed, understood and practiced in our local context?
  • How does this impact people in NH and beyond?
  • What action can we take?

(Even if you can’t do the preparation, please join us to listen and discuss)

Lebanon Election on Tuesday March 9th

Police do not belong in schools! Please spread the word to Vote YES on Article 7, urging the board to reallocate the “School Resource Officer” budget.

Watch Rights & Democracy NH’s video “Do Police Belong in Schools?” to hear perspectives from students, lawyers, psychologists, and activists about the harms of school policing.

Read more about this issue: Why Remove and Replace the Armed School Police Officers.

SURJ Upper Valley is also endorsing two City Council candidates:

  • Sylvia Puglisi (At Large)
  • Devin Wilke (Ward 2)                                                                                                               

Send a Solidarity Letter

Letter By Letter NH/VT is a project created by community members in the Upper Valley. We are looking for groups and individuals to help them meet their goal of writing to ALL of the 1,400 people incarcerated in Vermont and the 2,400 people incarcerated in New Hampshire (including people who have been sent to out-of-state facilities). We need your help to reach everyone!

Prisons erode social connections and deny people’s humanity. We write to remind people, inside and out, that no one is disposable and no one is forgotten. You can write as few or as many Solidarity Letters as you’d like – or get together with friends to host a virtual letter writing gathering. Information on how to get started, including a sample letter, can be found on the Letter By Letter NH/VT website here: Solidarity Letter Writing Campaign.

The Windsor Public Library will also be hosting a Letter By Letter Virtual Writing Gathering on Monday, January 4th, 6:30PM. Learn about becoming a prison penpal, and Q&A with the folks behind Letter By Letter. More info and zoom link on the Windsor Library Events page.

Phonebank in Georgia

SURJ National is still organizing around the Georgia Senate Runoff Elections. See the below note from SURJ National Director Erin Heaney and the ways you can still get involved before January 5, 2021:

“What we’re doing today is laying the groundwork for decades to come. If Republicans maintain control of the Senate, recent history shows us that they will do everything in their power to prevent relief for working families and to deepen racial fear, hostility and aggression among white people. In the peak of a global pandemic — while climate change rages and authoritarianism rises around the world — we can’t just wait for white voters to ‘wake up’ on their own.”

Senate Runoff Action Items:

Volunteer for Georgia Ballot Remediation

Georgia voters have until THIS FRIDAY to resolve their ballot issues and get their votes counted – for president, senate, and local elections. So even if the presidential numbers come back for GA within the hour, there is still work to be done!

“What is Ballot Curing?
Ballot curing is the process of contacting voters who have cast votes but their votes have not been counted due to issues like missing or mismatched signatures. Black ballots are 4X as likely to be rejected. Ballot curing involves contacting the voter and notifying them that their ballot has been rejected. You then walk them through the specific process in their county to allow them to prove their identity and get their ballot accepted!” – @georgia55project

The most common issues you cure are:
– voter cast provisional ballot
– mail-in ballot rejected due to no signature
– mail-in ballot rejected due to mismatched signature

SIGN UP HERE: https://www.mobilize.us/dpgvoterprotection/event/329170/ (watch anytime!)

About this event: “Thanks for joining the DPG Voter Protection team’s phone and text banking program for the 2020 General Election! To receive access to the phone and/or text bank to help voters remediate ballot issues, you must watch the recorded training provided. This training covers substance on application and ballot remediation, and the ins and outs of text banking. We have a separate recording for phone banking basics, if you need it. To receive access to the phone and text banks, watch the video and then fill out the Google form linked here. Only fill out the Google form AFTER you have watched the training

Note – if you are having issues with the video loading, it is likely because you need to accept cookies on the page. You can reach out to the email address below if you need further assistance.

Please contact DPG’s Phone and Text Bank Remediation program (remediation@georgiademocrat.org), if you have any questions!”

Protect the Results- post-election actions

Upcoming post-election actions in NH and Vermont, from Rights & Democracy (radvt.org, radnh.org):

And some resources..

Community Meeting Wednesday 10/28 7-8PM

Join SURJ UV for our October Community Meeting on Wednesday, 10/28, 7-8pm on Zoom.

We’ll share updates and immediate action items related to the election, Upper Valley Voter Protection volunteering, and actions after November 3. 

We’ll also check in about folks’ needs and questions around the election and how to support each other in staying active and invested in racial justice and broader social justice efforts post-election.  

Questions to think about for Wednesday:

  • What fears, concerns and hopes do you have right now?
  • How are you currently engaging during this final week leading up to the election?
  • What do you need to stay grounded for the road ahead?  

Participation is limited to 90. Please register at this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/surj-uv-october-community-meeting-updates-and-election-tickets-126758727767

Call to Action: prepare for the election (UPDATED 10/28)

On election day and beyond, we need a mass movement protecting democracy, ensuring all votes are counted, and preparing to respond to any post-election threats to our democracy.

Call for voter protection volunteers in the Upper Valley (Still needed!)

SURJ UV is working with Rights & Democracy (RAD NH, RAD VT) to place volunteer voter protection volunteers at polling places across the Upper Valley.

Volunteers will be standing outside polling places on November 3rd, and working to maintain a welcoming and safe voting experience for everyone. This may include providing safe supports for voting (such as PPE and water), election and voter defense, de-escalating white supremacist intimidation tactics, signaling to poll monitors or lawyers if trouble breaks out, and countering any anti-democracy presence at the polls.

Unlike a “poll watcher” or “poll monitor,” a voter protection volunteer is a member of the general public who is standing outside— away from the voting and observing areas. Voter guardians are not affiliated with any political party. For each polling location, we will work with the town moderators to determine where the volunteers can stand, and how we can best support the poll workers.

YES, count me in!

1. Fill out this form, OR email us at surjuvvtnh@gmail.com.

2. Attend one of the election defender training offered by The Frontline on Thursday October 29th 7:30PM-9:00PM (register here) OR watch the Zoom recording (we’ll send it to you).

3. Attend the briefing from SURJ and RAD on Sunday November 1st 7:00PM-8:30PM. We will review the training on de-escalation, answer questions, and finalize logistics in a small-group setting based on your assigned polling place. Attending this meeting is strongly encouraged for participation.

4. Read pages 4-14 of the Election Defenders Toolkit developed by The Frontline at http://e-defend.in/toolkit.

5. Sign up for a 2h or 4h shift for November 3rd! We’ll send you the sign-up sheet.

Join Rights & Democracy VT/NH for weekly Democracy Defenders call

Sundays at 5PM. We will strategize how to get out the vote, recruit volunteers and poll workers for Election Day, and take collective action after the election to protect our democracy and start healing our country. Facebook event. To receive Zoom call info, please follow the links to RSVP:

Sunday, October 18: https://secure.everyaction.com/OoJE3Y_ERE66je2HMghAUQ2
Sunday, October 25: https://secure.everyaction.com/W4DSX5fqUUuEdO44Rkzayg2
Sunday, November 1:
https://secure.everyaction.com/5VrkvOg1n0evQCpfrlXviA2

Election Defense Phone Zaps with SURJ

Join SURJ to call and email local election officials in swing states, asking them to take the pledge to defend the election. Register here for upcoming Phone Zaps on Mondays + Wednesdays, starting Monday, October 12th and Wednesday, October 14th at 2pm. What is an Action Zap? Using just a cell phone and computer, you will sign into a group zoom meeting where we’ll share information about how to make phone calls and send emails to county election officials, alongside many other SURJ members – when we take action together we make a more significant impact.

Resources

Justice for Breonna Taylor (updated 9/28/20)

ACTION ONE: Contact Kentucky’s Attorney General to Demand Transcript Release

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron handed down a decison from the Grand Jury that indicted one of Breonna’s killers, not for her murder, but for firing into a neighbor’s apartment. https://wfpl.org/breonna-taylor-family-lawyer-to-cameron-release-the-transcript/

Demand that the Attorney General’s office release the transcript and let the community know who was interviewed, who testified, and what information was used to come to this outrageous decision exonerating the police officers who killed Breonna.

Call Attorney General Cameron’s office with this message:  Release the transcript of the investigation into Breonna Taylor’s death. Call 502 696-5300

Enter written comment using this form: https://ag.ky.gov/Contact-Us/Pages/default.aspx

ACTION TWO:  Contact Mayor to Fire Officers and Defund the Police

A core demand of Breonna’s family is that the officers who killed Breonna be fired. While one of the involved officers has lost his job, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer continues to refuse to fire the other police officers responsible for Breonna’s murder.

Call Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and tell him to fire the officers who killed Breonna Taylor and why this matters to you.  Call on him to shift funding from over policing Black and Brown communities to addressing community needs in Louisville like affordable housing, mental health services, youth programs and other efforts that are about life, not death. 502 574-2003 (between hours of 9am and 5pm EST to leave a message) or fill in this form for a public record of your concerns. https://louisvilleky.gov/government/mayor-greg-fischer/contact-mayors-office

ACTION THREE:  Stop Police Repression of Protests

The day after the Attorney General’s decision was released, the police targeted State Representative Attica Scott, http://atticascott4ky.com the only Black woman in the Kentucky State Legislature, and the lead sponsor of legislation to ban no knocks warrants, known as Breonna’s Law.  Police charged her, her 19 year old daughter Ashanti, Shameka Parrish Wright, and other leaders of the over 122 days of protest, with felony riot charges as they tried to assist other protesters seeking sanctuary in a church. https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/09/25/breonna-taylor-protest-scott-arrest/

Contact County Attorney Mike O’Connell with this message:  Drop felony riot charges against Representative Scott and against leaders of the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression http://www.kentuckyalliance.org  Drop all charges against the over 400 people who have been arrested in Louisville as part of the Justice for Breonna movement.  Fill out this form to enter your comment into the public record. https://louisvilleky.wufoo.com/forms/contact-the-jefferson-county-attorney/

ACTION FOUR:  Help Pass Breonna’s Law

Support the passage of legislation to end No Knock Warrants, something issued by a judge and used by police to burst in on Breonna and her partner Kenneth Walker without alerting them, and resulting in her death. Read the law here  https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/record/21rs/prefiled/BR22.html

Sign on as a community sponsor, even if you do not live in Kentucky.  This is an issue of concern nationwide. http://atticascott4ky.com/breonnas-law/