SURJ UV Community Meeting this Wednesday, September 30th

Join SURJ UV for our September Community Meeting on Weds, 9/30, 6:30-8pm on Zoom.

We’ll continue the community conversation about police reform, defunding, and abolition.

This month, we’ll break up into smaller groups to keep learning and engaging with each other about different approaches to the deadly problem of policing.

  • Who do different approaches serve?
  • What might each accomplish?
  • What motivates each of us to act?

Please read Abolition is Not a Suburb (medium-length article).

And if folks have not had a chance to listen to the 1 hour NPR Throughline podcast episode American Police, we highly recommend listening!

Giving Opportunity: Safe Spaces for BIPOC

We’re excited to share a giving opportunity to support a new local organization called Safe Spaces for BIPOC and Allies. One of the local BIPOC-led (Black and Indigenous People of Color) organizations from whom SURJ UV takes our cues for action, Safe Spaces is dedicated to providing resources and support to the BIPOC community in the Upper Valley, building stronger communities, and dismantling white supremacy.

We encourage people to move beyond the mindset of “charity” which allows for income-proportionally small “donations” and push towards giving models of solidarity, which encourages people to contribute larger, perhaps uncomfortable, amounts, proportional to their wealth privilege.

We welcome everyone’s contributions — some of us can contribute $5, some $500, and others, $5,000. As always, you can use this sliding scale as a guide.

Offerings

Some of what we plan to offer are round table story telling, and other methods of sharing experiences, an alliship program that offers a safe place for opening conversation, resources and services for dismantling individual white supremacy and privilege. A safe place for the bipoc community to strengthen relationships, study and develop strategies for moving forward in the midst of what we as a society are experiencing. Programs for all like soul food sunday, game nights, book clubs, yoga and meditation, movie/documentary showings and alternative medicine resources for the bipoc community that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Mission

Safe Spaces seeks to create space for Black, Indigineous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) and Aspiring White Allies to connect, learn, and heal as we fight for our collective liberation. Safe Spaces will strengthen individuals, communities, as well as institutions, businesses and agencies through creating partnerships with other established racial justice organizations to provide guidance, resources, and physical and figurative space to work through Systematic, Systemic, and institutional prejudice and racism. Together, we will address implicit and explicit bias, beliefs, and actions in order to dismantle white supremacy and build stronger communities 

SURJ UV Community Meeting this Wednesday, August 29th

Topic: What is Police Reform, Defunding and Abolition? 

It’s in the news- but what does this really look like? This Wednesday at 7PM we’ll update you on our current actions, and talk about: 

  • Police reform, defunding, and abolition definitions, 
  • background of this long-standing philosophy and movement, 
  • common questions, 
  • how UV community members are already taking action, 
  • & Q&A. 

Please RSVP via Eventbrite- participants will receive the Zoom link 1 day before the meeting. Click here to RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/surj-uv-august-community-meeting-what-is-police-abolition-tickets-117772265015

In preparation for this meeting, we encourage you to listen to this NPR Podcast Throughline’s American Police. This is not required to attend,  but an excellent introduction into the history of policing.

If you’re searching for other materials, read/listen to this New Yorker piece on the invention of policing + click this link to listen to chapter 1 from The End of Policing. Youtube and podcasts are a great way to incorporate anti-racist learning into walks and drives. There are PDFs available online as well. 

See you there!

#SaveThePostOffice Rally — Saturday, August 22 — 11am-noon

USPS White River Junction – 195 Sykes Mountain Avenue

Social Distancing and Masks Mandatory  – Bring Signs!

This Saturday at 11am, Vermont and New Hampshire residents will rally with the Vermont local of the American Postal Workers Union for the future of our U.S. Postal Service. Over the years Republicans and Democrats alike have pushed job-destroying privatization schemes that would rob us of affordable, reliable mail service at a time when we need it the most. Although the Trump White House has temporarily backed down on a threat to finish off the USPS for good, we must rally on Saturday to demand that

  • Postmaster General and Trump megadonor Louis DeJoy resign.
  •  DeJoy’s assaults—for example, eliminating overtime pay for workers and removing mail-sorting machines needed for election-year voting by mail—be reversed.
  • The 2006 Postal Enhancement and Accountability Act—signed by George W. Bush and approved by all Congressional Democrats (Sen. Joe Biden included), robbing the USPS of $5.5+ billion a year, and burdening Black postal workers with the brunt of resulting layoffs—be repealed and jobs restored. 
  • Starting with the next Congressional stimulus package, the U.S. Postal Service be fully and publicly funded. Our democracy depends on it. 

This rally is part of a nationwide call by the American Postal Workers Union for #SaveThePostOffice events. Co-sponsors with the Vermont local of APWU include the Vermont AFL-CIO, Upper Valley Democratic Socialists of America, Central Vermont Democratic Socialists of America, and New Hampshire Rights & Democracy.

Support Your Black Neighbors: $5,000 needed to pay medical expenses!

An Upper Valley community member from Sierra Leone is asking for help with hospital bills and related expenses. A single father of three (aged 3, 12, and 15), he is living through rare and likely terminal cancer, with symptoms and treatment side effects that are incredibly challenging and require constant time in the hospital.

Contribute via GoFundMe (credit/debit): https://gf.me/u/yqq7pi
Contribute via Venmo App: @SURJ-UpperValley

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Tell Congress to pass H.R. 40 Reparations Bill

Neither NH representatives Ann Kuster nor Chris Pappas have co-sponsored H.R. 40 (out of 142 representatives that have co-sponsored so far!).

Follow this link to send a personalized letter to your representative, sponsored by BLM Nashua:

https://actionnetwork.org/letters/contact-your-rep-tell-congress-to-pass-hr-40-reparations-bill

Justice For Maha! Phonebanking TODAY (Saturday Aug 1)

Today is day 19 of Maha’s hunger strike. Dartmouth has not yet opened an external investigation into sexual harassment and retaliation. Read more on her petition.

Join us TODAY on the Hanover Green at 4 pm to phonebank for Maha.

More details will be posted on the Facebook event throughout the day. For Dartmouth to get the message that they are committing an atrocity in not meeting Maha’s simple and justified demand, we need a huge turn out. Please come in person if you can. For those not comfortable or able to attend in person, stay tuned on Facebook for remote participation instructions.

If you want justice in our community, now is the time to cancel your pre-existing plans and participate, whether on the Green or remotely.

This needs to be visible to the Dartmouth administration! We will be there for hours, so if you can’t come at 4, come whenever!

Wear masks, make signs, and practice safe social distancing.

Register for the SURJ UV Community Meeting on July 29th

We will be hosting our next community meeting on Zoom at 7pm on July 29th! Register in advance here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/surj-uv-community-meeting-tickets-113904457298

It’s been a while since our last community meeting, and a lot has changed since then. At this public meeting, we’ll update you on:

  • The who/what/why of SURJ UV
  • Our updated mission
  • Current actions and campaigns

And how YOU can get involved in Showing Up for Racial Justice right here in the Upper Valley of VT/NH.

We’ll take some time for questions and discussion of hot topics, too.

This is a free online meeting hosted on Zoom. As such, there is a capacity limit of 100 people. Please RSVP to reserve your spot and get the Zoom link to attend.

RSVP HERE

Statement about Hanover Town Meeting

The results of Hanover’s selectboard election Tuesday are yet another reminder of the violence of white apathy. Only 850/11,600 folks voted and incumbents William Geraghty and Peter Christie won by a large margin. Only 300 voting residents were in attendance at the Town Meeting Tuesday evening; and by the time the budget vote came around at 8:45, only 200 were left. This represents 1% (or less) of registered Hanover voters. If we’re to pay careful attention to who can attend late-night, poorly-advertised, confusingly reschedule meetings–external barriers may include non 9-5 workers, access to transportation, financial limitations, domestic workers, etc.–it becomes obvious how the budgeting process leaves (or perhaps strategically obscures) the opinions of far too many. Call on Hanover to establish a minimum number of required votes to pass the budget with more equitable voting times & methods of voting.

These numbers remind us how, despite the progressive virtues extolled by Upper Valley towns, voters refuse to shift power out of central circles. In typical fashion, Hanover residents continue to reject the demands of BIPoC communities in lieu of superficial promises to support “communities of color with respect to policing”. As the @UV DSA wrote, “ [The motion] presented no goals and no actionable items, only a general nod to hundreds of years of injustice and a weak promise to think about doing better… Supporting communities of color begins with listening to their demands. Hanover had a chance to do this last night and failed.” UV towns, particularly those that hoard excess wealth, must acknowledge that hate DOES, in fact, “grow in [our] rocky soil”.

We stand by Dalia Rodriguez Caspeta and Kristina Wolff. Thank you for all your hard work.

Weekly Vigils, as of July 2020

Hanover NH: Every Monday from 5-5:30 PM, Hanover Green.

Lebanon NH: Every Tuesday from 5-5:30 PM, across the street from the Opera House.

Meriden NH: Every Wednesday from 5-6 PM, SW corner Rte 120 & Main St.

Canaan NH: Every Thursday from 5-5:30 PM, on any of the downtown sidewalks (NOT on the green).

Springfield VT: Every Friday from 5:30-6:30 PM, on the sidewalks in front of the bank parking lot, on the street corner across from The Flying Crow. (Facebook event)