Saint Albans Responds to Anti-CRT Tour with Gathering of Hope
Contact NSSA for further info
Saint Albans, VT –On Friday, July 16th , 2021 Neighbors for a Safer Saint Albans (NSSA) will be hosting its first Community Rally for Togetherness in St. Albans’ Taylor Park from 6:00pm – 9:00pm.
In sharp contrast to the fear tactics, misinformation, and division being peddled by Vermont for Vermonters which will be presenting at city hall at the same time, NSSA is organizing a community wide celebration of belonging and togetherness on the town green.
When asked about the significance of the event, NSSA founding member Reier Erickson said, “Saint Albans is like every small space in America. Goodwill exists here. You can see it when you walk down the street and we see it now as people mobilize for this event. Our interest isn’t to debate CRT, it’s to come together as a community. To tell those who come here to sow racial discord that our community stands with one another. Our community is stronger
The gathering is family friendly and will include a free BBQ and potluck, face painting, art activities, lawn games, and resource booths from local and statewide nonprofits. The evening’s programming will include an interfaith blessing by Rev. Preston Fuller of Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church, a musical performance by Vermont’s Freedom and Unity Chorus, children’s book readings by Melyssa Bibona, Alyssa Chen from Education Justice Coalition of Vermont, and community presenters Reier Erickson, Reese Kelly, Ph.D., and Eliana Castro, Ph.D.
Vermont’s Freedom & Unity Chorus will be offering a special evening performance. “Our country has a long history of using fear to divide us up based on the color of our skin, our country of origin, our sexual orientation, our religion, our gender expression, or our disability”, said Maria Rinaldi, chorus director. “We stand united in the fight for freedom.”
St. Albans resident and event speaker Eliana Castro, Ph.D. has studied Critical Race Theory and applied it to her research, teaching, and daily life. “As someone who has spent many years as both a student and a teacher, I can say with confidence that we learn some about oppression and almost none about resistance. What I want for every child everywhere is a chance to learn about injustices and how communities, collectives — not mere individuals — can shatter oppressive systems and disrupt the harm they do. But the fact is that those systems are linked to one another, so we’re still uprooting them, and that can be very unsettling for people”
Speaker Alyssa Chen added, “The work of racial justice in education is personal and collective. I grew up in Vermont with a colorblind, post-racial view of the world. I truly believed racism was a thing of the past. It took and continues to take years of unlearning to actually see the reality. Finally, many Vermont educators are speaking out and bravely teaching the truth.”
ABOUT NEIGHBORS FOR A SAFER SAINT ALBANS
Neighbors for a Safer Saint Albans was formed in 2020. Initially sparked to action by repeated cases of local and national police violence, we are committed to making St. Albans safer for all people. We are moved by compassion and a commitment to equity. We affirm that Black Lives Matter and we stand in solidarity with the global movement for Black lives. We care immensely about our entire community. We do not want St. Albans to continue its delusion of exceptionalism. Police violence is present here. Racism is present here. And we believe that St. Albans can heal from these wounds. We believe that St. Albans can be safe for everyone and we acknowledge the reality that this is not currently true. We hear from our Black and brown neighbors, our neighbors in recovery, our neighbors with disabilities, our neighbors who are unhoused, and our neighbors of marginalized genders, that they experience violence. We believe them and we know our community can do better. We are asking questions. We are organizing. We are starting dialogues.