June 2022 Newsletter

Thank you to our trainers and participants for another great semester! The newsletter will be on hiatus for the summer. We'll be back in August with info about our fall classes!

Truth School House Party Fundraiser, May 2022

Truth School Supporters meet in a green, shady patio setting; Andrea Ayvazian holds a chalk sign saying "4,000 participants!"

Only with gun violence do we respond to repeated tragedies by saying that mourning is acceptable but discussing how to prevent more tragedies is not. But that's unacceptable. As others have observed, talking about how to stop a mass shooting in the aftermath of a string of mass shootings it's 'too soon'. It's much too late. --Ezra Klein

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Columnist Andrea Ayvazian:
‘Someone you love has had an abortion … like me’

“Her Choice, Not Mine, Not Yours.”

That was the first sign I saw when I arrived at the pro-choice rally in front of City Hall in Northampton on May 14. I thought we were off to a good start. READ MORE


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May 2022 Newsletter

In This Issue:


From the Director

When the Truth School was created in 2017, we cast a wide net and told all the fine movement-building trainers we knew: come on ahead, teach for us, we welcome you, send in a proposal for a workshop and we will turn it into a Truth School class! Open arms! We gathered a wonderful crew of white people and people of color to train for us, and for two years we held classes led by these fine activist/teachers.

Then in 2019, our staff and board of directors had a striking epiphany: Reverse affirmative action has been operative in this country for centuries, relentlessly and perpetually giving white people unearned advantages, job opportunities, and leadership roles—hundreds and hundreds of years of systematically over-advantaging white people and disadvantaging people of color. We recognized that in response to that history of soul-crushing discrimination, our small, feisty, spunky, and scrappy movement-building school should do the right thing and hire only trainers of color to teach our classes. Suddenly it was so obvious.

Soon we paused and said to each other: we cannot completely omit white people from teaching in the Truth School. So we decided we would have all our TS classes taught by people of color or biracial pairs. That decision meant that we would uplift and amplify the voices, leadership, brilliance, wisdom, and experience of BIPOC folks and have people of color (either alone or in pairs) teach every TS class. This decision meant that no Truth School class would ever be taught by a white person alone or a pair of white people.

When a trainer of color heard about our decision, her immediate response was, “This is a small but significant step towards reparations.”

This policy—that all classes are taught by people of color or biracial pairs—has been in place since 2019. It is our policy now and forever. It has changed the school in profound ways—all positive.

Recently I received an email from someone who said that our policy constituted reverse discrimination. I am writing now to say that we stand behind our decision, made three years ago, to have people of color and biracial pairs teach all of our Truth School classes. This is not discrimination, this is justice and fairness given the endless history evident in all walks of life of how people of color were not given the leadership roles they deserved but were passed over constantly for less experienced and less qualified white people.

Our decision is rooted in history, in the recognition that people of color have been the targets of ongoing, endless, painful, costly decisions where the color of their skin spoke louder than their experience, degrees, background, ability, and qualifications.

Our decision is rooted in these simple realities that we address to BIPOC people: we see you; we value your expertise and experience; we honor what you know and we want to learn from you; we know you can teach us, lead us, and guide us; and we are certain that any successful movement for change needs your voice and your leadership.

To all our BIPOC colleagues: Thank You. Thank you for teaching for the Truth School. For as long as the school exists, we will lift up your leadership, value your teaching, compensate your time, and be filled with gratitude for the central role you play in our school.

Thank you Truth School trainers. You are the face, the heart, and the voice of our school. We bow to you with gratitude and hope to amplify your messages for decades to come.

With loving appreciation,
Andrea

 

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Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month


MAY 2022 CLASSES

For complete information on all of our class offerings, and to register for a class, visit Truth School or click on the links for specific classes below. The Truth School will be transitioning to some in-person classes in May. All classes are Eastern Standard Time.

If you register for a class but can’t make it, please let us know. Accurate information about class size is important for trainers to know for preparation and planning purposes. Thank you for this courtesy.

 

 Understanding Social Media
with Dr. Sut Jhally, Thursday, May 5, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: Media Education Foundation, 60 Masonic Street, Northampton, MA
Spirituals: Reflections and Meditations
with Dr. Ruth Bass-Green, Saturday, May 7, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: First Churches of Northampton, Chapel, 129 Main Street, Northampton, MA
“We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest,…Until it Comes”
with Evelyn Harris, Wednesday, May 11, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Location: Treehouse Community Center, 1 Treehouse Circle, Easthampton, MA
Do Muslim Women Need Saving?
with Tahirah Amatul-Wadud and Safiyah Bey, Thursday, May 12, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Location: Arise for Social Justice, 38 School Street, Springfield, MA
In the Legacy of James Baldwin: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s and Imani Perry’s Letters to Black Boys
with Dr. Rose Sackey-Milligan, Saturday, May 14, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: Arise for Social Justice, 38 School Street, Springfield, MA
The Middle East Without the US
with Dr. Sut Jhally and Dr. Michael Klare. Thursday, May 19, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: Media Education Foundation, 60 Masonic Street, Northampton, MA
Take a Walk in Sojourner Truth’s Shoes
with members of the Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee, Saturday, May 21, 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Location: Meet at the Sojourner Truth Statue, corner of Park and Pine Streets, Florence, MA
The Prison Fix
with Dr. Sut Jhally, Thursday, May 26, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: Media Education Foundation, Community Room, 60 Masonic Street, Northampton, MA

 

Truth School Spring 2022 Covid-19 Safety Protocols

The Truth School will be transitioning to some in-person classes in April and May 2022. We are committed to protecting your health and safety while you attend Truth School classes so we ask you all to comply with the following COVID-19 safety Protocols.

Masks – We require that all participants and trainers wear masks at all times during the class.

Physical Distancing – We will arrange seating so that there is adequate spacing in between participants, and between trainer and participants. We will limit the number of participants in each in-person class to ensure that we can safely space people.

Ventilation – We will provide ventilation in training rooms by opening windows. If a training site does not have windows that will open, we will provide an air purifier, and will notify participants ahead of time.

Illness – If you have any signs of a cough, cold, fever or are not feeling well, please stay home.

Sanitizing – We will provide hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes at each class.


"My mother would look at me and she'd say, 'Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last. And that's why breaking those barriers is worth it. As much as anything else, it is also to create that path for those who will come after us." --Kamala Harris Represent Women - Parity for Women in Politics


What Participants Are Saying…

"This was a great teaching conversation on the experiences and the challenges of cross-cultural friendship and work - with pearls of wisdom, humor and analysis. A beautiful thing. Great discussion, and I so enjoyed being a witness to Andrea and ivy's process." --Participant, Cross-Racial Friendships, Anti-Racism Organizing, and the Commitment to Keeping On Keeping On "This trainer has a true gift for building community and helping us to feel seen and heard, body, mind, soul." --Participant, And Still We Rise: Women of Color Leadership Forum


"The movement is contagious, and the people in it are the ones who pass on the spirit." --Yuri Kochiyama 1921-2014


"This book contains the road map I was looking for to guide me..." --Debra Poneman, Best Selling Author DISMANTLING RACISM Healing Separation from the Inside Out Rev. Terrlyn L. Curry Avery, Ph.D.

 Our Truth School trainer, Reverend Terrlyn L. Curry Avery, Ph.D., just released her new best-selling book, Dismantling Racism: Healing Separation from the Inside Out.

In her book, Rev. Dr. Curry Avery provides tools and insights that can help you move beyond the symbolic gestures of racial equity. She invites you to fully commit to advocating for social transformation by going inward to connect with your own divine wisdom, a process she calls the sacred intelligence journey of faith. Rev. Dr. Curry Avery has woven together her passion for spirituality and psychology to help navigate the often explosive terrain of racism. Dismantling  Racism is a much-needed resource to sustain, uplift, and encourage advocates of racial justice.

Congratulations Rev. Dr. Curry Avery!!

You can find out more about Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery and her new book HERE.


Daily Hampshire Gazette

Columnist Andrea Ayvazian: ‘We are with You’

Before the horrific, unprovoked, disastrous war Russian President Vladimir Putin is now waging on Ukraine, I used to say that I had, in my lifetime, stood on two places on Earth that no longer exist. READ MORE

 

A woman carries the portrait of Dmytro Stefienko, 32, a civilian killed during the war with Russia, during his funeral in Bucha, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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