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)

Donate to the Truth School

April 2022 Newsletter

In This Issue:


From the Director

What to write to our precious Truth School “family” in the midst of the pain and violence of a world at war? What to write, in this perilous time, to a family of activists struggling to promote peace, dismantle racism, work for justice, protect our planet, save our children, fight oppression, and love our neighbor? What to say when our tender hearts are hurting and maybe even broken?

In response to these questions, I have written a Manifesto. My first Manifesto. I decided to write a Manifesto to state what we believe in, not what we oppose; what we envision, not what we fear; what we are working to create, not what exists today.

And so here it is, a Manifesto. I ask that you read this with open hearts, and sprinkle on these words your loving grace. It was written with love and with gratitude for your work, words, and witness. In the Manifesto, I am bold enough to say ‘WE,’ so I am wrapping you inside this proclamation that I have written. I trust that is all right.

We believe that although there is evil in this world, evil does not win.

We believe that the hearts of compassionate, brave, and justice-loving people are woven together with golden threads.

We believe that together we have strength and power that is unstoppable.

We believe that our love for humanity is glowing in our hearts.

We believe that fatigue, worry, and sorrow come in waves, yet deep renewal, dogged tenacity, and new growth come in even bigger waves.

We believe that although pain and suffering are rampant in this world, goodness and grace blanket the globe.

We believe that tenderness can be trampled but somehow never crushed.

We believe that broken hearts still beat, broken hearts can mend, and broken hearts grow stronger over time.

We believe that the world needs us, and that we are equal to the tasks that lie before us.

We believe that we are called to heal, repair, and restore this beautiful but broken world.

We believe that each person is born with a spark of divine energy within them, and that ember bursts into flame when we embrace love, work for justice, and seek peace.

We believe in unsung heroes, in do-ers, and in the extraordinary gifts bestowed on ordinary people who can and do change the world.

We believe in the virtue and powerful impact of work for the common good.

We believe in the astonishing strength found in community.

We believe in three great loves: Love of neighbor. Love of children. Love of creation.

We believe in a world transformed.

We believe. We still believe.

 


We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. --Native American Proverb

Make every day Earth Day



Truth School Trainers Join Us! Thursday, April 28, 2022 from 6 PM to 8 PM EST Please join us for a community-building and collective learning gathering, the first of many, we hope! During our time together we will have the opportunity to: • Learn more about other trainers and why they teach • Begin to discuss best practices for teaching and collaborating around movement-building • Share what is working well for you teaching for the TS and what changes you can suggest • Help the TS staff learn how to best support our trainers and deepen community and collective learning together Please let us know if you can join us and a Zoom link will be sent your way! Our best to you, The Truth School Leadership Team


APRIL 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. 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.

 

Microaggressions: Death by a Thousand Cuts
with Amihan Matias, Sunday, April 3, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Funding Our Movements for Social Change
with Leti Bueno, Thursday, April 7, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Music of the Civil Rights Movement 1940s-1960s
with Dr. Kathy Bullock, Saturday, April 9, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Slowing Down the Conversation:
One Step Toward Cross-Racial Coalition Building

with Imani Chapman and Franny Silverman, Sunday, April 10, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Ancestor Wisdom: Wounds, Gifts and Legacies
with Ebony LaBrew and Julie Rosier, Tuesday, April 12, 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Connection to the Land: How to have reciprocal relationships of respect and healing where the voices of the ancestors speak to our bodies, minds, and spirit
with Irene Strong Oak Lefebvre. Earth Day, Friday, April 22, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM

Compassionate Listening and Speaking:
Changing the World from the Inside Out

with Yael Petretti and Kattye Soares, Sunday, April 24, 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Connecting Us
with Sauda Garrett, Tuesday, April 26, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Ladder 2 Leadership
with Nikai Fondon, Wednesday, April 27, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM

Resting To Rise: A Daring To Rest Community Nap
with Benita Jackson, Saturday, April 30, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

 

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.

Covid Vaccines/Testing – COVID vaccination or recent (within 3 days) negative COVID test results are required. We will ask you to show documentation at 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.


I'm no longer accepting the things I cannot change... I'm changing the things I cannot accept. --Angela Davis


What Participants Are Saying…

"Excellent. I wasn't sure what to expect. Kathy Bullock covered several centuries skillfully and clearly created a thread, a story, lifting up many individuals in a collective moment carried over time. I felt the drive, the lift, the genius, the brilliance and strength of all those women she talked about. I loved the singing, and in context, some familiar songs gained more significance and meaning. I feel uplifted and enriched. I wrote every name down. Say their names. Know their stories. I know enough to see what more I want to learn - and share!" Participant, Black Women Suffragists: Singing our Story

"Fantastic! Deepened my understanding of the importance and value of the arts to community organizing, education and movement building. Leti is a skillful educator, was well-organized, knowledgeable about a wide range of artistic genres and delivered the material in a visually inviting way. Loved it!" Participant, Movement Building and the Arts


BIPOC poets + organizers! want to dream about the future of art + activism together? APPLY FOR THE WITCHES & WARRIORS RETREAT July 21-24, 2002 in upstate NY w/ faculty Alexis Pauline Gumbs & Cynthia Dewi Oka APPLICATIONS DUE APRIL 30 www.brewandforge.com/retreat

Our Truth School Trainer, Franny Choi, is sponsoring this event!

Announcing Applications for the Witches & Warriors Retreat

Applications open this Tuesday, March 15 for our inaugural Witches & Warriors Retreat: a space for BIPOC poets, organizers, and movement workers! Taking place this July in upstate NY, the retreat is an opportunity for BIPOC poets and activists to gather, rest, collaborate, and dream together about possible connections between poetry and movement-building. Activities will include workshops, discussions, writing sessions with faculty mentors, rest and play time, and a public event. This year, we are thrilled to welcome Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Cynthia Dewi Oka as faculty!

Who: 12 BIPOC poets, organizers, and activists who are interested in the intersection of poetry and movement building, with priority given to folks located in the Northeast.

When: July 21-24, 2022

Where: The Watershed Retreat center, upstate New York

Cost: Free to attend!

How to apply: Applications open on March 15, 2022, and are due on Saturday, April 30 at www.brewandforge.com/retreat.


Stay close to everything that makes you feel glad you are alive. --Hafiz


Negro Spirituals

What Is Owed?

by Andrea Ayvazian | Mar 14, 2022

Most houses of worship pay an annual licensing fee to sing hymns and contemporary music each week in worship services. But what about Spirituals sung in predominately white churches… READ MORE


Daily Hampshire Gazette

Columnist Andrea Ayvazian: Passing the activist torch

Recently, I have been thinking a great deal about movements for social change, movement leaders and elders. As a 70-year-old woman who was radicalized while at college during the Vietnam War and has remained active in social change struggles for decades, I am very aware of aging, and of passing the torch to younger leader-activists… READ MORE