Fall 2018 Classes

All Truth School classes are FREE.

Please register for classes you plan to attend. Registration helps to make sure we have enough interest to run a class and the trainers to prepare.

From any register button select the courses you plan to attend. We’ll send you an email reminder with all the details you need.

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The Truth School feeds my heart and my head. Classes remind me that we people of conscience and kindness are not alone. It is our regions’ most significant new gem. – J.M. Sorrell, Truth School Participant


SEPTEMBER CLASSES


Por Qué Los Latinxs Tenemos Que Inscribirnos – y Votar
When: Saturday, September 1, 2018, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Location: Nueva Esperanza, 401 Main Street, Holyoke

EN ESPAÑOL
Contrario a las experiencias electorales en nuestros países, aquí en los Estados Unidos hay elecciones casi cada año (¡!) Este taller de 2 horas de duración va sobre la importancia de inscribirse y votar en las elecciones. En nuestros países, la gran mayoría de nosotros votamos. Sin embargo, aquí, a penas votamos. De hecho, este año tenemos primarias (tres candidatos del Partido Democrático; dos del Partido Republicano) para la gobernación el 4 de septiembre. Las elecciones generales son el 6 de noviembre. Varios escaños políticos y dos preguntas (sobre contribuciones estatales y protección contra discriminación por género) dependen de nuestro voto. Se presentará información de los candidatos y sus propuestas y las dos preguntas en la papeleta en este taller. Se proveerá la cena.

Unlike in our home countries, here in the United States there are elections almost every year! When we are in our home countries, we vote in large numbers, but here in the U.S., our voter participation is much lower. In this workshop we will talk about the importance of registering to vote and voting. This year, there are primaries for governor on Sept. 4. (There are three candidates from the Democratic Party; two from the Republican Party.) The general election is on Nov. 6. There are also two questions on the ballot (related to taxes and gender identity protection.) Information about all the candidates and the ballot questions will be presented. A hot meal will be provided.

Trainer: Lillian Torres, una activista comunitaria oriunda de Ponce, Puerto Rico. Vino a los Estados Unidos en los años 1990s, y trabajó en Casa Latina en Northampton for casi 20 años, los últimos dos como directora ejecutiva. Lillian Torres is a lifelong community activist from Ponce, Puerto Rico, who moved to the U.S. in the 1990s. She worked at Casa Latina in Northampton for almost 20 years, the final 2 years as its executive director.


Re-Imagining the Practice of Social Justice: Bringing Head, Heart, and Hands to Our Work
SERIES CLASS: This is a two-part series. Participants are expected to attend both Saturday sessions.
When: Saturday, September 8, 2018, 9:30 AM – 1:30 PM &
Saturday, September 15, 2018, 9:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Location: St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, 128 Main Street, Easthampton

The influence of the dominant culture in the U.S. on social justice activism and organizing often goes unnoticed. In our culture, busyness, mind over heart, getting immediate results, and overestimating one’s individual power to produce and control are valued more than BEING. In this experiential workshop, participants are invited to explore the principles of evolutionary leadership and the implications for enduring social action. Through a combination of exercises and dialogue, participants will consider and make meaning of taking action from the heart center, acting boldly in the face of uncertainty, and surrendering the fruits of action, patience, and fierce compassion.
Rose Sackey Milligan
Rose Sackey Milligan

 

Trainer: Rose Sackey-Milligan, Contemplative Educator for Social Action

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Social Activism for Senior Citizens
When: Thursday, September 13, 2018, 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Location: Greenfield Public Library, LeVanway Room, 402 Main Street, Greenfield

In this class, Katharine will present a model for social activism and volunteerism for senior citizens that is emerging from the national Village Movement. The class will engage participants in discussing their experiences of volunteerism and what kinds of social activism and community building are particularly suited to older people who are aging in their own homes. Come ready to share your experiences, and with questions.

Trainer: Katharine Baker, retired family therapist and business consultant, currently a founder and president of the Board of Directors for Northampton Neighbors, a “virtual village” that promotes aging in place for seniors.

[This class is capped at 15 people.]


Exploring Islam: Our Faith, Culture, and Practices
When: Saturday, September 15, 2018, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Location: 40 Center Street, Northampton, MA

This interactive class will focus on dispelling myths and misinformation about the Islamic faith. Questions including the difference between cultural “norms” and religious practices, and why the media misrepresents Muslims so consistently will be explored. The workshop leaders will also speak to the question of what makes Muslims react the way they do when the Prophet Mohammed is disrespected. You are invited to bring questions about Muslims and areas of confusion about Islam to this gathering. The workshop leaders welcome a lively back and forth discussion and exchange.

Trainers: Dr. Mohammad Ali Hazratji is a student of Islam and describes himself as “a traveler of the spiritual path.” Dr. Hazratji has lectured in the Pioneer Valley on various Islamic issues and participated as a speaker on multiple interfaith panels in the aftermath of 9/11. He has been active in interfaith activities, refugee medical relief work overseas, refugee re-settlement programs, and programs for promoting peace and understanding among people.

Naz Mohamed
Naz Mohamed

Naz Mohamed, who is a firm believer in interfaith dialogue as the most effective way to share her faith with her neighbors and community, and thus increase knowledge and understanding of each other. Her hope is to provide comfort to those who fear Islam and Muslims.

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African and African American Heritage Men’s Affinity Group
When: Sunday, September 16, 2018, 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Location: Alden Baptist Church, Parlor, 649 State Street, Springfield, MA

This Affinity Group gathering will explore the experiences of men of African and African American heritage and our roles in society from past to present. During our time together we will engage in honest sharing and open dialogue. We will also discuss the lessons that can be learned from Sojourner Truth – her work, words, witness, and wisdom and how what she said and shared during her remarkable life can influence our lives today. African and African American heritage men of all ages are welcome.

Trainer: Dr. Marcus Ware is the Head of School at Springfield Commonwealth Academy in Springfield, MA. Dr. Ware holds a Doctorate in Education in Education Leadership and Administration from the University of Hartford. Previously, Dr. Ware held positions in the Springfield Public School System, Curry College, Eagle Hill School, and The Williston Northampton School. With more than a decade of experience in working with students, Dr. Ware is content knowing that he gets to act on the “pay it forward” philosophy – giving back what he has learned over the years coupled with the experiences he has been afforded by those he refers to as mentors. He strongly believes that people should be lifelong learners, and believes in the power of Affinity Groups as gatherings where one can learn about one’s heritage and, in the process, learn about oneself.


Fundraising: Focusing Your Questions
When: Thursday, September 20, 2018, 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: Forest Park Branch, Springfield Public Library 380 Belmont Street, Springfield

In this class on fundraising, Liz Wills-O’Gilvie and Jennifer Ladd will give each person (or each team) the opportunity for specific coaching, brainstorming, and input from others to help you with your particular fundraising questions and issues. We encourage teams of people to come together from an organization, and we also welcome those who come individually and want to listen and share.
Liz Wills-O’Gilvie
Jennifer Ladd
Jennifer Ladd

Trainers: Jennifer Ladd, Donor Organizer and Co-Founder of Class Action

Liz Wills-O’Gilvie, Board Chair of Gardening the Community in Springfield, Chair of the Springfield Food Policy Council


Knock, Knock, Knocking on Voters’ Doors!
When: Saturday, September 22, 2018, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: 170 Main Street, Greenfield

This hands-on, practical and very focused workshop will cover canvassing, phone banking, and other strategies to reach voters during this high-stakes election year. The trainers will cover the why, when, and how of voter contact and will use role plays to help people get comfortable using different techniques to identify, motivate, and persuade voters. No experience being active with campaigns in the past is necessary or expected. Come ready to listen, learn, engage, and be empowered!
Clare Higgins
Clare Higgins
Elizabeth Silver
Elizabeth Silver

Trainers: Clare Higgins, former Northampton City Councilor and Mayor, early childhood educator and advocate, and Executive Director of Community Action

Elizabeth Silver, Chair of the Northampton Democratic City Committee, retired legal services lawyer, and seasoned local coordinator for local, state, and national campaigns.


Labyrinth Through Fear: A Gift Event
SERIES CLASS:This is a three-part series. Participants are expected to attend all three classes.
When:
Saturday, September 22, 2018, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Saturday, September 29, 2018, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Saturday, October 6, 2018, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Location: The Pan African Historical Museum USA, Tower Square, 1500 Main Street, #2, Springfield, MA

This three-part workshop series offers participants the opportunity to transform the energy of fear and adversity into courage and hope. Through movement meditation, free writing, storytelling, and theater activities, unknown gifts of the Labyrinth will reveal themselves. This fear I face/ is a deeper breath I take/ is the courage I share. The gift of fear, small or large, is a daily gift. Taking the risk to face fear invites and supports us to move, step by step, through a constricted space into the next level of fearlessness, confidence, and transformation.  All are welcome, there are no-pre-requisites for this class, just come with an open heart.
Janet Aalfs
Janet Aalfs
Ingrid Askew
Ingrid Askew

Trainers: Janet Aalfs, Poet Laureate Emeritus of Northampton, MasterMartial Artist and Integrative Dance Instructor, Founder and Director, Lotus Peace Arts at Valley Women’s Martial Arts

Ingrid Askew, a theatre maker, cultural activist, and the Executive Director of Crossing the Waters Institute for Cultural Exchange. Ms. Askew lives in the Pioneer Valley and also in Cape Town, South Africa, where she facilitates theatre-making projects with community activists and artists. Her most recent project is “Labyrinth Through Fear” which she developed with Janet Aalfs.

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March For Our Lives: Gun Violence and Student Leadership, Where Do We Go From Here?
When: Sunday, September 23, 2018, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: First Churches, 129 Main Street, Northampton

In March, students took to the streets to demand common sense gun control legislation. In July, our calls were answered as Extreme Risk Protective Orders were signed into law in Massachusetts. What’s the next step for students in the movement toward gun control? Taking to the streets once more, this time to canvass and take back the house this fall. We will discuss the basics of how to canvass for a political candidate (including how you can get involved in the action) as well as our experiences as youth activists in adult-dominated activist communities. Together we will develop strategies for youth to improve our experiences in activist spaces, amplify our voices, and increase united youth power as we work to end gun violence. Participants will leave learning concrete skills including how to register to vote, how to vote absentee, and how to write press releases.
Cherilyn Strader
Ben Moss-Horwitz

Trainers: Cherilyn Strader and Ben Moss-Horwitz.

Cherilyn and Ben, both students at Northampton High School, together organized the Pioneer Valley March For Our Lives, and both are members of and organizers with the Pioneer Valley Students For Gun Control.


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The Peace Puzzle: A Group Bridge-Building Experience
When: Thursday, September 27, 2018, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Location: Greenfield Public Library, LeVanway Room, 402 Main Street, Greenfield

The Peace Puzzle is a challenging and fun interactive geometric puzzle, solved simultaneously by groups who work in clusters of six. The structure of the puzzle offers players an opportunity to viscerally experience the positions of other players. The Peace Puzzle is an experiential learning tool that gives players the language to discuss sensitive personal, cultural, or political issues. It also enables individuals from opposing perspectives to gain deeper insight and respect for differing points of view. The goal of our time together is to empower people to safely share deep issues or concerns. Come with an open mind and ready to play.

Trainer: Ben Goldberg, Environmental Educator and Sustainability Specialist


Listening Across Divides: A User-Friendly Dialogue Format
When: Saturday, September 29, 2018, 3:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Location: St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, 128 Main Street, Easthampton

In this class, the dialogue model of the Public Conversations Project (now known as Essential Partners) will be presented and demonstrated. A tightly structured format is used to enhance our ability to listen across differing perspectives. Five questions are used to clarify positions and provide a road map for deeper insight. The goal is not to achieve consensus, but to support more nuanced discussion and potentiate problem-solving. In a highly polarized environment, we see bridging divides as a first step toward mutual understanding and as a possible basis for finding a common way forward.
Norma Akamatsu
Norma Akamatsu
Gail Perlman
Gail Perlman

Trainers: Norma Akamatsu, Clinical Social Worker focused on reconciliation in families and communities
Gail Perlman, a retired mediator and conflict resolution facilitator and a member of Community Conversations of Western Massachusetts, a group focused on strengthening the ability of rivals to have productive conversations in our deeply polarized democracy.

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OCTOBER CLASSES


Politics 101
SERIES CLASS: This is a three-part series; participants are expected to attend all three classes.
When:
Wednesday, October 3, 2018, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Wednesday, October 10, 2018, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Wednesday, October 17, 2018, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: Puerto Rican and Afro Caribbean Cultural Center, 413 Main Street, Holyoke, MA

Politics 101 is a class series designed for individuals who want to gain important and practical skills around civic engagement and community advocacy. The class will explore the root causes of oppression and help participants learn how to fight against systemic barriers and oppressive systems by learning how they operate. The series will cover these topics: how to make your vote count; how to build power as a community; how to identify what keep citizens from engaging in city matters and politics; and how institutional oppression manifests in work and community life. All are welcome!
Nelson Roman
Nelson Román

Trainers: Nelson Rafael Román, Executive Director, Nueva Esperanza, Holyoke
Efraín Santana, Groups Facilitator, Nueva Esperanza Holyoke, MA
[This class is capped at 20 people.]
Simultaneous translation services available English to Spanish. Clasés disponibles en español.

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A Conversation with Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum: Come With Questions, Listen and Share
When: Saturday, October 6, 2018, 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Location: Puerto Rican Cultural Center, 413 Main Street, Holyoke, MA

This special gathering is a chance to speak informally with one of the most well-known and admired voices speaking and writing about race in America today, Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum. This conversation, moderated by Rev. Andrea Ayvazian, will begin with Dr. Tatum offering some thoughts about race relations in this country today. The remaining hour will be devoted to questions from the gathered group. We anticipate a candid conversation and lively back and forth with Dr. Tatum, a dynamic speaker and bestselling author. Come with questions, or simply to listen to Dr. Tatum share her perspective and to hear the questions from your neighbors and friends and the thoughtful answers by a great scholar and nationally recognized leader.
Beverly Daniel Tatum
Beverly Daniel Tatum

Trainer: Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, President Emerita, Spelman College, Atlanta, GA, and author of the bestselling book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria and Other Conversations About Race. In 2014, Dr. Tatum received the Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology, the highest honor presented by the American Psychological Association.


We Will Not Be Divided: Jews and Allies Standing Together Against Anti-Semitism
SERIES CLASS: This is a three-part series. Participants are welcome to come to just the first session OR all three sessions (but participants must attend the first session to attend the other two).
When:
Sunday, October 7, 2018, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Sunday, October 21, 2018, 3:00 PM -5:00 PM
Sunday, October 28, 2018, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: Springfield Central Library, Community Room, 220 State Street, Springfield

Why is anti-Semitism so confusing and hard to talk about? And why do we still need to? At political marches and rallies against oppression, anti-Semitism often is not mentioned. Many people would like to believe anti-Semitism ended with the defeat of Hitler more than 70 years ago. Recent events have shown that is not true. Anti-Semitism is the classic example of divide and conquer. Sometimes anti-Semitism is overt and easy to recognize; often it is not. Whether it is obvious or subtle, anti-Semitism is used to divide groups from each other and derail our work for social justice. In this series, Jews and allies will learn to recognize and counteract anti-Semitism. We will explore the roots of anti-Semitism, how it hurts everyone – Jews and non-Jews – and what we can do about it.
Amy Leos-Urbel
Amy Leos-Urbel

Trainer: Amy Leos-Urbel leads classes and workshops about anti-Semitism, classism, sexism, racism, and other forms of oppression. She is co-author of a small book, “Anti-Semitism: Why Is It Everyone’s Concern?”


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Is It A Good Match? Learning How to Approach and Write to the Right Funders for Your Project
When: Thursday, October 11, 2018, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Location: Springfield Central Library, Community Room, 220 State Street, Springfield

Many grant proposals are rejected because they are not a good match with the grantmaker. Participants will learn how to identify the good match indicators and how to determine a funder’s problem-solving approach, underlying beliefs, and political ideology. Because this information affects what is presented and emphasized in a proposal, grantseekers will discover how to read between the lines and find the “hook” – the connection between one’s project and a prospective funder – and how to write their proposals in a way that the funder can hear.
Deborah Koch

Trainer: Deborah Koch, Author of How to Say It: Grantwriting: Write Proposals ThatGrantmakers Want to Fund. Deborah Koch is an accomplished trainer, writer, and grantseeker, raising millions of dollars for higher education and community nonprofits, and teaching hundreds of people how to do the same.


Millennials and Elders Working Together for Social Change
When: Saturday, October 13, 2018, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: Montessori School of Northampton, South Campus, 42 Bates Street, Northampton, MA

In this workshop, the trainers will facilitate “cross cultural” dialogue between self-identified elders and millennials. We will ask and examine key questions: What hinders these two age groups from being co-conspirators in service to social justice? What can make intergenerational organizing happen? After a “getting to know you” portion of the workshop, we will then identify a common cause, and plan a concrete action related to that cause.
Erin Joy Seibert
Erin Joy Seibert
Doug Renick
Doug Renick

Trainers: Erin Joy Seibert, Artist, Activist, Social Worker; and Doug Renick, Elder Activist

 

 


We The People: The Struggle to Defend Our Constitution and Our Democracy
When: Sunday, October 14, 2018, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: 40 Center Street, Community Room, Northampton

This class will be centered on movement-building. We will discuss the movements across the country to restore our democracy to the people and to defend our Constitution at this critical moment in history. We will also focus on what we can do to help these movements at the national, state, and local levels.
John Bonifaz
John Bonifaz

 

Trainer: John Bonifaz, Constitutional Attorney and Co-Founder and President of Free Speech For People


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The Grant Proposal: An Explanation of Its Components
When: Thursday, October 18, 2018, Noon – 2:00 PM
Location: Springfield Central Library, Community Room, 220 State Street, Springfield

Participants will be guided through an overview of the elemental components of a grant proposal to understand each component’s distinctions, purposes, and organization. The workshop will provide an in-depth look at one or two of the components to offer examples and specific suggestions for how best to craft them. The targeted components include the Abstract/Summary, Introduction, Organizational Description, Statement of Need, Goals and Objectives, Project Activities and Outcomes, Evaluation, Dissemination, and Budget.
Deborah Koch

Trainer: Deborah Koch, author of How to Say It: Grantwriting: Write Proposals That Grantmakers Want to Fund. Deborah Koch is an accomplished trainer, writer, and grantseeker, raising millions of dollars for higher education and community nonprofits, and teaching hundreds of people how to do the same. 


Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Know Your Rights
When: Thursday, October 18, 2018, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: Unitarian Society of Northampton & Florence, 220 Main Street, Northampton

The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have encouraged victims of workplace sexual harassment to tell their stories – and for the public to finally listen. Yet, often the truth comes out long after legal action can be taken. Many people are unsure about what they can do right now to stop harassment and hold perpetrators accountable. This class hopes to fill that gap and focus on legal rights under state and federal law for victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. [This class is for educational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or opinions.]
Michael Aleo

Trainer: Michael Aleo is an attorney with the firm Lesser, Newman, Aleo, & Nasser in Northampton, MA.  His practice is focused on civil litigation, including disputes involving employment and labor law, personal injury, medical malpractice, housing, civil rights, First Amendment, and municipal law.

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Movement for Movement Leaders: Tai Chi for Relaxation & Conflict Management
When: Saturdays, October 20 & 27, 2018; 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Each session consists of three (3), 1-hour segments – 1:00 to 2:00, 2:00 to 3:00, 3:00 to 4:00. Participants can come for any or all of the segments.

Location: Lathrop Community Meeting House, 1 Shallowbrook Lane, Northampton

Tai Chi is best known in Western circles as a series of slow, flowing movements, designed to increase balance, flexibility, and relaxation through increased mind-body awareness. While this is accurate, it is also incomplete. Tai Chi originated as a very effective martial art, where practitioners gain advantage in conflict through deep practice in true relaxation and a candid assessment of our individual desires to control outcomes, rather than steer them. The self-defense system requires relaxation, profound centeredness, and a supple response to conditions around us. Application of the practice offers all participants a new lens for viewing day to day interactions and conflicts; this allows us to advance the work with less strain and resistance. The personal experience of the practice itself is rewarding to no end as well. It just feels great to move this way.

The training will be accessible to all, as we will approach it in hour-long stages:

Stage 1: Relaxation and Grounding: Looking at Traditions of Meditation and Qigong, we will practice a set of simple sitting or standing exercises designed to relax and clear out the clutter of the mind (open to all.)
Stage 2: Tai Chi as Moving Meditation: Focusing on Tai Chi as a moving meditation, we will practice a short set of movements that deepen the mind-body training by adding movement flow (open to all who can comfortably stand and step.)
Stage 3: Tai Chi as a System for Conflict Resolution: Delving into some aspects of the Taoist/martial tradition, we will practice techniques for efficiently manifesting and directing force (open to all who participated in Stage 2 and welcome partner training.)

All participants will walk away from the training with a set of exercises they can practice at home.

Trainer: Jeff Rosen, CFO Solidago Foundation, and Director YMAA Western Mass School of Tai Chi Chu’an

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Effective Mentoring of Young People of Color
When: Sunday, October 21, 2018, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: St. Philip’s Church, 128 Main Street, Easthampton

This workshop will focus on the needs that young people of color bring to relationships with mentors and the sensitivity that must be used when speaking with and guiding young adults from targeted communities. Sharing lessons learned from their decades of experience, Miss Thulani and Miss Olivia will offer examples, guide participants away from common pitfalls, and share stories that will help illuminate “what works and what doesn’t.” Lively, participatory, and filled with wisdom and practical strategies, this workshop welcomes all with questions and experiences to share.
Olivia Ilano Davis
Olivia Ilano Davis
Thulani Davis
Thulani Davis

Trainers: Thulani Davis, Director of Programming, Spectrum in Motion Dance Theater Ensemble, Hartford, CT. Miss Thulani is an activist for women’s rights, affordable education for all children, and civil rights for all; and Olivia Ilano Davis, Founding Artistic Director, Spectrum in Motion Dance Theater Ensemble, Hartford, CT. Miss Olivia created Spectrum in Motion in 1982 as a dance education program (ages 4 – 17) celebrating people of color and the American experience. She has now guided two generations of young people and is a teacher, mentor, educator, counselor, and, called by some, “mom” to hundreds and hundreds of young adults. 

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Making Positive Change: Exploring Internalized White Supremacy in Predominately White Communities
When: Wednesday, October 24, 2018, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: Treehouse Community at Easthampton Meadow, 1 Treehouse Circle, Easthampton

A workshop for white people to explore our understanding of whiteness from the inside out. How do we consciously and unconsciously embody our role in racism? How do we internalize white supremacy? Our conversation will include an exploration of racial identity development and how we can affect positive change. Please come with an open heart and a willingness to sit with contradiction.
Phyllis Labanowski
Phyllis Labanowski

 

Trainer: Phyllis Labanowski, Activist, Artist, and Antiracism Educator

[This class is capped at 20 people.]


Writing With Fire: Using Narrative for Advocacy and Change
When: Thursday, October 25, 2018, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Location: Mason Square Branch, Springfield Public Library, 765 State Street, Springfield

In this workshop, participants will learn to write bold, compelling narratives that instigate change and social advocacy in both the digital sphere as well as in our communities. Together, we will create a safe space where we will learn how to mobilize the most effective aspects of our unique voices in the service of those who are not heard.
Epi Arias
Epi Arias

 

Trainer: Epi Arias, Writer and Independent Researcher


Creating the New Society
SERIES CLASS: This is a four-part series. Participants are expected to attend all four classes.
When:
Thursday, October 25, 2018, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Thursday, November 1, 2018, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Thursday, November 8, 2018, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Thursday, November 29, 2018, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Location: Holyoke Public Library, Board Room, 250 Chestnut Street, Holyoke

In this hands-on, four-part series participants will dream a future where some present dysfunction in society has been resolved, remember the final steps of how we got there, identify possible trailheads for that path in 2018, develop a strategic plan, and take some first steps to make that dream a reality. Using spiritual imaging, art, motion, and collaborative group process, participants will learn to build a new society in the shell of the old, in a way that will make your heart sing. The four classes will follow this outline:

Week 1. Overview: What is constructive program; identifying dysfunctions in today’s society; imagining a better future; creative tension.
Week 2. Developing the vision: Looking backward; finding the roots of change.
Week 3. Developing the roots: Strategic Planning.
Week 4. Successes and challenges: Collaborative support for your mission.

William Spademan
William Spademan

 

Trainer: William Spademan is Executive Director of Common Good, a Pioneer Valley nonprofit promoting community-centered democratic economics.


 

Liberation Through Education: A Workshop for Everyone Who Teaches
When: Saturday, October 27, 2018, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: Nueva Esperanza, 401 Main Street, Holyoke

Who are we in our roles as teachers, paraeducators and students preparing to teach others? How does who we are determine how we act in our learning communities? In this workshop we will focus on our own social identities so that we can come to a deeper understanding of how oppression is perpetuated, often unintentionally, and what concrete tools we can use to interrupt it. The workshop will bridge pedagogy and practice by pairing experiential activities with purposeful dialogue about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Incorporating social justice principles, especially in schools focused on measured achievement, is essential. Anyone who teaches and wants to understand how to use their position of power to create social change is encouraged to attend.
Erin Joy Seibert
Erin Joy Seibert
Susan Kennedy Marx
Susan Kennedy Marx

Trainers: Erin Joy Seibert, Artist, Activist, Educator, Social Worker; and Susan Kennedy Marx, Activist, Educator, EDD in Counseling/Administration, and Trainer for Justice


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Sister Districts! Strategic Organizing in Our Valley
When: Sunday, October 28, 2018, 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Location: Lathrop Community Meeting House, 1 Shallowbrook Lane, Northampton, MA

Lilly will share a transformative model she developed through the MA Sierra Club for leveraging Valley climate activists to bolster grassroots legislative lobbying in strategic districts across the state. Learn this simple, replicable model, and use it to strengthen your state-level movement.

Lilly Lombard
Lilly Lombard

 

Trainer: Lilly Lombard, State-wide organizer for the MA Sierra Club

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NOVEMBER CLASSES


Change Happens at the Speed of Trust
When: Saturday, November 3, 2018, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: Lathrop Community Meeting House, 1 Shallowbrook Lane, Northampton, MA

We strive to bring positive change to the world, but sometimes our organizations feel anything but positive. Some people joke that social movements on the left have perfected the “circular firing squad.” But, does it have to be this way? In my experience, making positive change can be fun, healing, and transformative. In this interactive workshop, we will explore ways to increase trust and accountability in social change organizations, to create thriving, effective movements where people feel supported to achieve their greatest good.
Jade Barker
Jade Barker

Trainer: Jade Barker is a Co-operative Activist, Trauma Educator, Trained Mediator, and Board Leadership Development Consultant


Activism That Works
When: Sunday, November 4, 2018, 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Location: Community Music School of Springfield, 127 State Street, Springfield

Many of us are horrified by this administration’s attacks on immigrants, the environment, health care, voting rights, women’s rights, and more, and we would like to do something to stop the damage – but what? There are countless requests to sign petitions, attend protests, boycott products, etc. Which are worthwhile, and which a waste of time? In this workshop, Betsy Leondar-Wright will share five criteria for what makes public action effective. The criteria are drawn from research as well as from her own social justice movement involvement over many years. Together the group will evaluate resistance efforts now in progress. Participants will leave with ideas for action steps to protect whatever each individual values most in this country.
Betsy Leondar Wright
Betsy Leondar Wright

 

Trainer: Betsy Leondar-Wright, long-time activist and Professor of Sociology, who writes and teaches about social movement strategy.


 

Guided by the Spirit: How Faith Motivates and Sustains Social Activism
When: Saturday, November 10, 2018, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: Alden Baptist Church, 649 State Street, Springfield, MA

People of faith often report that their faith motivated them to become active in social movements for justice, equity, peace, and earth stewardship. Others say that it is their faith that sustains them as they engage in the hard work of standing up for the values of inclusion, equality, fairness, compassion, and generosity. In this gathering, open to people of all faiths and to those who do not ascribe to any faith but are curious, questioning, or seeking, we will discuss how we experience spiritual energy moving through our lives, what compels us to work for change in this beautiful but broken world, and where we find sustenance, hope, and the strength to be active in struggles for peace, justice, care of creation, and the civil rights and civil liberties for all people. Highly interactive and all are welcome!
Rev. Dr. Karen-Louise Rucks

Trainer: Rev. Dr. Karen-Louise Rucks, Associate Minister, Alden Baptist Church, and Executive Director of Advancement, Quinsigamond Community College, Worcester, MA


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Unpacking the Man Box: Cross-Gender Dialogue About Masculinity and Movement-Building
Series Class: This is a two-part series. Participants are expected to attend both classes.
When:
Tuesday, November 13, 2018, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Tuesday, November 27, 2018, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: Greenfield Community College, East Building, Room E110, 1 College Drive, Greenfield

Through personal reflection and cross-gender dialogue, we will examine the socialization of boys and men, discuss how masculinity affects all people regardless of gender, and explore the impact of gender on our work as activists. Together we will generate ideas for how to individually and collectively “unpack the man box” and dismantle patriarchy as we develop our activism.
Steven Botkin
Steven Botkin

Trainers: Steven Botkin, who has been providing leadership in the field of engaging men and boys for violence prevention, positive masculinities, and gender equality for 35 years and in 15 countries as founder/director of the Men’s Resource Center for Change and Men’s Resources International, and now as Senior Consultant for MERGE for Equality; and

James Arana
James Arana

James Arana, social worker, community organizer, and group facilitator with 35 years experience working in the U.S. and internationally through the Men’s Resource Center, Men’s Resources International, and MERGE for Equality, as well as other organizations to prevent violence and promote dialogue across race, class, and gender.


Communication 101: How to Speak Your Truth and Listen from the Heart
When: Thursday, November 15, 2018, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: 40 Center Street, Community Room, Northampton, MA

We all want to be seen and heard, but sometimes we can get so caught up in our perspective and thinking about what’s right/true/just that it’s hard to connect with others who don’t share our way. Social change and breaking down silos of difference requires us to develop skills in communicating across the aisle and not be afraid to know and be known by people who span the whole range of diversity. This class will be a combination of didactics, discussion, and experiential learning through the practice of mindful speech and mindful listening.
Ruth Folchman
Ruth Folchman

 

Trainer: Dr. Ruth Folchman, Principal, Everyday Mindfulness


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Peacekeeper Training for Marches and Other Actions
When: Saturday, November 17, 2018, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: Bethesda Lutheran Church, East Church UCC, 455 Island Pond Road, Springfield

This highly interactive training will include discussions of the role of peacekeepers at marches and rallies, the tenets of nonviolence, how and why codes of conduct are created and followed, responding to hecklers, and how to support demonstrators who are having a hard time or are hurt. Using a combination of discussion, readings, small-group work, and role plays, the workshop will focus on the practical tools a peacekeeper needs to be effective and help defuse difficult situations that arise in public protests. [Note: To participate in this Peacekeeper Training, you must have already taken a full-day Nonviolent Direct Action Training, and been part of a demonstration where people risked arrest. You do not need to have been arrested yourself – just present at an event where nonviolent civil disobedience occurred.]
Mary Link
Mary Link
Cate Woolner

Trainers: Mary Link, Nonviolence Activist, Organizer, and Trainer; and Cate Woolner, Professional Conflict Resolution Practitioner and Trainer


 

Climate Justice: Viewing Climate Change Through a Lens of Social Justice
When: Thursday, November 29, 2018, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Location: Montessori School of Northampton, South Campus, 42 Bates Street, Northampton

Most of us are familiar with the environmental effects of climate change, but have you thought about what a changing climate will do to people? Van Jones, a social justice champion and news commentator says it best: “In order to trash the planet, you have to trash people.” In this workshop, participants will learn how climate change disproportionately affects people of color, women, people living in poverty, and immigrants. Participants will learn about what is called “the people side of the environment,” how climate change amplifies inequality and violence – and what you can do to influence positive change. All are most welcome; come listen, learn, and share.

Trainer: Annika Johnson, a high school junior who lives in Northampton, and is always looking for ways to make a positive difference in the world.

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DECEMBER CLASSES


Re-Imagining the Practice of Social Justice: Bringing Head, Heart, and Hands to Our Work
SERIES CLASS: This is a two-part series. Participants are expected to attend both Saturday sessions.
When:
Saturday, December 8, 2018, 9:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Saturday, December 15, 2018, 9:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Location: Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, 100 Bigelow Street, Holyoke

The influence of the dominant culture in the U.S. on social justice activism and organizing often goes unnoticed. In our culture, busyness, mind over heart, getting immediate results, and overestimating one’s individual power to produce and control are valued more than BEING. In this experiential workshop, participants are invited to explore the principles of evolutionary leadership and the implications for enduring social action. Through a combination of exercises and dialogue, participants will consider and make meaning of taking action from the heart center, acting boldly in the face of uncertainty, and surrendering the fruits of action, patience, and fierce compassion.
Rose Sackey Milligan
Rose Sackey-Milligan

 

Trainer: Rose Sackey-Milligan, Contemplative Educator for Social Action

 

 

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Sisters, Faith, Activism, and Struggle: Learning From and Supporting Each Other in the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian Communities
When: Saturday, December 1, 2018, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM 
Location: 40 Center Street, Community Room, Northampton, MA

Three women from different faith traditions – Naz Mohamed, a Muslim woman; Pamela Schwartz, a Jewish woman; and Ann Turner, a Catholic woman – come together to discuss how their relationships to their faith share a common purpose in their work for social justice. With Andrea Ayvazian as moderator, we will share how faith can inspire and fuel the stamina necessary for resistance.
Pamela Schwartz
Pamela Schwartz
Naz Mohamed
Naz Mohamed
Ann Turner
Ann Turner

Trainers: Pamela Schwartz, Director, Western MA Network to End Homelessness, former Northampton City Councilor, and long-time activist for social justice; and Naz Mohamed, who is a firm believer in interfaith dialogue as the most effective way to share her faith with her neighbors and community, and thus increase knowledge and understand of each other. Her hope is to provide comfort to those who fear Islam and Muslims; and Ann Turner, local writer of over 50 children’s books, a Catholic convert who sees her activism as a light in the world and a witness to justice.


Healing Justice: Social and Political Re-Imaginings through Somatics and Applied Theatre
When: Sunday, December 2, 2108, 12:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Location: Community Music School of Springfield, 127 State Street, Springfield

This class will explore healing justice as a vital component to our social change movements. We’ll begin by grounding in the origins of the healing justice movement, as it arises from the voices and experiences of marginalized folks. Then, via somatic awareness and applied theatre practices, we will explore the ways in which we have been socialized to be agents of oppression. In heightening our relational and societal awareness, we can practice better engagement with others, as agents of justice in our everyday lives. Together, we will recognize the ways in which healing is inextricably tied to our movements for global justice.
Cheyenne Palacio McCarthy
Cheyenne Palacio McCarthy
Adin Buchacan

Trainers: Cheyenne Palacio McCarthy, Applied Theatre Practitioner and Social Justice Artist; and Adin Buchanan, Social Justice Educator, and Truth School Community Liaison


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Poetry: How Pain Becomes Beautiful Power
When: Thursday, December 6, 2018, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: Community Music School of Springfield , 127 State Street, Springfield

In this class Michaelann Bewsee and Jennifer Ladd will share poems we know and will have time to write our own poems as well. We encourage each person to bring a poem that has moved them deeply, that has helped them name something. We will share those poems and then take time to write our own poems that we will read to one another (if people wish to do that), without critique. The focus of the gathering is on hearing and creating poems that speak to transformation. We will be witness to each other’s poems of transformation to strengthen our work for change.
Michaelann Bewsee
Michaelann Bewsee
Jennifer Ladd
Jennifer Ladd

Trainers: Michaelann Bewsee, Poet and Executive Director of ARISE for Social Justice; and Jennifer Ladd, Poet, Donor Organizer and Co-Founder of Class Action


 

Publish or Perish: How to Write for and Get Published in the Mass Media
When: Saturday, December 8, 2018, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Location: 40 Center Street, Community Room, Northampton MA

In this class, we will explore how to write short opinion articles for newspapers, magazines, and online sites. The focus of our work together will be on developing useful skills for composing articles that will attract the interest of editors and express a strong point of view.
Dr. Michael Klare
Dr. Michael Klare

Trainer: Dr. Michael Klare, Former Director, Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies, currently Senior Research Fellow, Arms Control Association, Washington DC. Dr. Klare is also the Defense Correspondent for The Nation.


 

Telling Your Public Story
When: Sunday, December 9, 2018, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, 128 Main Street, Easthampton

In this workshop participants will develop their own public narrative for social change, experience the power of telling that story, and hear others’ stories. The goal of the workshop is to give participants the skills and confidence to share their own stories to build community and motivate people to action. This workshop is adapted from a framework developed by Marshall Ganz and others. We welcome new activists who would like assistance shaping their public story and experienced activists who would like a refresher on the power of story to build community and move people to be part of movements for change.
Dr. Gloria DiFulvio
Dr. Gloria DiFulvio
Dr. Mary Hannah Henderson
Dr. Mary Hannah Henderson

Trainers: Dr. Gloria DiFulvio, the co-founder of Valley Action Group – a local group dedicated to mobilizing people in the Pioneer Valley to support one another and act during these difficult political times. By day, she is a faculty member in public health, where her work involves the use of stories for community change; and Dr. Mary Hannah Henderson, an independent anthropologist who writes about community organizing and social justice education. She has been coaching new and seasoned organizers since the late 1990s, when she began learning from and working with Marshall Ganz.


Activists Greet the Light: Celebrating with Freedom Songs
When: Saturday, December 15, 2018, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: Treehouse Community at Easthampton Meadow, 1 Treehouse Circle, Easthampton, MA

Working and living for justice can be nourishing in our best moments, yet we’re sometimes drained when struggles get hard. Come learn and sing freedom songs from around the world that will brighten spirits, welcome returning light, and recharge batteries so we can keep going in movements that bring justice. Group singing is well-proven to achieve these goals!
Eveline MacDougal
Eveline MacDougall

 

Trainer: Eveline MacDougall, Founder and Director, Amandla Chorus

 


What Do You Stand For?
When: Tuesday, December 18, 2018, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Location: Greenfield Public Library, LeVanway Room, 402 Main Street, Greenfield

Knowing the deepest truth of what you truly stand for empowers you to embody and work towards the biggest dreams you have for the world. And, when you show up as the powerful change maker you are, others are drawn and inspired to collaborate and join with you. Bring to this workshop a written description of a project or campaign you are working on and, if possible, come with a few of the people you are working with.

Vivienne Simon
Vivienne Simon

Trainer: Vivienne Simon is a life-long campaigner for international environmental and human rights, retired lawyer, life coach, and Sugar Shack Alliance activist and legal advisor.

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