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TRJ / SJIA events

Towards Racial Justice/ Social Justice In Action events

Upcoming Events

  • Multicultural BRIDGE Annual Awards Ceremony Multicultural BRIDGE Annual Awards Ceremony With special guest, Peggie McIntoshLee, MA,September 8, 2016– On the evening of Nov. 17th BRIDGE will be honoring Reverend Natalie Shiras, Eugenie Sills ...
    Posted Sep 9, 2016, 11:58 AM by Jv Hampton-VanSant
  • Garden Party Fundraiser! Social Justice In Action Garden Party for Multicultural BRIDGE"In the face of impossible odds, people who love this country can change it."  -Barack ObamaJoin us for an afternoon ...
    Posted Aug 31, 2016, 12:24 PM by Jv Hampton-VanSant
  • 10/9/2016 - BENEFIT CONCERT @ ETHELWYNDE BUY YOUR TICKET HERE: For immediate release:Please contact:Gwendolyn VanSant4133944029or adminsupport@multiculturalbridge.orgto arrange for further dialogue.(Lenox, MA) On October 9th in Lenox, MA, Multicultural ...
    Posted Oct 3, 2016, 8:33 AM by Jv Hampton-VanSant
    Posted Aug 2, 2016, 7:52 AM by Jv Hampton-VanSant
  • April 28th: "W.E.B. Du Bois' Long Road Back To Great Barrington" BRIDGE is pleased to work with the Berkshire Hills Regional School District and other partners on W.E. B. Du Bois Educational Series in Great Barrington. In the spirit of ...
    Posted Apr 19, 2016, 12:11 PM by Jv Hampton-VanSant
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 7. View more »

Community Dialogue: Building Safe Communities

posted Feb 23, 2017, 10:14 AM by Jv Hampton-VanSant   [ updated Feb 23, 2017, 10:18 AM ]

Community Dialogue:
Building Safe Communities
facilitated by Patrice O'Neill, Executive Producer & CEO, Not In Our Town

You are cordially invited to join community leaders and the general public to attend a screening and discussion of the

Not in Our Town film: Light in the Darkness

Date:  Tuesday, April 4, 2017@7:00pm

Location:  Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington

About the Film

Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness is a one-hour documentary about a town coming together to take action after anti-immigrant violence devastates the community. The story follows Mayor Paul Pontieri and Patchogue residents as they openly address the underlying causes of a violent murder, work to heal divisions, and begin taking steps to ensure everyone in their village will be safe and respected.

About Not in Our Town & Founder

Not in Our Town is a movement to stop hate, address bullying, and build safe, inclusive communities for all. Not in Our Town films, new media, and organizing tools help local leaders build vibrant, diverse cities and towns, where everyone can participate. For more information, visit www.niot.org

Patrice O’Neill, Not In Our Town Executive Producer, is an award-winning media producer dedicated to telling stories about everyday people transforming their communities. As co-founder of the Oakland-based non-profit strategic media production company The Working Group, she has produced successful national series on PBS for fifteen years, using a multi-platform approach that utilizes documentary film, social networking, outreach and organizing efforts to encourage dialogue and spur action. 

Not In Our Town

Multicultural BRIDGE Annual Awards Ceremony

posted Sep 6, 2016, 11:13 AM by Jv Hampton-VanSant   [ updated Sep 9, 2016, 11:58 AM ]

Multicultural BRIDGE Annual Awards Ceremony 
With special guest, Peggie McIntosh
Lee, MA,September 8, 2016– On the evening of Nov. 17th BRIDGE will be honoring Reverend Natalie Shiras, Eugenie Sills and Marcia Savage with our new Peggy McIntosh Equity and Justice Award. Dr. McIntosh will be the keynote for Our Annual Awards Ceremony will include our Cultural Competence Award, MaryAnn and Bob Norris Community Stewardship Awards, Youth Activist, and Servant Leadership Award.

Peggy McIntosh is our Keynote and we are naming an award after her to give to Natalie Shiras, Marcia Savage, and Eugenie Sills. We will continue with our Multicultural BRIDGE Cultural Competence Award to Wuane Johnstone, Dr. Jennifer Michaels, Marlena Willis and Ty Jackson. And we will give the MaryAnn and Bob Norris Community Stewardship Award to Chief Wynn and John Bissell . Our Young Activist Award goes to Alex Leonard and Elizabeth Orenstein. Multicultural BRIDGE Servant Leadership Award to Tommie Hutto-Blake and Nataly Garzon.

In previous years, BRIDGE has honored members from all over for their tremendous part in their individual communities. In 2010, BRIDGE honored Governor Deval Patrick who showed an extreme amount of dedication to integrating cultural competency, moral and value systems into the overall job of governing. In 2013, co-founders of BRIDGE MaryAnn and Bob Norris, and former Mayor James Ruberto were honored for their support since the beginning of BRIDGE. This year BRIDGE will be implementing the Peggy McIntosh Award in the honor of Peggy McIntosh and her work in gender equity and as a white ally in racial justice . The first awardees are Reverend Natalie Shiras for her incredible service to Multicultural BRIDGE and its related programs for 7 years while advocating for reparations and racial equity in religious sectors. Dr. Marcia Savage for her long-term dedication to women’s health and rights. And finally Eugenie Sills for her professional dedication to women’s voices and the lifting up of African American Voices in the Berkshires.

Peggy McIntosh is a New York born feminist and anti-racism activist who is known for her 1988 opinion piece entitled, “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work in Women's Studies”. In which she very carefully explores white and male privilege that has enveloped into our society, privileges that to her seem to interlock. Within her, she makes a very strong point in listing 46 daily advantages she herself, faces as a white woman.

Peggy now is the founder and Senior Associate of the SEED Project (Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity) a program that targets at educating various groups of people and fighting for inclusion. Within in the program, she teaches the Gender, Race, and Inclusive Education Project which provides workshops centered on privilege, feelings of fraudulence, and diversifying workplaces, curricula, and teaching methods.

We are collecting major sponsorships for the ceremony that can have an opportunity for a pre-talk with Peggy McIntosh. Contact us if your business or organization is interested in sponsoring a table at the event. Early tickets will be sold at the price of 45$. In the month of September, they will be sold at the price of 55$.

If you would like more information about this event, please contact Gwendolyn at (413) 394 4029 or email atadminsupport@multiculturalbridge.org.

Peggy McIntosh

Garden Party Fundraiser!

posted Aug 31, 2016, 12:24 PM by Jv Hampton-VanSant

Social Justice In Action 

Garden Party for Multicultural BRIDGE

"In the face of impossible odds, people who love this country can change it."  -Barack Obama

Join us for an afternoon of learning, leaning in and lending a hand.

The mission and importance of Multicultural BRIDGE during this time of social unrest is critical. Let's get together to make a change!

Whether you are able to attend or not, please consider making a donation by check or PayPal. Thank you!

-Abbie von Schlegell, host

FROM 4:00 PM TO 6:00 PM

Abbie's Garden
83 Hancock Road
Pittsfield, MA 01201

Phone: 1-410-908-9068


posted Aug 31, 2016, 11:39 AM by Jv Hampton-VanSant   [ updated Oct 3, 2016, 8:33 AM ]


For immediate release:
Please contact:
Gwendolyn VanSant
or adminsupport@multiculturalbridge.org
to arrange for further dialogue.

(Lenox, MA) On October 9th in Lenox, MA, Multicultural BRIDGE Advisory Council Members, retired Reverend Natalie Shiras and Samuel VanSant, have collaborated for an October Benefit Concert at the Berkshire Cottage, Ethelwynde, in Lenox, MA. Both Natalie and Samuel, husband of founding director, Gwendolyn VanSant, have worked since BRIDGE's inception in spreading the mission of Multicultural BRIDGE in their social, professional and extended family networks. Rev. Shiras sponsors this invitational "swan song" as her farewell to Berkshire friends and Multicultural BRIDGE as she and her new husband, Rich Lumma, settle in to their retirement community in Claremont, CA.

This benefit concert for Multicultural BRIDGE is to honor Natalie's contributions and to invite those interested in supporting Multicultural BRIDGE as a sustainable organization delivering its powerful catalytic mission, more specifically to continue Natalie's devotion in development service for Multicultural BRIDGE and her social justice dedication to pursuing reparations and racial justice efforts within Berkshire faith communities. Natalie's dear friend and Harvard University college roommate, Dr. YeouCheng Ma, have offered this unique concert for our Berkshire friends with accompanist Elinor Abrams Zayas.

Location: Ethelwynde, Lenox, MA
Time: Sunday, October 9th, 3:00 PM
Tickets & RSVP: The ticket price for this benefit (for limited space at Ethelwynde) is $100. 
Please let Multicultural BRIDGE know at sjia@multiuclturalbridge.org asap if you are interested in attending. RSVPS are required and confirmations will be sent in late September.

*Please note if this event becomes fully booked. BRIDGE will also be honoring Rev. Natalie Shiras, among other nominees, with the inaugural Peggy McIntosh award for Racial Justice on November 17th.*

Dr. YeouCheng Ma is a Developmental Pediatrician and a musician. A graduate of Radcliffe College and Harvard Medical School, she works with children with developmental disorders in the Bronx , performs as a chamber musician, and teaches violin, viola, and chamber music with The Children's Orchestra Society. Her recent interests include optimizing communication in all children, exploring the relationship of music to young children's temperament, and using music as a means to find the "inner language" of children who have difficulties in verbal communication. Her work as Executive Director of the Children's Orchestra Society has been recognized by multiple awards. She studied violin with Dr. H. T. Ma, Firmin Touche, Arthur Grumiaux, Koji Toyoda and Sheila Reinhold, piano with Germaine Mounier and Rose Simon, and chamber music with Leon Kirchner, gave her first recital on violin and piano at age 7, was the winner of French National Competition, Royaume de la Musique at age 10, played Mendelssohn Violin Concerto at age 11 with the Denver Symphony Orchestra, and more recently performs in chamber music groups with COS faculty and friends. Dr. Ma is the sister of world renowned cellist and composer, YoYo Ma.

Elinor Abrams Zayas is a pianist from Long Island, New York. She studied at the Juilliard School, and the Manhattan School of Music with Constance Keene and Robert Helps. Chamber Music coaching was with Artur Balsam. Her studies continued with Sophia Rosoff, also included studies with Valerie Capers, who introduced her to Jazz and Improvisation.
Ms. Zayas has performed as a soloist, specializing in the music of Spain and the Americas, and as a chamber musician with her trio Nepenthe, and with the duo Cross Island,, with cellist Suzanne Mueller. Performances with the clarinetist Tom Piercy have included works by Japanese composers.

About Multicultural BRIDGE
Multicultural BRIDGE is a small grassroots organization known for spreading our mission of striving for social and racial justice in a holistic, positive systems approach. BRIDGE works with children in schools along with their faculty and parents and training corporate, nonprofit and municipal employees. In bridging the voices of unheard and underrepresented communities and their issues to the organizations, policymakers and fellow residents of our greater communities in order to build a unified thriving community, BRIDGE has excelled at catalyzing change and healing communities one person at a time while also fortifying organizations one cultural competence skill at a time. Often BRIDGE is utilized across the Commonwealth and outside within our neighboring states and is recognized in the criminal justice textbook, Understanding Hate Crimes by Dr. Petrosino, and by other researchers in social issues, positive psychology and racial justice.

The Multicultural BRIDGE Social Justice In Action (SJIA) Campaign is a program where members of our community host an event within their community to spread BRIDGE's mission to spark an engaged conversation and also to develop a network of community engagement. VanSant reminds us that this is a time of change in our national and local community and the bridge-building lies with the responsibility of each member of our community. VanSant, "We are catalysts for change and integration at Multicultural BRIDGE and we live our mission daily of promoting mutual respect and understanding through dialogue, fellowship and advocacy. I look forward to our year of SJIAs."

Message to Billy

posted Jul 21, 2016, 9:49 AM by Jv Hampton-VanSant   [ updated Aug 2, 2016, 7:52 AM ]


A Fundraiser For

Tuesday, August 9, at 7:00 PM
Diana Felber Gallery
6 Harris Street (Off Center Street)
West Stockbridge, MA

Reservations (essential): adminsupport@multiculturalbridge.org

(Refreshments Will Be Served Following A Post-Performance Discussion)

For more information about The Diana Felber Gallery: www.dianafelbergallery.com
For more information about The Multicultural BRIDGE: www.multiculturalbridge.org

April 28th: "W.E.B. Du Bois' Long Road Back To Great Barrington"

posted Apr 19, 2016, 12:11 PM by Jv Hampton-VanSant

BRIDGE is pleased to work with the Berkshire Hills Regional School District and other partners on W.E. B. Du Bois Educational Series in Great Barrington. In the spirit of Du Bois, the series is intended to heighten awareness of racism, modern slavery, gender and economic inequality and other injustices.

Dr. David Levering-Lewis, scholar and two-time Pulitzer Prize winning Du Bois biographer, will inaugurate the series on April 28th at Monument Mountain Regional High School (MMRHS), from 7:00-9:00 p.m. Students from Monument Mountain and Pittsfield High School will open the evening with a spoken word tribute to Du Bois. Dr. Levering-Lewis will then give the keynote presentation, “'W.E.B. Du Bois's Long Road Back to Great Barrington.” An exhibit highlighting the milestones and accomplishments of Du Bois on loan from the W.E.B. Du Bois Library at UMass Amherst will be on display in the high school lobby prior to the presentation.

TRJ: Race: the Power Of An Illusion Part 1 and 2

posted Apr 11, 2016, 11:27 AM by Jv Hampton-VanSant   [ updated Apr 11, 2016, 11:37 AM ]

TRJ: Race: the Power Of An Illusion Part 1 and 2

Join BRIDGE for our screening of “Race: The Power of an Illusion” followed by a 
discussion of the historical signifigance of race and racism with Gwendolyn VanSant and JV Hampton-VanSant.

This is the first film in a series of films as a part of the Towards Racial Justice (TRJ)

April 16th, 2016 1pm to 3pm
Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield, MA

Real Talk On Race (FCC in Stockbridge)

posted Mar 15, 2016, 12:10 PM by Jv Hampton-VanSant   [ updated Mar 15, 2016, 12:31 PM ]

 TRJ: Real Talk On Race (for FCC, Stockbridge)

Multicultural BRIDGE is pleased to offer an 8-week Real Talk On Race course at First Congregational Church of Stockbridge. BRIDGE will bring together a pair of facilitators, for each session, who will each take a few minutes to deliver their unique lesson on race from their voice, wisdom, and personal experience. This will be followed by a circle on Race facilitated by BRIDGE where participants actively engage in a race lesson and conversation. The course is interactive, and will require participants to confront racism explicitly on the individual and systemic level; the goal of the course is to help participants reach a deeper understanding of race, as well as race in the context of religion.
Facilitators will include Ms. Gwendolyn VanSant, Rev. Natalie Shiras, Ms. Stephanie Wright, and Mr. Jeff Lowenstein.

First Congregational Church of Stockbridge
4 Main St, Stockbridge, MA 01262
Sundays, 11:45-1:15, April 10th - May 29th, 2016

For more information, please contact us at 413-394-4029 or

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