BRIDGE had an eventful February and I hope you were able to join us in person or online for the celebration of Black History Month through our work on the Du Bois Memorial with the support of many of you, our collaboration and contributions to the Du Bois Legacy Festival or the visit to our archives for our Living African American History project highlighting the Black thought leaders that have joined BRIDGE these last two years.
We are excited about launching the testing phase of our virtual learning hub! We were proud to pivot to a new method of organizing and content delivery at the onset of the pandemic and now we are transitioning to our remote instruction platform fondly carrying the name New Pathways forward. This site will hold resources and content, thought leadership, polls, news, etc. There are multiple levels of engagement from a client, member, activist/ally or constituent perspective. However you are engaged with BRIDGE, there is something that will “add value” here and be accessible. Go to this link to sign up and explore our “mighty BRIDGE network”!
And now we move on to Women’s History Month and we have chosen to focus on self-care and resilience and uplifting the power of women’s leadership. We invite you to visit a self-guided Black Feminist book club that our CEO held for Mass MoCA’s Cauleen Smith exhibit. There will also be other women and feminist thought leaders and positive psychology thought leaders highlighted in the same way that our LAAHP project was in February and the best thing about it is, each of these campaigns will continue.
We look forward to an internet safety course at the end of March hosted by Northern Berkshire.
BERKSHIRE DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION MASSACHUSETTS STATE POLICE
WILL BE PRESENTING:
Keeping Kids Safe and Secure Online: A Project Safe Childhood Presentation for Parents
Childcare and Dinner will be provided!
RSVP Required for meals and childcare
Please RSVP to Stephanie at nbCC by:
Friday, March 25
(dinner will be from 5:45 pm – 6:25 pm - The presentation will begin at 6:30 pm)
Wednesday March 30th, 2022
Drury High School
1130 Church Street
The Presentation will include:
NEW RESEARCH PROVIDES INSIGHTS ON THE VALUE OF ARTS & CULTURE, AND IDEAS FOR CHANGE
Please join us for a virtual presentation and discussion of Culture + Community research findings for the state of Massachusetts and Berkshire County on Thursday, March 31, from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m
This research shares insights from thousands of Massachusetts residents and provides statewide and local findings on:
Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation: Focus on Massachusetts is a specialized report from Slover Linett Audience Research and commissioned by the Barr Foundation. It extends learnings from national Culture + Community research to the state and county level.
The session will be a deep dive on Berkshire County, with a presentation of key findings followed by a discussion on how to act on them in the county's arts and culture sector and beyond. Guest speakers will include Margaret Keller (Community Access to the Arts), Thasia Giles (Jacob’s Pillow) and Gwendolyn VanSant (BRIDGE).
The Western Massachusetts Health Equity Network Presents Mosaic: Film, Conversation and Community
Thursday, May 5th at 6 pm
FREE, Registration required
The Western Massachusetts Health Equity Network in conjunction with Multicultural BRIDGE presents an evening of cultural exploration, performance, and intergenerational conversation centered on the screening of the new Western MA film, Mosaic, a film that the Network commissioned to highlight the transformational work of local leaders of color and other voices from the Connecticut River Valley to the Berkshires. A regional group of young and old helped create the content and guide the process of the film’s focus on the intersection of racism and health.
What would a world without racism look like?
What would it be like if quality healthcare were accessible to all?
How can we embrace and support wellbeing in all its manifestations?
What could healthy communities look like…and accomplish?
Join as these questions and more are explored in an open, supportive, creative environment.
upcoming bridge training
Building cultural competency is a foundational journey that organizational employees take, because the end result is a more inclusive, connected and effective organization through developing awareness, tools and resources for professional education, sector and professional bias awareness and cultural knowledge.
Rooted in cultural humility, BRIDGE’s award-winning, transformational and interactive training has been designed to support businesses and nonprofits in proactively developing a diverse, integrated positive workplace environment that allows your organization to thrive.
Food sovereignty and sustainability has always been a part of BRIDGE’s programming! Starting 10 years ago, BRIDGE has had a long-term partnership with Gideons Garden (stewarded by Grace Episcopal Church at Taft Farms) for our Happiness Toolbox summer programming for youth. Over the years, Happiness Toolbox youth participants have participated in a summer Seed to Harvest planting ceremonies in the Spring and harvesting for their families, and visiting the farm. Taft Farms with Gideons Garden have also provided healthy snacks for Happiness Toolbox for a decade along with their harvests.
Our Women to Women participants and their children enjoy nutritious meals twice a month for 10+ years uninterrupted.
Donate to Support the program!
Thursday’s- Resource kit prep/office support in Lee 2-4pm
Friday’s First Congregational Church in Great Barrington
10:30-12:00 Sorting & Packing items
12:00-3:00 Finish packing, assist loading vehicles
Afternoon Deliveries (times assigned individually between 12 - 2:30) Delivery drivers can sign up to drive after earlier shifts, or to pick up items to deliver in the afternoon.
Friday’s - BRIDGE Mutual Aid Distribution pick up in Lee
New volunteers are welcome; please take a moment to complete the BRIDGE Volunteer Form if you haven't already.
SAVE THE DATES
April 2nd: Honoring Rev Ester Dozier With Clinton Church and NAACP and family
April 22nd: Celebrating Earth Day with Happiness Toolbox, Women to Women and MVP Care GB. Details to come.
May 21st: Great Barrington History Project With Delano Burrows
2022 April Engagements with BRIDGE:
The Great Barrington Project is an ongoing community art and discussion event rooted in the ideas and writings of Great Barrington native son W.E.B. Du Bois. The creator is Delano Burrowes, a writer, artist and curator and also a Great Barrington native son. The first event will, appropriately enough, be in the namesake Berkshires town.
Since the summer of 2020, this country has finally been acknowledging how entrenched in our society is the idea that Blackness is seen as a problem, and the potential consequences of that. We are all, regardless of background, subject to the same media and social influences that perpetuate this narrative. It’s crucial that we don’t look at racism and intolerance as an “over there” issue, but one that is present in our own communities, bodies and minds. How we stop this centuries old way of thinking and seeing is through awareness and sometimes uncomfortable honesty.
Throughout the week, there will be an interactive public art experience where anyone walking by is invited to sit in a chair across from a seated Black person and look in each other's eyes for 10 minutes. The hope is that in those 10 minutes, the viewer will be reminded that we all create many narratives about strangers every day, but how often do we stop, pause and truly see individuals instead of stereotypes? In a world in which smartphone disconnection is constant, 10 minutes of simple silent human connection is rare.
Those who identify as Black will also be invited to write answers to the questions
1) How does the world see me?
2) How do I see myself?
At the end of the week there will be a free public event around these ideas co-facilitated with Gwendolyn Van Sant, the CEO and co-founder of Multicultural Bridge and well known Guest speakers will discuss the topic and how it relates to Great Barrington and the world today and we will open up the microphone for local people to share for one minute each. There will also be art, music and an area for people to write how they are seen by others and how they see themselves.
The Great Barrington Project is ongoing and will travel to many communities around the country with the hopes that it can be a model for others and continue to branch out into new and unexpected directions. More information can be found on the newly launched blog, www.thegreatbarringtonproject.squarespace.com. The blog will document the creative process and also display photographs and answers to the questions. It’s also where volunteers can sign up.
The goal of The Great Barrington Project isn’t that people walk away feeling guilt or shame. It’s that we can all leave with hope that we’re doing difficult but necessary work to break down old ways of seeing to create new ones.
If you’d like to donate to The Great Barrington Project, the GoFundMe link is Here