You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone — any person or any force — dampen, dim or diminish your light … Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won."
Dear BRIDGE community:
We just had a fantastic time with 11th annual Happiness Toolbox Program in a hybrid model of pre-recorded, interactive Zoom and five socially distanced excursions. Thank you to our youth leaders for mentoring, teaching and coordinating alongside the BRIDGE staff! Teamwork! Thanks to our BRIDGE educators and our friends far and near—we had lessons in bookmaking, clowning with DRIVE forward, Character Strengths, Beekeeping, Coding, Sewing, Drawing, Barn Sessions with Solstice, HANDLE, Mindfulness & Growth Mindset, Music with Jim and Otha and Berkshire Art and Cultural History. Our field trips were to Chesterwood, BNRC Thomas and Palmer Brook Reserve and Gideons Garden at Taft Farms and Woven Roots Farm! Enjoy some of the photos here!
Thank you to our 2020 sponsors, Lennox Foundation, Greylock Federal Credit Union, and Grace Church (thanks to Rena Zurovsky for Chesterwood books for HT students.) The abundant joy and connection among the participants and educators was unforgettable!
Learn more about our pedadogy behind Happiness Toolbox here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-J903ic8AE&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3cFKnoSj7XPU560mSPoLZbzHAA5Gb-hu360l9Jz-auOLOP-arUG4-fxWs
Enjoy some of the virtual Happiness Toolbox lessons here. Scroll through the pages of lessons to revisit with young ones in your life! You can start here: https://www.multiculturalbridge.org/happiness-toolbox-sessions/ht2020-drive-forward-productions-on-bravery-and-creativity
-- Keep an eye out on this page as we learn from some of our youth participants about Science, Cooking and more with more posts!
Also, we want you to know that this weekend Big Elm Brewery launched a new Chocolate Coffee Stout as a part of the national Black is Beautiful Campaign and the proceeds come directly to BRIDGE! These funds support our Towards Racial Justice and Equity Programs & Campaigns in the Berkshires and our Food Sovereignty and Solidarity program feeding 90+ families weekly for 24 weeks! Read more about the Food Sovereignty Program in September issue of Berkshire Trade and Commerce. Read here: http://www.btaconline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/September-2020-BTAC.pdf
"We must work together to ensure the equitable distribution of wealth, opportunity, and power in our society.” – NELSON MANDELA
Tomorrow Aug. 31st at 8:30 AM, in partnership with Central Berkshire Regional School District, we welcome Dr. Beverly Tatum to the Berkshires for a New Pathways Lab! Be sure you register on zoom or we will broadcast on Facebook Live! We already have over 175 participants to benefit from Dr. Tatum’s wisdom on Racial Identity Development and Education as we re-enter this school year in a time of reflection on the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter uprising, and the need for social emotional support of ALL students facing the race crisis of the 21st century. We are looking forward to the discussions, strategy development and also the book study with Dr. Tatum. Thank you to Williams College Davis Center, Berkshire Money Management and Berkshire United Way and North Adams Public Schools via Stacey Parsons for joining CBRSD and BRIDGE as co-sponsors.
Looking ahead in September, BRIDGE has accepted the honor of receiving 1 of 3 of MCLA’s 125th anniversary Presidential medallions in recognition of our decade of partnership with MCLA Thomas Alexander and Campus Conversations on Race, hosting interns, stewarding Greylock Teach Fellows partnership among Pittsfield Public Schools, Greylock Federal Credit Union and BRIDGE and benefitting from the expertise of the MCLA staff and faculty serving on the BRIDGE board and staff ( thank you Dr. Ingrid Castro, Dr. Frances Jones Sneed and Dr. Emily Williams.) We are grateful to have a recent alumna, Don’Jea Smith, on our team right now who was former chair of the Black Student Union at MCLA and a student activist herself. We hosted interns through CCoR in Race Dialogues with Race: the Power of an Illusion and Not in Our County Campaigns!. We have provided training for MCLAs Departments of Admissions, Financial Aid and provided coaching and education for MCLA Faculty. Most recently we provided training for MCLA students with WAM Theatre on Microaggressions in Education. Most relevant is the partnership on the Equity and Inclusion Conference of 2019 with Dr. Williams and launch of the Arts and Humanities Institute with Dr. Lisa Donavan also in 2019.
Please join us for the event on September 29th at 4 PM as MCLA renews its commitment to justice and equity and striving for excellence, safety and thriving for all in education.
On September 3 at 6 PM please come to discuss and vote on the renaming of the middle school of Berkshire Hills Regional School District after Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois! BRIDGE activist and allies have been supporting Great Barrington’s efforts to honor Du Bois’ Legacy and are thrilled after our 2019 campaign that we have full school committee and Selectboard endorsements as well as the support for this important forum from all voting residents of Stockbridge, West Stockbridge and Great Barrington! Learn more on interview with WAMC here: https://www.wamc.org/post/web-du-bois-legacy-committee-member-previews-vote-rename-school-after-civil-rights-icon
"The function of the university is not simply to teach breadwinning, or to furnish teachers for the public schools, or to be a centre of polite society; it is, above all, to be the organ of that fine adjustment between real life and the growing knowledge of life, an adjustment which forms the secret of civilization.” – W. E. B. Du Bois
We are so happy to have Not in Our County -- Berkshire adopted by Williamstown and we now have an accountability structure to activate and engage all residents in the safety of the County! Way to Go Williamstown! Join the BRIDGE Race Task Force if you want to advance or renew these commitments to the county and national campaign for your town!
CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR FULL SEPTEMBER CALENDAR OF EVENTS
A heartfelt shoutout of gratitude to the many many volunteers that make all of this happen! Together we win the fight for justice and equity!
This has been another hard week in our country. Please take a moment of silence to review your stop hate pledge and commitment.
Take a deep look at where you can intervene on a personal, family, community and workplace level to disrupt violence, ambivalence, hatred and ignorance at its roots. Do it in the honor of Mr. Jacob Blake and his children. Join me to send up prayers for his family and the many terrorized by the legacy of race and racism in this country. We must collectively stomp out ignorance and fear.
Make sure your Vote counts this week—and straight in to November!
At BRIDGE, we will continue to fight as we have for 13 years without stop but as a staff complete and full with intersecting identities as Black, gender diverse and immigrant folks, we feel this pain intensely. First and foremost, we are committed, principled and yes (!) we are exhausted. Despite that, we show up with energy, love, optimism, hope and generosity each day! Please join us in the fight for safety and justice! We all deserve an abundance of being valued, being safe and being heard. And it requires steadfast commitment, unrest and discomfort until change happens! All of our families deserve to thrive in generational health and all of our aspirations. How will you engage in the struggle together towards equity and peace?
"Nothing can stop the power of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society. Why? Because human beings are the most dynamic link to the divine on this planet." ― John Lewis on political change & activism in Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change
Your donations are needed and welcome. We have raised and put back in the hands of Black and Brown families alongside economically vulnerable families in excess of $100,000 of funds and in- kind contributions over the last 5 months in our mutual aid network here in the Berkshires. The needs are food, medical bills, rent, school supplies, car insurance, tuition, garbage removal, technological access for work and school, etc. due to the adverse impact of COVID-19. Those dollars represent your donations that are supporting our constituents & families. We will continue to steward your support as directly as possible. So please continue to give and direct your networks to our programs. And thank you! 🤎💯❣️
Please contact us if you are interested in making sustaining pledges monthly or would like to make a designated contribution. You can write to Donations@multiculturalbridge.org or make your contribution here: https://www.multiculturalbridge.org/ways-to-give.html
In gratitude - serving justice forward,
Gwendolyn + the BRIDGE team
“You often say, ‘I would give, but only to the deserving.’ The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture. They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.” —Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet