I want to thank all the many hands that have made a beautiful Fall Season at BRIDGE. We have been around the community at BCC, Great Barrington Courthouse, Great Barrington Farmers Market, Mass MoCA Berkshire-Based gala, Great Barrington Fairgrounds with our BRIDGE Solidarity Garden and Farm with our Fish Fry and Harvest Festival and Pig Roast.
We have been launching our Trauma Survivors program and associated services. Please be in touch if you have questions about our culturally specific victim assistance.
Winter is on its way here and our mutual aid shifts from CSA shares to groceries and we could use your support! We want to thank Kate Bailey for the service she provided for this first season of land access, along with Stephanie Wright and many, many of our long-time BRIDGE participants. BRIDGE can process fuel assistance applications for BCAC in Spanish and English– let us know if you want to connect with our Engagement Team.
Also, a special thank you for raising $3110 for Gwendolyn's Birthday SJIA and Lily’s SJIA at $715! This is our annual appeal season, and we are off to a good start!
We are a collective, movement-building community across workplace and community spaces catalyzing change and integration
We want to hear from you as we plan our activities for next year!
BRIDGE is a Racial Justice & Equity Organization
Survivors of Trauma Program
BRIDGE is a Food Sovereignty and Land Access Program
A special thank you to our partner farmers this third season summer:
Sweet Freedom Farm; Three Sisters; Full Well Farm; MumBett Freedom Farm; Off the Shelf Farm and Gould Farm (and Random Harvest and BCAC and our individual donors!)
We are of course happy to launch our own Solidarity Garden and Farm at Great Barrington Fairgrounds
BRIDGE is a Training and Education Program via the New Pathways platform
Online Training: Executive Leadership Cohort 2022 (starting Nov. 15th)
Online Training: Inclusive Leadership Cohort 2023 (enrollment open Dec. 15th for Feb/March launch)
Cultural Competence Foundations (online)
Women To Women
Veterans Spotlight of Keyshuna Cole
(BRIDGE's Online Business Manager & Scheduler)
Keyshuna is a Native of Mississippi and joined the United States Army at 17. There she worked in a dual role as a Healthcare Specialist and Human Resources Specialist. In her 11 year career, she received numerous awards and achievements. Keyshuna contributes her work ethic, sense of duty, and organization to her time in the military.
Thank you, Keyshuna, for your service!
Gwendolyn and the BRIDGE Team
Dear BRIDGE community:
It has been an exciting time for us at BRIDGE as we launch in to funding our projects that are recognized culturally centric with new funding partners who are joining the choir of those embracing the equity approach with centering the experience and voices of those we intend to serve!
We are proud recipients of MOVA VOCA Funding at $200,000 for two years for victims of crime and violence that provides fresh and healthy food, access to wellness and culturally specific counseling, emergency and crisis support and more! (See announcement.)
We are also proud recipients of a Community Development Block Grant - CARES Act to build out the infrastructure of our mutual aid program at $200,000. Our mutual aid program is in its third year of consecutive universal basic income at a nominal amount that supports gas, pharmacy and grocery monthly at local vendors, emergency grant assistance when available, access to garden and farming space, business development, farm shares of fresh veggies and chicken, COVID Resources and information.
We continue to support COVID education, access to tests, PPE equipment through our HRiA grant.
Have fun scrolling through photos, our new Happiness Toolbox video and news clips that capture our last month.
At Happiness Toolbox and Real Talk with our BRIDGE youth, our youth had fun enriching opportunities advocating for and celebrating the Crown Act to prevent discrimination against African American Hair Styles as a Massachusetts policy. We celebrated with our second Mawu Hair Salon and our summer program youth reflected in interviews in the evening news!
Also, we celebrated the installation of the Elizabeth Freeman Monument and our youth voices at the table to speak of its impact! Please read the powerful essay winners on the Sheffield Historical Site! It was a privilege to contribute to the essay launch with representatives from our entire BRIDGE community of youth leaders, board, donors, volunteers and staff!
Next month keep an eye out for our Racial Justice Schedule and our Women to Women meetings. We also have a few Social Justice in Action events for you including one this Labor Day weekend!
Serving it Forward in Community,
Happiness TOolbox 2022
We seek to provide leadership opportunities for them while providing healing spaces filled with joy, peer support, and also tools/strategies to recognize their internal strengths, affirm their cultural identity and pride, and develop their own pathways to success and thriving.
BRIDGE unveils a new vision of equity, inclusion, and justice for the Berkshires | Hannah Van Sickle | Berkshire Edge
Congrats to the winners!
1st prize Anouk Bizalion
2nd prize Kota Rinaldi
3rd prize Jessica Yauri Cambi
BRIDGE Honorable Mentions & Speakers:
Armando Bautista Cruz
Jaziyah Forte (Read Her Remarks Here)
Thanks to our essay committee
Committee chair: Gwendolyn VanSant and Jesse Carpenter, Principal of Mt. Everett
Dr. Gail Bouknight-Davis
Maya Hampton VanSant
Dr. John Horan
Rev. Sloan Letman IV
Dr. Dan Nielson
Click here to read Gwendolyn's remarks
Meet Elizabeth Freeman | A play by Teresa Miller, starring Wanda Houston
The Monument Unveiling
The CROWN Act
Solidarity Garden & Farm
Despite the drought and heat, the Solidarity Garden and Farm is a beautiful and thriving place to be this summer. As summer turns towards fall, we are enjoying a wild abundance of tomatoes, potatoes, beans, gladiolus, and nicotiana. We are growing in all 27 garden beds this summer and 4 farm plots and are looking to build more beds next spring. Let us know if you're interested in getting involved! Engagement@multiculturalbridge.org
DA AND SHERIFF FORUM
Racial Justice mtg Schedule
TRJ meeting postponed to September 29th.
Race Task Force | Housing Presentation By Construct
12:30pm - 2pm
Zoom or in-Person at the Ralph Froio Center
TRJ: White Accomplices for Racial Justice Accountability Forum
Social Justice in Action
We have deployed $5800 in to our mutual aid families to use at farmers markets, farms and local vendors.
BRIDGE & BerkShares: David Fix Article–on Berkshire Edge
Women-To-Women September dates
09/01/22 | ZOOM
Topic: Domestic Violence in children
Guest: Estervina Davis
09/08/22 | ZOOM
Topic: Bicultural Benefits
Guest: Carmen Baker
09/15/22 | Zoom
Topic: Community Support Option
Guest: Maria Mejia
09/22/22 | ZOOM
Topic: Dreaming your future
Guest: Silvia Soria and Estervina Davis
I hope you have been enjoying Late Spring and Early Summer weather. We have been busy here this month. Florence and Julianne kicked off our Real Talk youth training for our summer mentors and youth workers! We covered diversity and justice issues, positive education, mindfulness, neurodevelopment, character strengths and goal setting with experts within and new to our BRIDGE ecosystem. It was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Juneteenth as an organizing member of the Collaborative with NAACP. Florence and Stephanie brought our Cultural and youth activities like Strawberry Soda and African clothed stress balls to the table!
Our Foundations Fridays are ready this Fall starting this upcoming Friday in 2 hr blocks from 9 AM -11AM. Join our volunteers, staff, BRIDGE clients and partners in this session. We ask that everyone that engages with BRIDGE prioritize their cultural competence training. You can register below and see us if you need any tuition waivers.
Please engage with our monthly racial justice meetings as we talk, learn and engage from a community and cultural humility perspective. A core practice is calling each other in to accountability around inclusive and collective leadership. There is no time like now to assess our resources of time and energy and focus. The reversal of Roe v. Wade reminds us of that. If you missed the Tyringham for Racial Justice panel with leaders, Shirley Edgerton, Dennis Powell, Leticia Haynes and AJ Enchill, Please find my moderator remarks here and the article here.
Many of you know BRIDGE has been working at the intersection of gender and race issues crossing climate resilience and COVID. We are happy to announce a two year grant with MOVA to increase our capacity to meet the needs of women facing violence at all levels (workplace, race-based & domestic) and we also continue to educate around COVID awareness for all of our vulnerable communities.
Lastly, we are in year 3 of mutual aid. Please know we have secured land access for food sovereignty and economic stability for historically marginalized or vulnerable groups with limited or no access to land. We have partnered with World Farmers and Great Barrington Fairgrounds and are offering up the Solidarity Farm as land for community members to make use of it with TA in starting a business selling crops or feeding their communities. In addition we have raised beds in our community garden and we will welcome you to celebrate in the Fall what we have built in our Solidarity Garden space at the Fairgrounds! So many hands and farmers across generations have made this possible! Keep an eye out in our New Pathways portal and our social media channels as we begin to shout out our partners and share progress. Already we are harvesting green beans, chamomile, mustard greens, collard greens, and radishes!
In hope and solidarity,
EXECUTIVE IDEA LEADERSHIP TRAINING
Hello BRIDGE staff, board families, youth leaders,
BRIDGE has been partnered with Town of Great Barrington (and the State) on community engagement and cultural awareness/equity and inclusion as it relates to Climate Action and resilience for Vulnerable Populations.
We need your voices here. Stipends are available if you send us a receipt/confirmation of attendance and/or the survey. Many of you participated in our GB focus groups on vulnerable communities and climate change and food sovereignty. Now the State wants to hear our voices and have us join in discussion.
Please attend a session and do a survey and let BRIDGE know (firstname.lastname@example.org) and also let them know you heard about it from BRIDGE. Participation stipends available.
We have to take care of our Earth and our communities.
Details below —
You are invited to join a statewide conversation on how the impacts of climate change affect you and your community. This conversation will inform the 2022 Massachusetts Climate Change Assessment and builds on the meetings that the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs held in March. We are seeking your input to prioritize climate impacts based on your experiences and concerns for the future.
There are two ways to participate:
During the meeting we will provide an update on the priority climate impacts agreed upon by public and state government stakeholders to be assessed in this study, and then hear your experiences and concerns. An agenda is provided below. Due to COVID safety considerations, the conversations will be held via Zoom. A call-in number will also be provided (if needed).
Registration and Accessibility. Once you sign up, you will receive an email confirming your registration. During registration, please request reasonable accommodations for a disability or interpreter services in a language other than English, so that you can participate in the conversation. You must make interpretation requests at least 48 hours before the session you plan to attend. We will do our best to accommodate these needs to allow community members to participate as fully as possible.
Questions. Please contact Carolyn Meklenburg (email@example.com) or Hannah Stroud (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions about the agenda or logistics.
We hope you will consider participating!
Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program Regional Coordinator
MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Director of Climate Adaptation and Resilience
MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Hello BRIDGE Family,
We are inviting you and your family to march in the streets of DC to fight against poverty and low wages in America. The march will be held on June 18, 2022, there will be buses (free of charge) to take families or anyone interested in being a part of this march to DC. Children, 5-14 years of age are welcome however they must be accompanied by a guardian who will be responsible for them. You will also need proof of vaccination to enter the bus and must wear a mask at all times unless you are eating. Seats are very limited so if you are interested please sign up with the link below ASAP. We will need to know who is attending by June 15, 2022.
The pickup location for the bus will be at 1 Columbus Ave in Pittsfield (Greyhound Bus Terminal). The bus will leave Pittsfield on June 18th at 12:39 AM and arrive in Washington DC at 8:30 AM. We are expecting to arrive back in Pittsfield by 11:35 PM.
Please bring provisions; It will be hot in WashingtonDC, Sunscreen, Water
Sign up for the Pittsfield bus at https://rally.co/booking/115578/1698/trips To access the no-costs seats, after choosing "add 1 ride", then clicking either creating an account or "checkout as a guest", you'll see "do you have a promo code?" appear in the middle left of the page. There you can enter PPCMASS100, which will reduce the total owed to $0.
Stipends for food will be provided and the bus will be stopping at an eating establishment along the way, both going to Washington, DC, and returning to Pittsfield
There will be tents for people to take a rest
There will be a Medical Tent available - We Got This
EMTs and Physicians will be nearby
About the Poor People's Campaign March:
In 1968, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others called for a “revolution of values” in America. They sought to build a broad, fusion movement that could unite poor and impacted communities across the country. Their name was a direct cry from the underside of history: The Poor People’s Campaign.
Today, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival has picked up this unfinished work. From Alaska to Arkansas, the Bronx to the border, people are coming together to confront the interlocking evils of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the war economy, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. We understand that as a nation we are at a critical juncture that we need a movement that will shift the moral narrative, impact policies and elections at every level of government, and build lasting power for poor and impacted people. This march is not a celebration but to mourn and fight for people suffering from the effects of poverty and low wages in America.
Please fill out this link if you are attending the trip.
Join us for Happiness Toolbox this Summer.
For More Information:
Disease, illnesses, and pandemics have been prevalent since the beginning of time.
They become more prevalent with larger cities, larger population, and increased global trade.
Watch this YouTube link https://youtu.be/_uL0ZgV6POc that breaks down the history of pandemics
This has been an incredibly difficult time in our country given incidents like the Black community members we lost in Buffalo, NY and the mostly Latino children we lost in Uvalde, TX following the devastation in the Ukraine and so so many other parts of our country and our world.
At our grassroots, we are a community organization. So I can focus BRIDGE and our team's resources here, our sphere of influence here. We invite you to join us because the ripples of impact can be vast. This is what change looks like, it can be painful. It will be messy. Collective, intentional work can be positive. Incremental changes and large systemic disruption is necessary so there is a role for each and every one of us.
BRIDGE has the specific honor, commitment and obligation of working on highlighting public health issues. We worked at lifting this up in partnership with UMASS Western Mass Public Health Equity Network in our Mosaic project focused on systemic racialized disparities and also amplifying Black Voices in partnering with locally born Brooklyn artist Delano Burrowes in his Great Barrington Project.
We are stewarding land access and mutual aid for our most vulnerable populations who are our populations full of wisdom who believe and practice life in community, sovereignty and justice. We have land, gardens and shares and we are in open enrollment now.
We are working on COVID Hesitancy with an HRiA grant because the education is necessary! The vigilance is still necessary. We are still in a pandemic. Everyone's health is in each other's hands. Period. Be Responsible. Understand science is catching up ( we couldn't plan for this) so take good care as you would a loved one with everyone in your communities. Mask, social distance, drink water, wash your hands, be outside when you can.
We are focused on places in our hometowns that are welcoming, cooling and in our Great Barrington MVP Action Climate Action and Resilience Grant.
So, I invite everyone to join BRIDGE in an effort, follow us on social media, and encourage everyone to take an extra moment to be kind, to see one another, and to listen. And then roll up your sleeves to get to work! Together.
It was powerful to sit in a group breathing this past Sunday. Taking a collective inhale, exhale and sigh together. My best advice is to continue to find those quiet moments too. Listen deeply. Sit Still. and then Activate!
Gwendolyn and the BRIDGE team
Some upcoming events to look out for:
Come see us at the Berkshire Pride Festival and Parade!
And afterwards, join us at the Berkshire Pride Tea Dance
Happiness Toolbox Summer Program
Thank you all for being in community and don't forget to join our New Pathways Virtual Learning Hub!
IDEA TRAINING Executive Leadership
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aaron Gouveia | Trustees PR Director| 857.328.0520 | email@example.com
Trustees brings Pride events to Naumkeag on June 5th
STOCKBRIDGE, MA (May 24, 2022) – With generous sponsorship from Blue Q, and in partnership with the Berkshire Stonewall Community Coalition, Naumkeag and The Trustees will hold a day of Pride activities on Sunday, June 5th, welcoming the LGTBQIA+ community and their allies to the historic home and gardens in Stockbridge.
The day will kick off with the “Berkshire Pride Family Picnic” with one show 10am – 12:30pm and a second show from 12:30 – 3pm, where families are invited to picnic on the grounds which will be decorated for Pride. Activities will include drag performances, games, and a kids’ cabaret sing-along, all of which will be age appropriate for children, yet fun for adults. Biggin’s Diggins BBQ will be on-site with its food truck serving throughout the day with gluten-free and vegetarian options available.
At 4pm, Naumkeag will welcome DJ RuBot of Occupy the Disco, fresh from his Paradisco residency at LeBain at the Standard Highline in New York City, to host the first ever Berkshire Pride Tea Dance. This event will be 18 and over and will also include food provided by Biggin’s Diggins BBQ, plus full beverage services which will require identification for purchasing alcoholic beverages. While there will be limited parking on-site at Naumkeag, there will also be a free shuttle that will run from the public parking lot on 1st Street in Pittsfield, leaving at 3:30pm and then departing Naumkeag again at 7:15pm. Parking in Pittsfield will be free of charge.
Tickets for the event can be purchased at thetrustees.org/naumkeag. Pride Family Picnic tickets are $17 for adults and $5 for children. Tea Dance tickets are $27 per person, with a $10 parking pass needed per car for on-site parking at Naumkeag. Guests are encouraged to carpool whenever possible or to please use the free shuttle provided to and from Pittsfield. Participants to both events can also purchase a $15 meal ticket in advance which will cover the cost of a main dish and two sides from Biggin’s Diggins BBQ. Food can also be purchased ala carte on site on the day of the event.
All proceeds from both the Berkshire Pride Family Picnic and Tea Dance will go to support Berkshire Stonewall Community Coalition, Berkshire Pride, and the Berkshire Pride Parade. For financial assistance to attend either event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Trustees is ensuring our properties are welcoming, accessible, and inclusive places where everyone can feel a sense of belonging this June, and every other month as well. Celebrating Pride month provides an opportunity to invite and welcome all members of the LGBTQ+ community onto our properties and engagement events, which can be viewed here: thetrustees.org/program/lgbtq-events/.
About The Trustees
Founded by landscape architect Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees has, for more than 130 years, been a catalyst for important ideas, endeavors, and progress in Massachusetts. As a steward of distinctive and dynamic places of both historic and cultural value, The Trustees is the nation’s first preservation and conservation organization, and its landscapes and landmarks continue to inspire discussion, innovation, and action today as they did in the past. We are a nonprofit, supported by members, friends and donors and our 123 sites are destinations for residents, members, and visitors alike, welcoming millions of guests annually. thetrustees.org.
Dear BRIDGE community:
We are enjoying the start to Spring and have had some impactful events this year so far. Just yesterday we had an event that integrated Climate Resilience, Food Sovereignty and Land Access and Public Health in collaboration with the Public Health Institute in Giggle Park in the Town of Great Barrington. We are proud of co-hosting the film, Mosaic, that looked at the intersection of systemic racism and public health and having some of our BRIDGE community members represented.
We hope you have engaged in our social media campaign on Facebook and Instagram (@bridge413) with our insights on Climate Action with the Town of Great Barrington MVP Action, Grant CARE GB. Yesterday we received a new parks brochure and these past weeks the town launched a website about the parks. Our collaboration wanted to highlight open spaces that are welcoming and hubs for cooling on hot days and community year round! Thank you to our BRIDGE youth, Women to Women and Racial Justice participants for participating and sharing your voices! It made a difference and has ripples of positive impact.
Thanks to our partners, CHP, with free take home tests and available vaccines, Greylock Federal Credit Union with impact reports and books for kids and UMASS Western Mass Public Health Equity Network with their powerful message of recognizing community as public health experts in their own lives. As always the Mahaiwe was a gracious partner. To read about the event, read here. The film will be available soon through the network to share. Email us for more details.
Thank you all for being in community and don't forget to join our New Pathways Virtual Learning Hub.
We would love our BRIDGE community to know that we have opened up our Solidarity Gardens at the Great Barrington Fairgrounds in collaboration with World Farmers. We are so glad to reach across the state and in our region in equitable food access and sovereignty with conversations and actions in land access live and growing!
Have a beautiful weekend and Happy Mother’s Day!
IDEA Training for Executive Leadership: New Training offering for BRIDGE clients, members, and partners!
We begin with a refresher on core BRIDGE courses in Cultural humility, bias, Equity and systems of oppression followed by a 3-part IDEA training focused on organizational leadership in Equity and Inclusion with a gender, race and poverty analysis. We center on organizational strengths building capacity and strategy for leaders, administrators and decision-makers in their respective coalitions, organizations and corporations. This 2022 training session is guided by best practices in justice and equity as well as cultural competence. Over the sessions, we are building cross-sector and interdepartmental connections speaking to accountability in a confidential learning environment. As you look to engage successfully with vendors, partners, and new employees of underrepresented groups in your workplace or sector, this will be a useful tool and continued resource hub.
If you would like to participate, please email Registration@Multiculturalbridge.org with the subject line: RSVP for IDEA Training for Executive Leadership.
2022 May Engagements with BRIDGE:
New volunteers are welcome; please take a moment to complete the BRIDGE Volunteer Form if you haven't already.
Community Celebration with Climate, Food And Public Health Precedes Public Health Documentary Mosaic Film Debut on May 5, 2022
Transportation Available! Contact us email@example.com
Join Women to Women, TRJ, UMASS Public Health and Town of Great Barrington
4-6 @Giggle Park
4:00-4:30 Talk to World Farmers Market about BRIDGE Solidarity Community Garden and Farm Spaces at GB Fairgrounds
4:30-5:45 Massachusetts Farmland Action listening session at Giggle Park with World Farmers Market and BRIDGE
Celebrate Cinco de mayo with BRIDGE Women to Women and Youth Leaders: tamales, gelatinas de la bandera
Cannolis by Ariane Blanchard's Delights
6 PM Mosaic Screening (Featured Presentation with UMASS Public Health Institute)
Cinco De Mayo song, interactive folkloric dance, cultural lesson with Rosa Ipuz, Gabriela Cruz and Lesleye Bautista Cruz
Mosaic Film Screening
Panel Respondents: Jessica Collins Director of PHI, Dr. Setti of CHP, Colin Adams of BCC and BRIDGE Race Task Force, and Sasha jimenez, Mosaic film Committee and Planned Parenthood
Featured Film Speakers: Arthur Wright with companion Stephanie Wright and Florence Afanukoe with peer/colleague Katherine Blay Tandoh
It is that time of year when our BRIDGE team is taking a pause. Our offices are closed and services are paused this week so that our staff/team can restore, reset and rest.
We hope you enjoy this Spring and all of the holidays and new beginnings you celebrate with your loved ones and community.
Please see below for some upcoming events and important days!
BRIDGE is celebrating the Earth by connecting our work to create a healthy, thriving community.
The Western Massachusetts Health Equity Network Presents: Mosaic: Film, Conversation and Community
Thursday, May 5th at 6pm
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.
Join as these questions and more are explored in an open, supportive, creative environment.
4-6 PM at Giggle Park behind Town Hall across from Mahaiwe Theatre – join in the CARE GB project where we offer materials for self-guided tours of the Town Parks and Du Bois landmarks.
5 PM Resource Fair in Mahaiwe Theatre Lobby. CHP joins us with public health messages. Greylock joins us with their Impact Report on Community Development. Join BRIDGE as we celebrate Cinco De Mayo with cultural songs, cuisine and dance. Come celebrate with us and learn what it means to steward a welcoming, healthy, diverse community and planet together in honor of Earth Day and our diverse communities.