“This is how we will survive and hold together. It will work. I don't know how long it will last, but for now, it will work.” ~Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower
Dear BRIDGE Community:
As we all have been learning and preparing our community and families to respond to the pandemic, COVID-19, I can’t help reflect and remind us that we have this opportunity right now where we have to show real care and compassion in our community.
“Staying home” may be daunting for some. It may mean loss of wages/income, loss of community, loss of childcare and/or loss of family visits. For some it may be a matter of life and death if YOU decide to stay home. It is not an act of fear to self-quarantine if you have the privilege to do so, it may mean the ultimate act of kindness and care. Those of us that have to go out for the various reasons, to keep our communities and families operating and running, to care for those who need care and/or to meet essential needs we have to show care and embodied attention we may have been less attentive to. All of these things are learning opportunities for us. It is an opportunity for mindfulness. We touch our face 350 times a day by habit so try to have a tissue or kerchief on hand. Use soap and water to wash hands. Sanitize keyboards, handles and door knobs regularly.
Some of our colleagues invited me to share the message that we should not only be sending love to those worried about safety and security -- whether it be financial, emotional, psychological and/or otherwise health-related --but just as much we should challenge ourselves to be sending love to COVID-19. (That’s a twist, right?) We are listening to and learning from her as much we are meant to do the same from our Mother Earth and her lessons. Honor our humanity, honor our connectedness and honor our planet. We are all each other’s keeper.
In wishing us all well-being, I have included helpful links below that we have reviewed with members of our BRIDGE family that work in community health and public health as professionals on a local and national level as well as other trusted advisors. Dr. Setti as an MD in community health who serves on our board and Lily Swartz as a trusted advisor in public health communications have been a major support to our operations team. I hope these articles are ones that help you have conversations with family, colleagues and community members of all ages which in turn can help you prepare well. Several of these update regularly!
National and Massachusetts news and updated on COVID-19:
Coronavirus Resources for understanding:
Reading with an impact and equity analysis:
For youth and family conversations:
on a business note
As many of you have noted, we have postponed most large convenings that we have been a part of as host, co-host or have organized. Most near future meetings we will be conducting remotely at BRIDGE per Massachusetts and Berkshire public health guidelines.
Shortly, our trainings will be available remotely accompanied by video chats and webinars. Next week, I will do my fourth Twitter Chat on having an equity and privilege analysis on COVID-19 as we take care of ourselves, our families and each other in community. Stay tuned for more opportunities to engage with BRIDGE.
We are continuing with the ACLU - MA and community leaders convening over Zoom on Tuesday for the program What A Difference A DA makes. (March 17th!) Also we plan to move ahead with future programming as much as we can thinking about access for our stakeholders.
IDEA Institute launches at BRIDGE. (Thanks to support of Moonlight Mile Family Fund and our Moonlight Mile Circle along with the pending Lennox Foundation support, we are finally here!)
Our train-the-trainer program is launching its pilot in April. We are planning on launching in person if possible but if not we will be broadcasting and recording the session for accessibility. The program will run for 20 hrs in April and 20 hrs in May. All interests in taking our Cultural Competence Foundations core training programs are welcome to join us in April. Please find the links here: IDEA Institute: Cultural Competence Foundations Community (Track 1) Course: runs April 17-19th (20 hrs.) and the pilot train-the-trainer is for BRIDGE staff and our business members of the Impact and Changemaker Circles as we build capacity in our networks! the IDEA Institute: Train-the-Trainer (Track 2) Course - 40 hrs: dates are April 16-19th and May 21-24th. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries.
We have some exciting staff transitions taking place right now! As you know Dr. Williams served as our Senior Education and Engagement Director (SEED.) She has been recruited for the University of Pittsburgh as the Vice President of Academic Affairs and will stay on remotely as our Special Projects Director with occasional visits and projects in the Berkshires over this year and beyond. We had a wonderful year of collaborating with Dr. Emily Williams internally and have benefited greatly from her professionalism and expertise. We have several projects underway and are excited to continue to work together in the future. Silvia Soria has served as our bilingual facilitator and is moving in to the Women to Women Coordinator role as programs and opportunities grow for that program. Elie Yeo has been serving as our Business and Finance Fellow and is now officially a part of our staff as our Business and Finance Coordinator.
Here is another reflection for our looking ahead that I appreciated:
“Mercury retrograde, in general, is great for the re-’s: redo, revise, revisit, rethink, refocus, etc. Release and revamp!” And also as our newest board member reminded us on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day that we have another set of “re-s”, Rev. Sloan Letman IV calls us to take note: it is time to “renew, (re)build and restore!”
On a community note - if you can help (leverage your resources for others, keep reading!)
We are connected to families facing delayed seasonal jobs already, missing work due to no childcare or missing paid programing. We have several staff that double as caregivers for their elder parents or family members that are auto immune compromised as many of our neighbors do. We are looking to organize resources to support these families.
If you can make a donation, please mark it COVID-19: W2W for immigrant women and families, COVID-19: TRJ&E for Racial justice for any racial equity issues attached to this virus or COVID-19: HT for our Happiness Toolbox Families or in the memo/comments on PayPal please write COVID-19 Aide. And please send us an email at email@example.com letting us know you have done so and how you would like your support applied. Also, BRIDGE itself could use support to help our team working remotely with equipment and technology enhancements. Let us know if you can help! COVID-19: Capacity. You can contact us here: https://www.multiculturalbridge.org/support-us.html.
Additionally, we may need support for individuals and families that need food/supplies picked up and dropped off. Please email Rsvp@multiculturalbridge.org if you can support food & supply delivery. In the title of the email, please include the words Rideshare: Meals/Supplies. We are connected to our local Emergency Preparedness teams and networked across the county and so, if there are needs you do not see here, please let us know and we can connect you to the right resources.
"Persisting isn't always safe, but it's often necessary….We persist. This is our place, no matter what." ~Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower
And finally I leave you with one of my favorite Kripalu Let Your Yoga Dance (LYYD) and Certificate in Positive Psychology (CIPP) treasures, this metta of lovingkindness:
May I be filled with lovingkindness.
May I be safe from inner and outer dangers.
May I be well in body and mind.
May I be at ease and happy.
May you be filled with lovingkindness.
May you be safe from inner and outer dangers.
May you be well in body and mind.
May you be at ease and happy. ~ Lovingkindness meditation
Stay well- I have been enjoying fire cider shots and about to make my own this week!
"We can get ready. That's what we've got to do now. Get ready for what's going to happen, get ready to survive it, get ready to make a life afterward. Get focused on arranging to survive...!" ~Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower
Dear BRIDGE Supporters,
First, we want to thank our clients, partners, sponsors, volunteers and board members for supporting our organization and our racial justice campaigns! Without you, we could not provide education and support the way we have!
“As you live, believe in Life! Always human beings will live and progress to greater, broader and fuller life.” says Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois.
“Life’s most persistent question is what are you doing for others,” reminds Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We want to share the videos and articles regarding the Town’s third annual W.E.B. Du Bois Legacy Festival. It is a result of decades of tireless work to honor our Berkshire native activist and scholar! Du Bois was the first Black man to receive a PhD from Harvard and initiated so many more civil rights actions. Great Barrington had a weekend Festival with guests from Atlanta, St. Croix and New Jersey join us with Dr. Du Bois’ great-grandson Jeffrey Peck. BRIDGE was a proud sponsor and partner and we are grateful to our network of volunteers for helping the Festival be a success! Thank you to Dr. Emily Williams, BRIDGE Senior Education and Engagement Director, and Town of Great Barrington Du Bois Legacy Committee member for inviting her colleagues to lift up the enduring legacy of Dr. Du Bois!
We gave out 200+ copies of Souls of Black Folk with the introduction by Ibram Kendi for the 150th-anniversary edition. And thank you to Donna Gouger and Dr. MaryNell Morgan for joining Bob Paynter and our Legacy Committee for a musical book club uplifting Dr. Du Bois!
See selected news coverage:
Tanekwah Hinds, Racial Justice Community Advocate at the ACLU of Massachusetts, works with Rahsaan Hall, the Director of the Racial Justice Program, to create partnerships and advocacy opportunities for communities of color. Their campaign What a Difference a DA Makes is a public education campaign that seeks to highlight the key role of district attorneys in criminal justice reform. Through this campaign, ACLU is organizing community convenings across the state to gather community leaders who support individuals disproportionately affected by the criminal legal system.
The purpose of the event is to provide a space for leaders to network, identify challenges of their respective communities, and create actionable steps for District Attorney accountability and public education. BRIDGE and the Race Task Force are thrilled to partner and to co-organize the Berkshire County Community Convening on March 17 6-8pm at the Berkshire Athenaeum, 1 Wendell Avenue, Pittsfield, MA 01201.
March 14th, join Yuyi Morales at Norman Rockwell Museum for a fun afternoon with BRIDGE and other Berkshire residents.
We are happy to host the IDEA Institute @ BRIDGE for our Train-the-Trainer in Cultural Competence and Facilitation. If you have benefited from BRIDGE training and would like to share that experience with your workplace and communities and/or join the BRIDGE facilitation team, fill out this application here. And save the dates!
Member Spotlight: Jacobs Pillow
We want to thank Jacob's Pillow for partnering with BRIDGE for the Town of Great Barrington Du Bois Festival. Between Me and the Other World captured Du Bois double consciousness. We were joined by activists and scholars and hundreds of Berkshire residents for dance and dialogue over the Du Bois Legacy Festival due to a strong partnership with the Pillow and a generous sponsorship from Berkshire Bank Foundation.
W. E. B. Du Bois: An Enduring Educational Legacy
A Birthday Festival Weekend, February 22-23, 2020
February 1-29, 2020 Mason Library hosts Du Bois Center exhibit
#duboislegacy, #duboislegacygb, #dubois150th, #soulsofblackfolk, #townofgb, #webdubois
Saturday, February 22, 2020 First Congregational Church, Great Barrington
10:30 - 12:30 Du Bois Legacy Tour: Mason Library Talk, W. E. B. Du Bois: An Enduring Educational Legacy, Randy Weinstein, Barbara Dean, and Leah Reed followed by Great Barrington Du Bois Legacy Walk (Du Bois Center, Family Graveyard Site and Du Bois Boyhood Site)
1:30-4:30pm “The Souls of Black Folk”: Celebrating the Songs, Poems, and Text Drawn from W. E. B. Du Bois, “Poems and Music” from The Souls of Black Folk, 1903 Community Book Club & Discussion, The Souls of Black Folk with Gwendolyn VanSant, Stephanie Wright, Leah Reed, Barbara Dean and Sara Mugridge with Musical accompaniment by Donna Gouger, Bob Paynter with Dr. MaryNell Morgan
Performance Installation of Between me and the other world by Zaccho Dance TheatreThe McConnell Theater at the Daniel Arts Center, Bard College at Simon’s Rock6-6:45pm Pre-Show Panel Discussion with Joanna Haigood and MaryNell Morgan, PhD, Frances Jones Sneed, PhD, Whitney Battle Baptiste, PhD and Dennis Powell. moderated by Gwendolyn VanSant
7-9:30pm Between me and the other world, An immersive performance installation by Zaccho Dance Theatre, choreographed by Joanna Haigood, exploring W. E. B. Du Bois’ seminal work The Souls of Black Folk.
7:30-10:30pm Community Dialogue & Reflections curated and hosted by Joanna Haigood with community partners from Jacobs Pillow, Du Bois Legacy Committee and BRIDGE
Sunday, February 23, 2020, First Congregational Church, Great BarringtonThe W. E. B. Du Bois Legacy Festival Birthday Program10:30 am “Eyewitness to History” Rev. Sloan Letman IV (guest pastor) with the presiding Rev. Tara Tetzlaff, A Story for All God's Children: "Learning the Truth"
12:00 pm First Congregational Church Fellowship with Town of Great Barrington Du Bois Legacy Committee, Macedonia Baptist Church and BRIDGE and Festival guests
1:30 Welcome Town of Great Barrington Selectboard with Selectboard Member, Ed Abrahams and Legacy Committee Vice Chair, Gwendolyn VanSant
Town of Great Barrington W. E. B. Du Bois Legacy Committee Introductions: Stephanie Wright
Prayer & Blessing: Rev. Sloan Letman IV
On Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois: Randy Weinstein, Chair of Legacy Committee with Jeffrey Peck, Du Bois Family representative
Song & Message: Rev. Joallen Forte, Macedonia Baptist Church
2:00 W. E. B. Du Bois Legacy Lecture Series Presentations: “The Enduring Educational Legacy of W. E. B. Du Bois”
Dr. Emily Allen Williams, Du Bois Legacy Committee Member and Lecture Series Curator
“W. E. B. Du Bois – “The Atlanta University Years”
Speaker: Dr. Danille Taylor, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Clark Atlanta University
“The Social Theory of W. E. B. Du Bois on Race and Slavery in America”Speaker: Dr. Deirdre Foreman, Associate Director, Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF), Ramapo College of New Jersey
“Creating the Statue of W. E. B. Du Bois at Clark Atlanta University and Recent Historical Sculptures”Speaker: Professor Ayokunle Odeleye, Professor of Art and Sculptor, Kennesaw State University and Odeleye Sculpture Studios
“Double Consciousness and Cultural Creatives: 2020 Vision in the Works of W. E. B. Du Bois and Shirley Graham Du Bois”Speaker: Dr. Chenzira Davis-Kahina, Director, Virgin Islands Caribbean Cultural Center (VICCC), University of the Virgin Islands
Panel Discussion and Q&A moderated by Dr. Karl Johnson, Professor of African American Cultural Studies, Ramapo College of New Jersey
4:00 Community Reflections led by Leah Reed & Gwendolyn VanSant
Today’s program presented in partnership with Jacobs Pillow, BRIDGE, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Du Bois Center of Great Barrington, First Congregational Church, Macedonia Baptist Church, and NAACP Berkshire County Branch
Sponsors: Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, BRIDGE, Jacob’s Pillow, Berkshire Bank Foundation, UMASS Libraries- Du Bois Center and Greylock Federal Credit Union
Program ends at 4:30
Thank you Dinner for Festival Guests at Pleasant & Main for Community Sponsors & Partners at 5:30 ( RSVP required. $30/person)
Hi BRIDGE family and Happy New Year once again,
We have had a wonderful start to the year! We will share some January highlights and give you a few sneak peaks on projects and events to come! We appreciate your being a part of our BRIDGE community! With you, we met our fundraising goals and it has allowed us to serve over 50 families throughout our year of training and community organizing on the front end. Behind the scenes, our staff works hard so we can support communities and individuals often overlooked. We offer community, financial assistance, tools to study or work more efficiently, and several other access points for peace, thriving and success! Our work is quiet, steady and persistent and we couldn’t do it without a BRIDGE community of supporters that contribute time, heart and treasure! Thank you for believing in us!
"The moment we choose to love we begin to move against domination, against oppression. The moment we choose to love we begin to move towards freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others." ~ Bell Hooks
Racial justice and equity
This month we kicked off the year with a TRJ meeting reflecting on our caucus work in affinity groups and what 2020 calls for us to do. We identified and solidified our campaigns and unpacked our accountability towards racial justice and equity. At the Race Task Force January table, we committed our time to hearing about the Census 2020, the ways in which accessibility has been addressed and also what the outcomes and arc of change has been. The representative was responsive to culturally sensitive questions and has followed up with several subsequent meetings, requests and conversations. Many thanks to Mark Sebastiano and Barbara Mahoney for setting this up. Our Race Task Force also presented the idea of working on racial disparities in HomeOwnership as a campaign this year and we are happy to have Greylock Federal Credit Union representative Lisa Trybus and Department of Housing rep Brad Gordon with us in February to continue the conversation and look at advocating with neighbors across the state for Senate Bill 800. Thanks to the subcommittee of AJ Enchill, Tommie Hutto-Blake and Wes Gadson for that initial work!
Martin Luther King, Jr.
More Racial Justice and Equity work happened in the heart and soul of the Berkshires for Martin Luther King, Jr. day. We honored him with a Day of Service supporting our local active historically Black Church, the Macedonia Baptist Church in Great Barrington, by laying a whole new kitchen floor. We deep cleaned and spruced up rooms at First Congregational Church used by folks in recovery every day of the week — these rooms housed our summer program this past year and our women to women holiday party this past December. We also sent loads of peace and Valentine’s Cards to Fairview Commons along with more cards to the incarcerated women of Berkshire County who are housed in Chicopee. As a group, volunteers and staff led an arts and poetry corner while listening to the entire I Have a dream speech in our second annual Dream Corner. Later, we had story hour with Brad Meltzer’s Martin Luther King JR. biography and our Happiness Toolbox kids supported our volunteer Tim Likarish in a strength-spotting activity. We all agreed MLK demonstrated courage and kindness along with so much more! We enjoyed a powerful service for the 22nd annual anniversary of the MLK noon service at First Congregational. In case you missed it, you can listen to Rev. Letman’s sermon, youth testimonials and Rev. Forte and Rev. Tezlaff honor Dr. King and read about it here… in the Berkshire Edge.
To wrap up the day of honoring Dr. King, Stephanie, Vanessa and Gwendolyn read excerpts of How to be an anti-racist by Ibram Kendi in the Four Freedoms Gallery of Norman Rockwell Musuem in honor of Dr. King’s quest for a just and equitable country….
BRIDGE acknowledged for the Paul J. Aicher Award
BRIDGE acknowledged for the Paul J. Aicher Award: As many of you heard we have been identified as a finalist for the Aicher Award and have embarked on a partnership with Everyday Democracy! This is very exciting! You can read about it here in the Berkshire Edge.
Du Bois Legacy 2020
For the third annual presentation, the Du Bois Banners are flying again in Great Barrington upholding the legacy of Civil Rights scholar, activist and sociologist Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois in his hometown. The values the town amplifies from his work are Civil Rights, Progressive Education, Economic Justice and Racial Equality (Equity)! We look forward to seeing you at the Town of Great Barrington Legacy Festival. Please follow the work on duboislegacy.com and see the flyer below! BRIDGE is a happy anchor partner with the Town of Great Barrington in all of these efforts. We have an amazing lineup of scholars assembled by Dr. Emily Williams, Senior Engagement and Education Director at BRIDGE and Thasia Giles and Pam Tatge of Jacobs Pillow are returning as key partners to the Festival and bringing dance Joanna Haigood and Zaccho Dance Theatre to do some powerful community work with us. Joanna Haigood crafted this piece 20 years ago when studying at the Pillow and discovering Dr. Du Bois and we are happy to have the Between Me and the Other World here at Simons Rock. Also, we are calling for a community book read of The Souls of Black Folk with Bob Paynter of UMASS with Donna Gouger. As an outcome of the 150th anniversary, the community collected funds to have a Souls of Black Folk book read as challenged by Dr. Frances Jones Sneed and we have a free book for you to join us in reading Souls. On Feb 22nd we will host this dynamic book club of music poetry and text together with guests and local activists and the Great Barrington Legacy Committee! Call 413-394-4305 to arrange to pick up your book or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow the details at duBoisLegacy.com.
Civic Engagement & District Attorney
Finally, we want you all to mark March 17th because we have been invited to co-host What A Difference a DA makes with ACLU- MA! We will be inviting our Race Task Force members as partner organizations and have identified other key partners to join this ACLU event. Please save the date for a conversation in the Pittsfield Library, Berkshire Antheneum, in the evening.
Free Community Trainings for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs:
BRIDGE has been commissioned by Downtown Pittsfield Inc., Berkshire Bank, and PERC to provide a daylong training session along with 3 follow up lunch ‘ n learns. Starting with a keynote and panel of community leaders we will have a day of workshops on March 20th!
Member spotlight: Greylock federal credit union
Our partner, member and client Greylock Federal Credit Union will run an informational Black History Month campaign on their facebook! Enjoy!
We celebrate Black History all year long and February is a month to amplify the longtime contributions of our local and national heroes and scholars. Without them, none of us would be here now. Celebrate and learn something new everyday!
One last thing!
Also our pop up Wing for Justice nights will be coming back soon! We do wings and justice conversations quarterly! Stay tuned and along with this lineup will be game night with some sort of justice theme! We need community, pleasure and fun in our activism because we have a lot of work to do!
"[O]ne of the most vital ways we sustain ourselves is by building communities of resistance, places where we know we are not alone." ~ Bell Hooks
There is still time to make your 2019 end of year gift or 2020 pledge! Many of you received my annual year-end letter in US mail but, if you are so far only part of our E-BRIDGE family, I wanted to share my letter here.
I also want to give a huge thank you to those who joined us Dec 7th for our end of year SJIA launching our appeal - we raised $22,000 in donations and pledges for 2020 that evening!
Stay tuned for January details for another SJIA!
And many thanks to our Giving Tuesday supporters who helped us raise $2035 on and offline!
With each of you, I want to celebrate community, love, and courage as we close out 2019. For me, I know 2020 will be a year of clarity—clear vision and focus for us all. In order to achieve positive social impact of equity in our communities and organizations, I know that we must continually activate ourselves and others, intentionally reflect, and diligently work with grit and resilience so that we stay activated.
"True learning is the ability to decide upon change and then follow through with clear mind and steady purpose. True learning is the ability to take action." Richard Heckler-Strozzi
So many of you have already leaned in to the urgency of now when it comes to your personal activism here in the Berkshires and beyond by being a part of the BRIDGE community. You, with the rest of our BRIDGE family, have focused on LOVE for one another and a vision of equity and justice for each and every one of us! Thank you!
A few important updates about where BRIDGE is today. In the last year, our team has...
And YOU? YOU have also made it possible so that we at BRIDGE have been able to...
As we move into 2020, we are focused on bolstering the humanity of our children and of women here in the Berkshires who face threat of harm and/or experience harm or exclusion every day.
As we move forward, we aim to embody in practice a systemic, holistic approach to equity and justice for every one of our community members. We know that we not only have the power to touch hearts and minds, but the power and responsibility to shift power, access, and resources here in our community and beyond. We will continue to bring attention to the spaces that need our “love in action.”
“If you know what is love and what is fear, you become aware of the way you communicate to others… Love is not about concepts; love is about action. Love in action can only produce happiness. Fear in action can only produce suffering. The only way to master your love is to practice your love.” -Don Miguel Ruiz
Please join us by choosing the ways in which you can support BRIDGE in 2020. We have outlined them below. Your support and collaboration helps us be the change we want to see in our country and community. Thank you in advance! We will be able to send you your new BRIDGE supporter decal for your car, window or office door.
Serving it forward in peace and justice,
I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver. ~ Maya Angelou
Women to Women is joined by Walking Our Talk to celebrate the holidays
Fun to have our BRIDGE family join Shirley Edgerton in the Community Read
at Conte Community School.
I received nothing but accounts of understanding and praise on today’s training from my officers. In return I shared with them your team’s appreciation of their openness and participation in return as well as an understanding of their dedication and responsibilities to their job... today was certainly a day of pride, satisfaction, and hope for me. I can’t thank your team enough. I routinely recognize that you are professionals and today you demonstrated that again...thank you for continually trusting and sharing personal experiences with our community.
Dalton Police Chief
There are many ways to support the work we do!
Click here to read all about those different ways to support.
BRIDGE, and all of our external operations, will be on Holiday Break from Tuesday, December 24 until Tuesday, December 31 to provide all of us a chance to clear our heads, catch up on our lives and/or families, and recharge our batteries for the new year. Bridge,
Wishing everyone Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and a Happy New Year! Celebrate your traditions and ask a friend with different ones for an opportunity to share with one another.
“At this time of year, there is a great deal of emphasis placed on birth and the coming of the light. But the Solstice is really Nature’s season of rebalancing between life and death, and new life is never possible without a darkening, a sloughing off.
What makes this season holy is the act of casting off that which, with little to no guarantee, will set us on a new course. Like winter, Nature’s death field closes in on us with its cold and dark promise to claim all that isn’t thriving. It isn’t unusual to resist this process. We may find ourselves trying to prop up the old way, lifeless as it may be, in an attempt to reanimate the ill-fitting, limp, and even destructive, because at least it was familiar.
But as reluctant as we may be, the holy act of this season is trust. Even as the old things are being cast off, torn away, or leaving of their own accord. Even as disappointment, heartbreak, and fear are rearing up on all sides. Something better for our well-being is marshaling itself below the cold ground. And the sooner we can conclude our old attachments, the sooner the new way will be made visible.”
-Excerpt from toko-pa blog
And for inspiration this holiday season - watch these videos:
We are again happy to have Dr. Emily Williams on our team as Senior Engagement and Education Director.
Please see her second interview with our CEO, Gwendolyn, and partner for InsideHigherEd with BRIDGE client John Bissell of Greylock Federal Credit Union.
Any feedback, please feel free to contact her at Emily@multiculturalbridge.org:
On Sunday, November 3rd, please come join us at the Doris Duke at Jacobs Pillow to celebrate the Latín American women at BRIDGE in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month 10 years of their stewarding their Latinx community with support and education through our Women to Women program at BRIDGE! We will dance, listen to stories, share delicious food samplings and view cultural artifacts from several countries! Raffle prizes include a Chromebook, beautiful Ecuadorian jewelry brought back just last month and a stay at a Provincetown Cape Cod hotel! Proceeds support the women and children in our BRIDGE Programs! Rsvp@multiculturalbridge.org
This November we are joining WAM in their production of Pipeline and members of our Racial Justice Coalition and BRIDGE Race Task Force join talkbacks after each show. We have the special treat of the actors and directors engaging with our community as well! This is an important play about family, structural bias in education and voice! Get your tickets --
We have honored Dr. Du Bois where we achieved a moment in history we will never forget. Dr. David Levering Lewis wrote to Randy Weinstein “perhaps the battle with Great Barrington is won!” Meaning this global icon of civil rights, pioneer of sociology and founder of NAACP is appreciated in his hometown. Stay tuned for videos, testimonials and more!
We are on book two of Mass MoCA Black Feminist Book Club on Christina Thorpe In the Wake. Join me on Nov 7th—no matter where you are in the book—to have a discussion!
Also on Nov 7th, we are joined by Dr. Tracey Benson for his book launch of Bias in Education after Pipeline at the WAM performance at Shakespeare & Co. Even if you have Pipeline tickets another night join us at 6:30 or 9:00—and if you don’t have tickets join us! No matter the family background this play coupled with this book is essential!
Thank you for being a part of the BRIDGE community!!!
Let’s party! We want to have wings with you for Wings for Justice at Patrick’s Pub in Nov 13th for fun and dialogue (and Wings!) 7 PM. Rsvp@multiculturalbridge.org
And as the year draws to a close we at BRIDGE are forever grateful for your engagement as volunteer, employee, client, partner, member, donor and/or community ally, accomplice & friend! You all make up our BRIDGE community! You make the difference!
Sending you all best wishes for peace and meaning!
Serving it forward,
Follow us on Facebook and check our website for more information!
P.s. Please welcome Dr. Emily Williams, our new team lead, as our Senior Education and Education Director! Gearing up for the work ahead! Blessings to all!!!!
Dear BRIDGE supporters:
All that you touch you change, all that you change changes you? ”
We finished up the summer and started Fall with a sprint!
It has been a great fulfilling month as we flexed our core value of collaboration and joined our partners and friends in moving the needle on justice and inclusion in our community.
Indigenous Peoples Day:
We were able to show up in partnership with the Town of Great Barrington Du Bois Legacy Committee and drafted, approved and showed up for the vote to shift to Indigenous Peoples Day. If you did not make it to the town meeting, please view the video:
50th anniversary of the Du Bois Boyhood Site
Along the same intentions for reparations, The Du Bois Legacy Committee, UMASS and the Town of Great Barrington are honoring the 50th anniversary of the Du Bois Boyhood Homesite. BRIDGE Is a proud-sponsor along with 15 community partners on the event. Our TRJ Du Bois Campaigners are in full swing! Please join us for a beautiful day. #allhandsin
We are looking forward to the production of Pipeline! We have Dr. Tracy Benson with the book launch for educators on bias in schools at the Nov.7th Pipeline show with TRJ-South. We have District Attorney Andrea Harrington and Race Task Force member and DA Office Community Engagement Officer Bryan House joining for two talkbacks. Taconic High School Jamal Ahumada of new Black Studies.
Read the article here!
Mass MoCA Feminist Library Book Club for Cauleen Smith exhibit
Thanks to the BRIDGE TRJ members who joined the discussion at MassMoCA about Parable of the Sower. Please see our agenda designed by Gwendolyn.
Upcoming Book Club Events:
SJIA Garden Party!
Thanks to Steve & Diana! We raised $2700 at their beautiful garden party and welcome a few new volunteers. BRIDGE board treasurer Steve and his wife Diana worked with the BRIDGE team of staff and volunteers while our CEO and Community Engagement Coordinator with Susan Witt of Center for New Economics were in Austin, TX at a women, money and power conference! Stay tuned of how you can leverage your resources for positive social impact on women, girls and others historically oppressed!
Apple Squeeze, Construct Walk & Flash Mob Dance, Harvest of Hope, Latino Festival of the Berkshires
Special thanks to all of our volunteers who tabled, did outreach and preparation and were stellar ambassadors for BRIDGE! With your help, we can celebrate and collaborate the important work of our partners and promote our Not in the County campaign! Thanks so much!
In the berkshires community
Stephanie is hosting a book read of Beverly Tatum’s 20th anniversary edition of Why are all the black kids sitting together? in the Central Berkshire Regional District and their feeder towns. Find that agenda on our website and read along!
Vanessa arranged for us to share the Statewide Cultural Appreciation Week with the Great Barrington Courthouse. Our Women to Women and staff made an authentic dish from our cultures and family traditions for a potluck with all courthouse staff and a few retired Ones. We shared job roles for both BRIDGE and Courthouse members. We discussed immigration, race and poverty issues that the court sees daily. And they joined us in signing the pledge. We were joined by local attorneys as well that supported the process with good questions and reflections.. A small step towards a deeper collaboration. A member of the GB courthouse will join our Race Task Force Coalition!
The day before, County Police Chiefs received Gwendolyn of the Race Task Force and Dr. Leticia Haynes of Williams College (newest Race Task Force member) for a presentation and discussion regarding campaign, training, collaboration and more! Stay tuned!
Keep an eye out for some links on social media to an InsideHigherEd article on cultural competency with Dr. Emily Williams and Gwendolyn, Kristen (WAM Theatre) and Gwendolyn’s Blog about Pipeline, and some of our CEO articles will be surfacing again soon (it has been a busy summer on collaborative written pieces!) These posts are meant to support your journey towards equity and liberation for all.
In March 2019 we had the pleasure of hosting the book launch Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments by Dr. Saidiya Hartman. We are proud to know that our Advisory Council Member has been acknowledged as a MacArthur Fellow, ie. She is a recipient of the “Genius” award. We are proud to know her and benefit from her work! Watch the videohere!
Congratulations for Stephanie Wright (BRIDGE) and Karen Murray (BRIDGE women to women and RMV) to be accepted in to the Women’s Fund Of Western Massachusetts Leadership for Political and Public Impact (LIPPI)at UMASS. Thanks to Moonlight Mile for resources to sponsor.
Thank you for reading our updates!
Many thanks to our sustaining donors that make a meaningful monthly pledge!
You can always support our urgent response and reparations fund for those at the target of bias incidents and responses. We will notify you always when we are responding in urgent response and/or offering reparations funds. Send with a memo and note so it is applied correctly.
If you shop Amazon, join Amazon Smile!
If you are having a birthday, crowdfund for a day or a week on Facebook!
Join our monthly meetings and actions and follow your pledge commitment to being active positive bystanders.
Spread the good word about your experiences and we would love it if you would send us testimonials regarding your BRIDGE experience.
Wishing you all the best,
The BRIDGE team
"Kindness eases Change.
Dear BRIDGE supporters:
“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
It has been a full joyful summer. Happiness Toolbox 2019 was full of children and youth mentoring one another, sharing their gifts and skills. We exceeded enrollment and had the most returning families and the most youth leaders in our 10-year history! We drummed with Otha Day, read and imagined ourselves as entrepreneurs with author Ty Jackson. We explored wellness with Kijana Rose in yoga and the study of crystals. We explored computer coding and human coding with DNA with Tim and JV. And our youth leaders led us in sports, Spanish, dance, art, and HANDLE. Thanks to YES (Youth Empowerment in Sports with Williams College students and alumni) for partnering with our youth! We piloted at Luna Buho Farm in Cheshire a two-day Happiness Toolbox program and look forward to even more collaboration next Spring. Email us to find out how you can be involved. Additionally, we were so glad and grateful to be hosted by First Congregational Church in Great Barrington for the first time and look forward to collaborations to come! For example, keep an eye out for BRIDGE Multicultural Dinners returning for the community at First Congregational Church in October! Details coming soon!
Last month, NPC Berkshires hosted our bias awareness workshop and we were glad to host BCC, Lee Bank, Berkshire Natural Resources and friends from Franklin County. Nice to have new groups join the dialogue on how to build stronger, more inclusive workforces.
In case you missed it, our Director, Gwendolyn, and Chief Coe of Dalton, MA shared on the national Not In Our County website about our Berkshire campaign. We were invited to hear Cornelius Minor speak and I loved this quote that he offered CBRSD teachers:
Engagement is social, emotional and intellectual readiness to fail in public. ~Cornelius Minor.
At this beginning of the year launch meeting, CBRSD did their launch of signing the pledge offering to interrupt bias and intolerance at their schools.
Unfortunately, some of our neighbors in North Adams were targets of race incidents and city councilors and Mayor have been in conversation with residents and so forth. We plan to host a September community meeting with DOJ USAO office reps and DOJ CRS reps and we hope you join us for our September Race Task Force for more dialogue and planning. We are proud to welcome new Race Task Force members, Kristen van Ginhoven and Lia Russell Self, from WAM Theatre and Bryan House from our Berkshire District Attorney Office. #allhandsin. Call to action!
And another great time was had by all staff and volunteers who participated, our Director had the awesome opportunity to support planning A Day of Action with Yo-Yo Ma and we built a table in community. Find us here on Yo-Yo Ma’s Instagram and also our photos here on our BRIDGE facebook page here. JV made great new fourth-generation BRIDGE T’s for the event!
Lastly, we are gearing up for the WAM production of Pipeline and you can hear Directors speak about the value of the program here. We had our second planning retreat in Gloucester, MA last week as we prepare for the launch. Please sign up for a show and also join us in dialogue about microaggressions and the school-to-prison pipeline.
Heartbeat Update: We made our Match- woo hoo! $7,869 | We are so grateful for the generosity in our community. Our resilient connections are growing stronger every day! We had a surprise visit from our original Development Coordinator and founding partner in Race Task Force, Rev. Natalie Shiras! She is so proud of the work we have done to grow BRIDGE’s roots and she carries our work on the West Coast. Thank you, Natalie, for the legacy of white accompliceship!
Tim Likarish, Lily Swartz and Grace Church offered this Heartbeat Match as we refer to our Women to Women and Youth Leadership & Education programs as the pulse of our organization! Together they generously contributed $7,000 and we crowdfunded through our networks and raised $7,869 with your help totaling $14,869! Thank you so much for collectively caring for the happiness and well-being of our women and youth in our community. Please see the photos!
“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language.
That may be the measure of our lives.” ~Toni Morrison
Wishing you all the best,
THE BRIDGE team
Dear BRIDGE Community,
We personally want to thank YOU for being in community with us! You all make BRIDGE what it is with love and gusto!
Last week, we had a fun dance night and good food connection and intergenerational cross-cultural fun (did I say FUN?) was had by all attending at our pop-up SJIA! I hope you will join us for future celebrations, wings and dancing as we enjoy the rest of our summer.
We have been busy at BRIDGE this summer in so many ways. We take pride in supporting our clients and some of us are busy making plans with our youth leaders for the 10th-anniversary Happiness Toolbox summer season. We also have made plans to do a two-day pilot for Cheshire and surrounding towns at Luna Búho Farm July 30th and July 31st with a family presentation 4 PM on July 31st. We will be drumming with Otha Day, dancing, practicing literacy through Spanish and Computer coding, reading with local Authors Ty Jackson and JV Hampton VanSant, and learning our local Berkshire history through the legends of Dr. Du Bois, Laura Ingersoll, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth and Mumbett with Ms. Stephanie Wright. We will be enjoying the athlete, artist, naturalist, and dancer in all of us. Several youth leaders are sharing their talents, passions and favorite BRIDGE lessons with the program. Our themes are empathy, perseverance, and grit! We will explore the history of the land we use today... And need I say more!
"All art is a kind of confession,
more or less oblique.
All artists, if they are to survive,
are forced, at last, to tell the whole story;
to vomit the anguish up"
— James Baldwin
For you to get a sense of what we have been up to so far this season, please see the editorial strand, regarding a recent racially biased incident at Jacob’s Pillow and our two collaborative responses from accountability of TRJ and also the CEO letter with John Bissell (Greylock Federal Credit Union) and Peter Taylor (Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation).
As we live and practice true to our mission, we are advocates for the many marginalized voices and also we serve as a resource to institutions and organizations committed to change. We work towards cultural and systemic policy change.
Last week, we also shared a successful Bias Awareness Training hosted by NPC Berkshires and we are going in for part two on Thursday. We were happy to welcome several participants from Lee bank, Berkshire Community College, Public Health Institute, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, BRIDGE, Berkshire Natural Resources Council, and more to the session. Thanks to NPC director and founder, Liana Toscanini, for the invitation and soliciting and publishing the piece on Colorblindness in the latest Connections magazine.
We celebrated with our sister organization WAM on their tenth anniversary as they announced their beneficiaries, Women of Color Giving Circle and Harmony Homestead, who were collectively nominated and chosen among WAM and BRIDGE staff! Happy birthday, WAM! Can’t wait for Pipeline—see the calendar to get your tickets!
Lastly, we had such fun at the Gather-In at Durant Park and also look forward to our Day Of Action with Yo Yo Ma and several community organizations in Pittsfield. Learn more here.
Newsflash: summer hEartbeat Match
We have a new Summer Challenge grant this summer in honor of the 10th anniversary of two of our core programs, Women to Women and Happiness Toolbox. Woo hoo!
Grace Church and the Ellis family (Tim, Lily and Levi of TRJ) have joined forces to offer $7,000 towards these two programs annual and celebration costs. It is time as you read for you to double your contribution by giving now because they have jointly issued the Heartbeat Match Challenge. Good news—we are more than halfway there at $3856! Make your donation here!
We love to return to Adrienne Maree Brown to reflect on inspiring folks in our networks to catalyze change by living an authentic life—the practice of reflection is a helpful step. Pause reflect and then get back to doing!
Do you already know that your existence--who and how you are--is in and of itself a contribution to the people and place around you? Not after or because you do some particular thing, but simply the miracle of your life. And that the people around you, and the place(s), have contributions as well? Do you understand that your quality of life and your survival are tied to how authentic and generous the connections are between you and the people and place you live with and in?
Are you actively practicing generosity and vulnerability in order to make the connections between you and others clear, open, available, durable? Generosity here means giving of what you have without strings or expectations attached. Vulnerability means showing your needs. - adrienne maree brown
Stay in touch with us! Thank you for all you do!