350 Vermont offered a climate and racial justice, leadership and campaign building workshop this weekend. Attendees came from VT, NH & CT. Students from the Putney School, UNH, SIT KSC and Antioch were present as well as professionals in the environmental justice field.
The weekend began with fun intros and was broken down into 3 2-hour workshops with activities, vegan lunch and dinner breaks, running from 9:00 AM - 8:30 PM.
Workshops delved into the roots of social and racial justice, how to communicate and support others and understanding our own innate biases. 350 VT program director Brittany Dunn was the guiding force behind the entire program. She moderated, supported and trained with a gentle hand, soft voice, smile and a great deal of expertise. She brought in speakers from a variety of backgrounds who each had strengths in areas of justice.
Built into the program was the opportunity for networking, discussion and collaboration amongst retreat participants. Many activities mixed people, allowing for interaction and sharing life stories. Others allowed for groups to work together by state, region or school.
I found the racial and climate justice workshops most useful, allowing for discussion, considering how our lives have shaped who we are and how we think and perceive others, as well as time for journaling and reflection.
At this moment in history, being sensitive to and supportive of other cultures and ethnicities is crucial in both healing and progress on environmental racism and climate issues, uniting for environmental justice.