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BVJ Meeting Minutes

Updated: Jun 15

Latest meeting minutes appear first.


Friday, June 12, 2020 @ 7 - 8:30 p.m. (via Zoom)


Attendees: Candace C., Justine D., Melanie L., Parker M., Gretchen D., Kristin B., Olivia S., Tess M.


Candace reviewed agenda for tonight. Introductions -

● name

● preferred pronouns

● what you do (career/daily life)

● what you want to work on

● how you can help


Candace - digital, organizing of meetings Melanie - letter-writing, speech-writing Justine - organizing, creative writing Gretchen - legal, planning, number-crunching/data interpretation Kristin - communication, P.R. Olivia - email, organizing people Tess - organizing, event-planning Parker - working with schools, computer/IT work, organizing youth


Justine/Kristin - Explained founding and history of BVJ

● Founded 2017 following Trump victory

● Focused on local elections/issues

● Organized protest countering Second Amendment rally in town and visit by former

● Sheriff Joe Arpaio

● Hired facilitator to document meetings

● New book study - “How to be an Anti-Racist” by Ibram X. Kendi to help become stronger allies/accomplices

● Mission is building up this community in Belchertown

● Coalescing around events/fb events


Parker/Olivia/Tess - Upcoming Vigil “Ending the Silence” - June 25, 2020 at 6:30 pm

● Within 9 days, 1000 responses

● Working with every town department to see that permits, bylaws are adhered to

● Working on logistics - and being prepared for any scenario

● Looking/organizing volunteers for the event

● Potential collaboration between PVPA Social Justice group with Belchertown Social Justice group at HS

● Looking at a peaceful vigil including a video, artwork submitted by local artists of color, speeches by local people in town, and a possible large piece of artwork centered around George Floyd - Art submissions are open to everyone

● Regarding media communications - Sentinel has been contacted, as well as the Gazette, and BCTV to cover

● Discussed consent around live-streaming/photographs of vigil - perhaps designate a media point-person

● Possible connection with Lighthouse in Holyoke, who are organizing vigils/events

● Sound equipment through the recreation department in town, but BJV has sound equipment through a prior grant

● Talked about fundraising through BVJ page, donations or www.gofundme.com for masks, bug spray, first aid kits

● Palmer youth will be showing up to our vigil as they are looking to organize one locally.


Justine confirmed that BVJ is open to “Belchertown residents and friends”.


What We Will Work On:

1. BVJ Social Justice reading group (there is another group in town doing the same

reading)

2. BPS curriculum (de-colonizing)

3. Push for town meeting on 6/20/20 to be held outdoors

4. Town raises - to ensure that our schools and teachers/programs are protected for next

year first

5. Abolition/Defunding police work

6. Safe Communities Act - ensuring that this is adhered to in town

7. Possible Human Rights board in town


Closing with possible future Zoom prior to “Ending the Silence”

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We are residents and friends of Belchertown, MA 

committed to creating a welcoming, safe, and inclusive community. We stand against the politics of hate that seek to divide us and redouble our commitment to the values of freedom, justice, and equality that bind us as a community.