On Friday July 16, Neighbors for a Safer Saint Albans will be hosting its first Community Rally for Togetherness in Taylor Park from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., according to a press release on their website.
On their website, the group posted that the event is in “sharp contrast to the fear tactics, misinformation and division being peddled by Vermont for Vermonters which will be presenting at city hall at the same time, NSSA is organizing a community-wide celebration of belonging and togetherness on the town green.”
“Saint Albans is like every small space in America," said NSSA founding member Reier Erickson in the press release. "Goodwill exists here. You can see it when you walk down the street and we see it now as people mobilize for this event. Our interest isn’t to debate CRT, it’s to come together as a community. To tell those who come here to sow racial discord that our community stands with one another. Our community is stronger
The event will also feature an interfaith blessing by Rev. Preston Fuller from St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, children’s book readings by Melyssa Bibona and Alyssa Chen from the Education Justice Coalition of Vermont, and a performance by Vermont’s Freedom and Unity Chorus.
Presenters include NSSA founding member Reier Erickson, Reese Kelly, Ph.D, and Eliana Castro, Ph.D.
“As someone who has spent many years as both a student and a teacher, I can say with confidence that we learn some about oppression and almost none about resistance," said St. Albans resident and speaker Eliana Castro, Ph.D. in the release. "What I want for every child everywhere is a chance to learn about injustices and how communities, collectives — not mere individuals — can shatter oppressive systems and disrupt the harm they do. But the fact is that those systems are linked to one another, so we’re still uprooting them, and that can be very unsettling for people.”
On Friday at the same time, a group has rented the St. Albans City Auditorium to host several speakers in a two hour discussion about critical race theory, including Vermonters for Vermont’s Gregory Thayer, according to a release.
“Critical race theory teaches people that they are either oppressors or oppressed/victims!” according to a release from Vermonters for Vermont. “It’s been around since the 1970’s, being taught in many colleges across the nation and now it is coming to students of all ages. CRT is a product of the writings of the communist manifesto works of Karl Marx.”
The evening will feature five additional speakers from 6:30 to 8:30 after opening comments from Thayer, according to a release:
- Linda Kirker, former Vermont Legislator
- Jay DeNault, former MVU school board member
- Aaron Kindsvatter, professor at University of Vermont
- John Klar of the Vermont Liberty Network
- Ellie Martin of Vermont Grassroots