Woodstock Social Justice Initiative

2018 International Women’s Day

9:00am-1:00pm, Saturday, March 10th 2018

Norman Williams Library

All are invited to come together to celebrate International Women’s Day with a series of talks and activities that are meant to challenge and inspire. There will be presentations, discussions, a writing workshop, and an introduction to Trauma Sensitive Yoga. The day will culminate with a vigil on the green with the internationally acclaimed slam poets, Muslim Girls Making Change. Sponsored by The Woodstock Social Justice Initiative in collaboration with WISE.  Visit here for further details.

About WSJI

The chief aim of the Woodstock Social Justice Initiative (WSJI) is to help inform and empower community members seeking the tools needed to fight against varied forms of social injustice.   Toward this end, we are working to bring together artists, educators and activists who will help to increase public consciousness of urgent justice-related issues, while also providing individuals opportunities to take direct action for social justice.

WSJI is inspired by the courageous work currently being done by local groups (Migrant Justice, Black Lives Matter, Outright VT, Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform, to name a few) and hope to bring these voices to the Woodstock, VT area, where we sense there is a growing desire for engagement and action around interwoven issues like sexism; racism; homophobia; poverty; immigration and criminal justice reform.   We believe that appreciating intersectionality, listening openly, and speaking honestly about power and privilege are essential to social healing and growth, and invite participation from all community members of all identities to engage in this important process.

Interested in joining WSJI?  Please fill out the following contact form and consider sending  a $5 donation payable to  Sonny Saul (WSJI), 48 Pleasant St Woodstock, VT 05091 

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2018 John Brown Day Conference

Creating a Future Beyond Prisons:

 2nd Annual John Brown Day Conference, 10/13/18

WSJI is announcing the 2nd Annual John Brown Day Conference on Saturday October 13th from 8:30am – 3:30pm at the Woodstock Union High School in Woodstock, VT. 

The theme for the Conference is Creating a Future Beyond Prisons.  We will be exploring what each of us need to learn and understand and who do we need to be in order to take action to create a future beyond prisons?  This conference will focus on these questions, with an afternoon dedicated to local opportunities for taking action to support meaningful change.

Mariame Kaba, a leader in the transformational justice movement will start the day with a keynote.  If you are interested in what a just system looks like, this keynote is not to be missed.  Mariame will be introduced by Reverend Dr. Leon Dunkley, minister of the the North Chapel Universalist Society in Woodstock. 

James Duff Lyall, Executive Director from VT ACLU will lead lead a workshop on VT ACLU’s  Smart Justice Campaign and will include an education about why and how we need to hold State’s Attorneys accountable.  The goal of VT ACLU is to reduce Vermont’s prison population and to address the racial disparities, the worst in the nation, in the Vermont system.  Ashley Sawyer will join this workshop to share her personal story of incarceration by the state.

The Center for Justice Reform at Vermont Law  will guide participants in a review how sentencing works and explore alternatives to the traditional criminal justice system through a case study (link to pdf). Please read the case study prior to the conference, which is a hypothetical that involves a shooting, and may not be appropriate for young children or those who might find it too difficult to read.

Finally, Rapid Response Training and a new Bail Bond initiative will be presented by Migrant Justice.


Throughout the day, space will be made for a youth-led POC only caucus and for space for support to talk through our learnings from the day.    The afternoon will be focused on action steps that we can take together and as individuals. 

Registration begins at 8:15am day of conference.

9:00-9:30am:  Opening Remarks by Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley

9:30-10:30am: Keynote by Mariame Kaba

10:30-11:30am: American Civil Liberties Union-  Workshop and Dialogue

11:30am-12:30pm: Lunch

12:30-1:30pm: Center for Justice Reform at Vermont Law- Workshop and Dialogue

1:30-2:30:  Migrant Justice-Workshop and Presentation

2:30-3:30pm:  Action planning and commitments

Sliding-scale entrance, $15 suggested; no one turned away for lack of funds.
Light breakfast provided and Taco Food Truck on-site for lunch purchases. 
Please join us.