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Community Film Showing: The Hate U Give

Event: Hate U Give
When: Wednesday, February 12 at 6 p.m.
Where: Essex High School Auditorium
Admission: Free


January 28, 2020
When we think of the community where we live, we picture the places where we do business, the events we attend for entertainment or education, and the people we interact with on a daily basis. At its core, community is a group of people with similar goals and attitudes living in the same place. A strong community creates a sense of belonging, safety, and happiness. Essex, Essex Junction, and Westford are towns we call home and the people in our community are like extended family members. Family members don’t always see eye-to-eye, however, and disagreement and sometimes even animosity is bred from a lack of understanding each other. 


In order to achieve the essence of community, the voices from every race, religion, socioeconomic group, and marginalized set of folks need to be heard. The Voices for Inclusion in Essex and Westford (VIEW) is a group of diverse community members who are working to create events and opportunities for Essex and Westford residents that allow for these outlying voices to be heard and understood. VIEW wants to strengthen our community by looking at it through the various lenses of people we live and work with.


The group was born from a recommendation through Voices for Education, a group that provides opportunities for students, parents, school staff, and residents to have their voices heard in the Essex Westford School District (EWSD). Voices for Education will continue its work in making schools in our district inclusive and equitable while VIEW will further this work into our community. All VIEW events will be sponsored, in part, by Voices for Education. 


The VIEW committee has been meeting once a month since September 2019 and has brainstormed areas that need to be addressed and better understood in order to create a community in which every member has the opportunity to be successful. The momentum of the meetings began at the It Takes A Village: Voices for Equity & Belonging Summit on December 1, 2018. More than 200 action ideas were listed by 80 summit participants and VIEW is now turning these ideas into action.


While the VIEW team acknowledges there are many places to start and several marginalized voices that need to be heard, the team has narrowed its focus to three topics to explore through events over the next several months: racism and racial justice, LGBTQIA+ awareness and education, and refugee and immigrant voice in our community. Each themed event will provide education, representation, and discussion of the underserved and often silenced voices in our community.


In an effort to raise awareness, reduce our biases, and support people of color in our community, VIEW invites Essex and Westford area folks to our first Racial Justice Community Film Showing on Wednesday, February 12 at 6 p.m. in the Essex High School Auditorium. VIEW will host a free community view of The Hate U Give, based on the award-winning book by Angie Thomas. It is also Vermont Humanities Vermont Reads 2020 book of the year.


The Hate U Give tells the story of Starr Carter, who lives in two worlds: the poor black neighborhood where she resides and the mostly white prep school she attends. Starr becomes witness to her childhood best friend being shot and killed by a white police officer during a traffic stop. The book and the movie offer space for reflection and understanding. This story, while fictional, showcases the types of biases, racism, and discrimination that black Vermonters face.


After the movie, an opportunity for respectful and meaningful discussion will be facilitated by Sue McCormack, Kesha Ram, and Daimeyon Williams. 


In order to truly build the pillars of our community, we need to knock down walls. VIEW hopes to promote the tools and knowledge to do this in supportive and meaningful ways. We invite you to join us.


-Amber Leventry, Voices for Inclusion in Essex and Westford