On Monday, June 3rd, the Winooski Antiracism Steering Committee (ARSC) held their final meeting of the year! The team took time to reflect on their many successes, as well as identify priorities for the future of the team. They also took part in a community mosaic activity led by local glass artist Terry Zigmund. Throughout the month, Winooski residents are designing individual squares with colored glass that corresponds with their connection to the city: red for those who have lived in Winooski their entire life, blue for those who moved to Winooski from another town in Vermont, green for those who moved to the city from another state, yellow for those who moved to Winooski from another country, and orange for those who no longer live in the city but have roots there. The completed mosaic (288 squares!) representing the vibrant cultural diversity of the city will be displayed in Rotary Park, which sits in the center of downtown Winooski. Contributing to the mosaic project was a fun and celebratory way to conclude our time together. 


It has been an incredible year of action for the ARSC. The team made a great deal of progress on achieving three of the 2020 Winooski Students for Antiracism (WSA) demands, including implementing yearly Civil Rights Workshops, creating a Multilingual Mentorship Program, and forming a Truth and Reconciliation Committee. In May, St. Michael’s College Scholar-in-Residence Jolivette Anderson-Douoning delivered interactive Civil Rights Workshops to the Winooski Middle School teams. Anderson-Douoning will deliver the workshops alongside youth for the High School and Winooski parents/caregivers in the fall. The school is in the process of hiring a coordinator for the Multilingual Mentorship Program, and they will begin their work designing and recruiting participants for the program this summer. This year the team also met with Melody Mackin and Mia Schultz, the Co-Commisionersof the Vermont Truth and Reconciliation Commission (VTRC) to learn about their work at the state level. They then held a Community Dialogue Event on May 6th, where close to 60 community members gathered to learn about the work of the ARSC, and to share their experiences with race and racism in schools. The team also created, distributed, and analyzed data from a school-wide survey, which helped them reflect on the progress they have made towards the demands, as well as additional needs that are emerging from the student body. They shared these survey results with the Winooski School Board. 

Along the way, the ARSC enjoyed many delicious meals together, courtesy of school board member Isaiah Donaldson, who coordinated our dinners provided by local restaurants each week. They also participated in community building activities and games and explored their leadership styles. Members of the ARSC attended the spring conference held by the Education Justice Coalition of Vermont and the Vermont Student Antiracism Network (VSARN) Advocacy Day at the State House in Montpelier. They spoke about the work of the ARSC at the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) conference in Stowe, at the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) Seminar in Randolph, and on the Vermont Conversations podcast with journalist David Goodman. Youth on the ARSC were also interviewed by Seven Days Education Reporter Alison Novak for an article about the housing crisis in the city of Winooski. 

We are incredibly proud of all of the work that this team accomplished over the past nine months. They showed up every other Monday ready to engage and offer their ideas, perspectives, and energy. When asked what excited them the most about their work with the team this year, one youth responded, “I enjoy working with different youth! I enjoyed the Community Dialogue the most because we got input and stories from the community.” An adult member of the ARSC remarked, “Seeing and being a part of this group and witnessing massive growth within each and every human involved in/with the WSD ARSC! One word I hold is gratitude.” 


Terry Zigmund


Making the mosaic squares


May 6th event


Group shot