The Portable Humanist
Kesha Ram and Delma Jackson: What Does Race Have to Do With It?

Kesha Ram and Delma Jackson: What Does Race Have to Do With It?

May 12, 2021

"I don't want it to take a predator in the White House and a Black man having to die on national television for nine minutes and 28 seconds for us to get to this point," says Vermont State Senator Kesha Ram.

The day after the verdict in the George Floyd murder trial was announced, the Center for Whole Communities in Burlington hosted a discussion between Senator Ram and Delma Jackson, the co-host of the Dive-In-Justice podcast.

In this episode, they read Langston Hughes, ponder the Floyd murder trial, talk about the work of W.E.B. DuBois, consider the Kake Walk tradition at UVM, and discuss the work to be done to remove barriers for BIPOC Vermonters.

Photo of Kesha Ram by Ben DeFlorio

Meg Mott on “The Glorious Occupation” of Citizenship

Meg Mott on “The Glorious Occupation” of Citizenship

March 1, 2021

We speak with Meg Mott—political theory professor, constitutional scholar, and the moderator at Putney’s town meeting—about the ongoing threats to Vermont's town meeting tradition.

We featured a much shorter interview with Meg in the "A Town Solves a Problem" episode of Before Your Time, our podcast with the Vermont Historical Society. Since we could only use a few minutes of our conversation in that piece, we’d like to share more of our discussion here.

Let’s Talk Antiracism

Let’s Talk Antiracism

February 10, 2021

Dr. Laura Jiménez joins Vermont State Librarian Jason Broughton to examine ways to lead effective discussions centered on diversity and antiracism.

Jiménez and Broughton use our Vermont Reads 2020 choice, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, as a catalyst for the conversation. The free event was co-sponsored by the Vermont Library Association.

Dr. Laura Jiménez is Department Chair for Language & Literacy Education at Boston University. She studies literature and literacy through a social justice lens, and focuses on the ways teachers understand the systems of inequity and privilege at play in education, and their own roles within those systems.

Author Tim Wise on “Our Nation’s Blinkered History of Itself”

Author Tim Wise on “Our Nation’s Blinkered History of Itself”

January 22, 2021

Tim Wise, one of the leading anti-racist writers and educators in the country, gave a stirring keynote presentation at the St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Burlington for a ceremony remembering the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wise is the author of books such as White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son and Dear White America, Letter to a New Minority.

The event was sponsored by the Greater Burlington Multicultural Resource Center and was supported by Vermont Humanities as part of the Vermont Civics Collaborative.

Pulitzer Winner David Moats on Marriage Equality and Reporting in Vermont

Pulitzer Winner David Moats on Marriage Equality and Reporting in Vermont

October 28, 2020

Author and longtime Vermont journalist Yvonne Daley interviews David Moats, her former colleague from the Rutland Herald, about Moats’ series of Pulitzer Prize-winning editorials on the divisive issues arising from civil unions for same-sex couples, and about the importance of research and depth in journalism. 

Their conversation is part of our Democracy 20/20 Fall Conference. View all of the recorded conference sessions for free at www.vermonthumanities.org/democracy.

A Conversation with Katherine Paterson about “My Brigadista Year”

A Conversation with Katherine Paterson about “My Brigadista Year”

September 30, 2020

Katherine Paterson, the author of Bridge to Terabithia, The Great Gilly Hopkins and other beloved books, joins Vermont Humanities Executive Director Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup to talk about her trips to Cuba and her 2017 Young Adult novel, My Brigadista Year.

This talk is part of our Fall Conference: Democracy 20/20. View the list of free upcoming conference sessions.

Meg Mott on the 19th Amendment

Meg Mott on the 19th Amendment

August 19, 2020

To kick off our Fall Conference 2020, professor Meg Mott considers two visions for the women’s suffrage movement, and describes the path to the 19th Amendment.

The suffrage movement operated under two very different principles. Elizabeth Cady Stanton saw women’s suffrage as a right that had been unfairly denied to women, while Frederick Douglass saw women’s suffrage as a means to save the country’s soul. 

This talk is part of our Fall Conference: Democracy 20/20. View the list of free upcoming conference sessions.

Words in the Woods with James Crews

Words in the Woods with James Crews

July 29, 2020

Poet James Crews reads and discusses his poetry at Jamaica State Park for our Words in the Woods series. A companion video includes visuals taken at the park. Here James discusses the origins of his poems, and offers several writing prompts for those inspired by his work.

James Crews’ poetry has appeared in Ploughshares, Raleigh Review, Crab Orchard Review and The New Republic. His most recent collection of poems is titled Bluebird.

Tips for Making Friends as an Adult

Tips for Making Friends as an Adult

July 8, 2020

Ryan Kriger, author of How to Make Friends as an Adult, describes the approach he used to develop a group of friends after moving to Montpelier from New York City. He also shares advice for maintaining friendships, even during a pandemic.

Words in the Woods with Geof Hewitt

Words in the Woods with Geof Hewitt

July 1, 2020

We recently joined poet Geof Hewitt at Elmore State Park for our first “Words in the Woods” event. The series allows Vermonters and visitors to enjoy our state’s natural beauty while listening to and reading literature in the outdoors.

Geof Hewitt is Vermont’s reigning poetry slam champion, and regularly hosts slams throughout the state. He is the author of four books of poems and three books for teachers.

Due to Covid-19, we decided to record Geof solo, and offer the event as a video, and as this podcast episode.

If you’d like to watch the video – which includes a short writing workshop segment – you can find it at vermonthumanities.org/digital.

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