Racial Literacy Training Provided in Hardwick

HARDWICK – Sha’an Mouliert of St. Johnsbury recently completed a training session with staff and board of the Center for an Agricultural Economy (CAE). The training session is the beginning for a small nonprofit that focuses on new ways of learning racial literacy and cultural humility.

courtesy photo
Among the staff and board who participated in the racial literacy training session for the Center for an Agricultural Economy were (left to right) Lylee Rauch-Kacenski, Jon Ramsay, Kristin Blodgett, Linda Ramsdell and Silene Decuises.

The training for CAE started in February and ended in September. Planned as sessions every other week, a hiatus was taken during the initial phase of the coronavirus and resumed once sessions could be held safely outside.

Howard Stephenson’s book, “Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools; Differences that Make a Difference,” and “My Grandmother’s Hands” by Resmaa Menakem were used as a framework for the sessions, which included movement activities and body practices. Goals for the training included learning cultural humility practices, behavioral stress management techniques, examples demonstrating workable solutions within predominantly White communities, measurable outcomes and strategies for developing racial literacy skills, and leadership skills that will create a more tolerant and supportive community for all.

“Working with Sha’an was a powerful experience. Her approach to the training was fantastic and everyone learned a great deal,” said CAE Executive Director Jon Ramsay.

Mouliert holds a Masters of Education degree and is a consultant, community organizer, educator, artist and co-founder of the African American Alliance of the Northeast Kingdom, a grassroots organization committed to racial justice. She initiated and chaired the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s (WILPF) Building the Beloved Community Committee, whose mission is to provide educational information about the history and nature of systemic racism, connections between oppressions, internalized oppressions, racial justice, and the struggles for racial justice. As a WILPF delegate, she attended the 2001 United Nations World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa.

Mouliert was a core trainer for Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory at the Brecht Forum in New York City.  In 2015, she received Lyndon State College Presidential Medal of Distinction. She has led conflict resolution, human potential, creative expression, racial justice and community organizing workshops nationally and internationally.

Locally, Mouliert works with Catamount Arts after school and summer camp programs as a teaching artist and for three years and she was the outreach literacy coordinator for the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum Children’s Library.

The CAE is a nonprofit organization that builds and supports local food systems, including business advising and support services, a local food delivery service for farms and food producers, community programs for home gardeners, and support for place-based education in the Orleans Southwest Supervisory Union. The CAE owns and operates the Vermont Food Venture Center and is a sponsoring partner of Northeast Kingdom Organizing. During the pandemic CAE has used its capacity as a food hub to coordinate thousands of free meals from local restaurants.