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Conferences & Retreats
The Voluntown Peace Trust welcomes groups and individuals doing sustainability, peace and justice work, seeking retreat and conference space year-round. Learn more about our meeting and living spaces and their rental fees here.
Popular Education Workshops
What Is Popular Education? It Is A Learning Process That:
• begins with the standpoint of the oppressed;
• is inclusive;
• is accessible to people of all educational levels;
• addresses issues people face in their communities;
• supports people moving towards action/nonviolent social change;
• is based on the experiences of those participating in the learning; and
• integrates non-traditional methods of learning.
Workshops are offered throughout the year. Contact us to schedule a workshop for your organization, or join our mailing list to learn when public workshops are scheduled.
We gratefully accept donations year-round. If your employer matches your donations, please send along a form for us to complete and submit. Thank you, in advance, for your support!
Bridge Fey, a site-specific installation by local artist Nancy
Hartford Catholic Worker's Summer Program for Urban Youth (aka Camp Ahimsa) is one of VPT's programs
(L-r) Ahimsa campers Ashanti, Tylehjah, Olivia, Caitlyn, Harmoni, Camp Director Chris Doucot and Enyche show off the batik bags they created. Photo by Janice Steinhagen.
As this article says, this program gives the kids a positive summer experience and an opportunity to do a lot of things they don't get to do in the city.
However, once again there was a racist incident at the Voluntown beach where the children were called a racial slur.
VPT is planning a series of programs this year to counter racism.
- WHY NOT AIRBNB?
In hopes of putting our yurt on Airbnb, VPT members put extra energy into improving it. As we were getting ready to post, we became aware of a boycott of Airbnb because they are listing homes in illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank. The VPT Board wrote a letter to Airbnb stating we would not list our rental space with them because we feel their actions are illegal and unethical. Here is our letter of February 16, 2016. For more information see follow this link.
Dear Airbnb Head of Global Hospitality Chip Conley,
Please be advised that the Voluntown Peace Trust has taken heed of CodePink’s call for a boycott of Airbnb and so on February 6, 2016 our board of directors voted against listing our rental space with Airbnb. We concur with Codepink that the practice of listing for rent homes that are located within Palestinian territory that is under Israeli military occupation is illegal and unethical. The ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian (and Syrian) lands and the practice of colonizing that land with Israeli civilians violates international law, the norms of civility- particularly the age old Arab practice of hospitality, and Airbnb’s own anti-discrimination policies.
We support the statement of Jewish Voice for Peace that: “Airbnb’s anti-discrimination policy states that they prohibit listings that promote racism, discrimination, or harm to individuals or groups, and require all users to comply with local laws. Yet, listing vacation rentals in illegal settlements promotes structural discrimination, theft of Palestinians’ land, and direct violations of international law. Through earning fees from settlement vacation rentals, Airbnb is directly profiting from the continuing occupation and dispossession of Palestinians.”
News reports implicate Airbnb with Israel’s de facto, and illegal, annexation of Palestinian land by uncovering Airbnb listings for “Israel” in the Palestinian lands occupied by the colonies of Efrat, Ma’ale Rehavam and Tekoa. This is tantamount to listing homes in the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine as being in Russia. Like the Crimea, the West Bank and Golan Heights are conquered lands taken as the spoils of war. The subsequent, and ongoing, subjugation of the Palestinian people living in the West Bank is a vile anachronism of a bygone era of colonial conquest. Airbnb’s complicity in this matter makes your business morally untouchable. We hope that an honest reappraisal on your part will prompt Airbnb to get on the right side of history and take a stand for justice and with the Palestinian people. Until then we will take our business elsewhere.
Joanne Sheehan, Board Chair
The Voluntown Peace Trust.