John Ungerleider

Exploring justice through creating art

Amid political division and acrimony, creating murals together lets us focus on how to be inclusive and compassionate with each other — in school and in life

As a project of the Greater Falls Community Justice Center (GFCJC), based in Bellows Falls and Springfield, we have brought Afghani woman muralist Negina Azimi to paint murals with students in area schools.

We focus on the theme of justice.

In restorative style circles, students discuss what justice means to them and generate themes, words, and mostly images that Negina can incorporate into a mural.

We have completed murals in two schools so far, at Bellows Falls Union High School with Laura Tabachnick's social studies class and at Dummerston School with Nicole Thomas's student leadership group. We plan to start another in the fall at Bellows Falls Middle School along with Student Council sponsor Chris Kelley, who served in the military in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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Balint: experience we need now

I support Becca Balint in the primary race for Vermont's lone Congressional seat. We are lucky in Vermont to have better candidate choices than most states. Molly Gray has been wonderful interacting with students in my youth leadership programs, as was Kesha Ram, a former challenger. Still, at this...

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Support the efforts of our local teens to vote

With all the outstanding efforts by young teenage leaders this year on issues like gun violence and climate change, isn't it time we finally gave them a chance to vote? The students from Parkland, Fla., are the lead organizers on gun violence in the country, and 15-year old Swede...

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The dorms have gone dark, at great cost to community

At the turn of the year, it is customary to acknowledge not only successes, but losses from the past year. Brattleboro suffered one loss that has not been clearly reckoned in our local press: the loss of students on the School for International Training (SIT) campus. Last January, SIT announced it would not admit an on-campus class of graduate students for this past fall 2018 semester, choosing to transition to low-residency, online, and internationally based programs. That has meant the...

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Shocked, yet unsurprised, by Pittsburgh shooting

We are shocked, and yet with eyes open cannot be surprised by the violence that has stricken the Jewish community of Pittsburgh. This hits every Jewish community close to home, and perhaps ours even closer: our former spiritual leader grew up in that same synagogue and had his bar mitzvah there at the age of 13. He knew someone killed in the shooting. While it's easy to assume that these sorts of horrors could not happen here, we have witnessed...

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Dismay at the hate speech on sidewalk

We are writing to express our dismay at the hateful and threatening message scrawled on the sidewalk in Brattleboro. The death threat, written in German, was a direct and clear connection to Nazism and the Holocaust. While the police hopes it was just a sick joke, it certainly coincides with a rise in anti-Semitic language and explicitly threatening actions across the United States in the past year - notably in Charlottesville and, as we see now, even here. This is...

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