A Center for Grassroots Organizing

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MEET THE STEERING COLLECTIVE

The steering collective is the central hub of decision making for the Center for Grassroots Organizing. We are organizers and educators with a diverse background in community organizing, social and environmental justice, indigenous solidarity, prison abolition, and in connecting the dots between these struggles.

 

ASHANTI ALSTON

ASHANTI ALSTON

is a former member of the Black Panther Party and ex-political prisoner. Formerly an IAS board member, he publishes the Zine Anarchist Panther. He has been a guest lecturer all over the country, including at the Institute for Social Ecology in Vermont, speaking on the Panthers and the history of Black nationalist movements.

He has spent time in Chiapas, Mexico, studying the autonomous structure of Zapatista communities and working on his memoirs. Ashanti resides in Providence, RI with his partner Viviane and their two wildly adorable and amazing children, Biko and Yasmeeni. He is active with the Jericho Amnesty Movement, Estacion Libre, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and Critical Resistance.

MARITA CANEDO

MARITA CANEDO

is from La Paz, Bolivia. She has been part of the Migrant Justice team since 2013. She is a fighter for human rights and social justice, a visual artist, a community builder, and a strong believer in the need for a place to build up a project that will bring us together for change.

 

GRAHAM UNANGST-RUFENACHT

GRAHAM UNANGST-RUFENACHT

grew up in East Montpelier and currently lives in Plainfield, VT.  He has grazed and raised grass fed and finished beef cattle in different parts of central Vermont for more than 10 years; and has been operating Robinson Hill Beef in Calais, VT since 2013.  He also collaboratively runs an edible and medicinal landscaping company, Walking Onion.

Graham has worked as a mentor and educator with youth ages 6-18 at EarthWalk Vermont, the ROOTS School, the King Street Youth Center, Uprise! Camp, and other local schools and educational programs.  He offers adult education in the community as well – from agroecological practices, to fermentation and herbalism. Graham is the Field Organizer at Rural Vermont, and previously served on its Board – a small farm and economic justice advocacy and policy organization.  Graham graduated from UVM with a degree in Religious Studies and Plant and Soil Science; has a Permaculture Design Certificate from Yestermorrow Design / Build School; and attended the 3 year clinical herbal training program at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism.

EARL KOOPERKAMP

EARL KOOPERKAMP

is an Episcopal priest in Barre, Vermont. Previously he served parishes in Harlem and the South Bronx in New York City, and taught for eight years in the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in New York State. He has participated in many movements for social change, including Occupy Wall Street and most recently the Poor People’s Campaign. When he was 19 years old he read Karl Marx’s Theses on Feuerbach, “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it,”  and Jesus’ words in John’s Gospel, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” He is still working at living his life according to these words.

 

 

HENRY HARRIS

HENRY HARRIS

grew up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. He and his amazing 14 year old daughter live at the new center in Marshfield, VT. Henry has worked in social movements and building trades around the US, volunteer organizing mass actions, smaller actions, food sovereignty projects, and supporting racial and economic justice work. He currently works with the VT National Lawyers Guild, Extinction Rebellion, an arts & action collective called the Make, does local and national direct action training. His favorite current work is coordinating and support the Youth Action Alliance and a teen arts and action summer camp called Uprise Camp.