A Community Reading of Frederick Douglass’s 4th of July Speech
Sunday, July 4 at 11 am: Colburn Park, Lebanon
Please join us in a participatory reading of Frederick Douglass’s emotionally important and heart-felt 1852 speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” at Colburn Park (the Green) in Lebanon on July 4 at 11 am. Community members from Lebanon and surrounding towns are invited to gather together in this public reading.
Members of the Valley Insight sangha who wish to participate by reading a paragraph can sign up at the event or in advance by contacting Carol Rougvie (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Doreen Schweizer (email@example.com). Or, you are welcome to just come and listen to Douglass’s moving commentary as read by members of our community.
It is the third consecutive year that Valley Insight has organized this event. Happily, this year for the first time, the City of Lebanon has welcomed the sharing of the speech as part of its official honoring of the Fourth of July.
Douglass, who escaped from slavery at the age of 21, was one of our nation’s greatest orators and a life-long, devoted abolitionist. He delivered this speech by the invitation of the Rochester New York’s Ladies Anti-Slavery Society on July 5, 1852, at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. “What to the American slave is your Fourth of July?” asked Douglass. He exhorts us to extend the freedoms and liberties fought for in our War of Independence to all people. The strength of his address brought the audience to their feet in resounding applause.
Douglass’s speech remains as powerful and as thought provoking today as it did then. Reading it and hearing it aloud help us to broaden our understanding of our nation’s history. His words from 1852 enter directly into our contemporary discussions on race and citizenship, and on what it is to be human. They open our awareness of the role that slavery and race continue to play in our history and in our modern-day institutions, government and social structures, and national discourse.
Lebanon is one of nine cities and towns in New Hampshire hosting the reading of the speech this year at nine different locations around the state. We are again grateful to The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire (http://blackheritagetrailnh.org/) for helping to organize and coordinate this yearly statewide reading of Douglass’s speech in New Hampshire. A listing of the dates and times of all the participating towns and cities can be found on their website.
Daily Gathering for Refuge and Clarity
Every weekday morning at 7:30 am, Valley Insight offers a half-hour community time to be together and remember our connection to one another and to these teachings, which show us a way to have greater peace, ease, and openness in our hearts and minds––even in times of polarization and dissension––and even as we engage actively in working towards making the world better for all sentient beings.
As long as followers of the Way gather together and meet in harmony can they be expected to prosper and not decline. As long as followers of the Way care for the vulnerable among them can they be expected to prosper and not decline. As long as followers of the Way tend the sacred places in their environment can they be expected to prosper and not decline. –– Maha Parinirvana
Meetings begin with silence. Then we will use the formal “Going for the Three Refuges” to speak/chant the intention to seek safety and support from
1) our connection to Buddha, as a symbol of our commitment towards being awake, wise and kind in thought, speech and action;
2) a trust and a willingness to try out the practices that Dharma teachings offer;
3) a confidence in one another as fellow practitioners and support––even in the solidarity of silence.
Then we will speak the Five Training Precepts together. You are free to take only those which you feel pertain to you and to the extent that you decide. Remember: these are not “commandments,” they are “mindfulness bells,” considerations which nourish wisdom and strengthen the possibility of appropriate, compassionate action. The Precepts are to refrain from
1) harming any living creature;
2) taking what is not freely given;
3) sexual or sensual misconduct;
4) harsh, incorrect, or intentionally polarizing speech;
5) drugs or alcohol which may cloud the mind and lead to carelessness.
Zoom invitations will be sent out to all sitting group members as we come closer to November. If you are not on a sitting group list or for more information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vesak Day Celebration 2021, Wednesday May 26
Our 2021 Vesak Day Celebration included a guided meditation from the Valley Insight teachers and statements from Sangha members who shared observations from their practice and concerns or joys from the past year.
Venerable Dr Pannavati
Co-Founder and Co-Abbot of Embracing Simplicity Hermitage and Co-Director of Heartwood Refuge, Dharma Talk: March 13, 2021
Mindfully Facing Climate Change (A four-part series), April 16 & 30 and May 14 & 28 2020. We used Bhikkhu Analayo’s course material from the BCBS website for our discussion.
Judson Brewer Dharma Talk — A talk with Judson Brewer, February 29, 2020. Dharma Teacher and noted Psychiatrist Judson Brewer, an expert in the field of mindfulness-based habit change and a long-time practitioner, offered a dharma talk on
“The Factors of Awakening and Reward-Based Learning.”
Being Mindful of Race — A talk with Ruth King, June 25 2018
Senior Vipassana teacher Ruth King discussed her book Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out.
For a synopsis
Vesak Day (Buddha Day) May 29, 2018. We celebrated Vesak Day 2018 with a sit and potluck at St. Barnabas in Norwich.