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Neighbors link arms at the Southold Anti-Bias Task Force's unity and civility vigil in Southold last year. Photo: Katharine Schroeder

‘Grassroots Town Hall for Unity’ meeting planned by local social justice advocates

Local activists have been hard at work organizing a town hall event to be held in Riverhead later this month.

The Grassroots Town Hall for Unity is being organized by Southold Town Anti-Bias Task Force member Dr. Carolyn Peabody and retired professor and author Dinnie Gordon. The purpose of the town hall is to serve as an initial gathering of members of vulnerable or targeted groups, activists and people who want to do something about the problems they see but don’t know how to help.

“It’s a very introductory event in a way,” said Gordon. “We’re hoping that out of this meeting will come a collective effort to bring people together around both their particular areas of interest and their larger concerns about unified communities that are progressing or pushing for progressive change.”

Attendees will have an opportunity to share experiences, learn about one another and join together to work toward common goals. The organizers hope that people will form local unity action committees to gather information and document any incidents.

There will be speakers covering topics such as the Affordable Care Act and women’s health, the environment, immigration and LGBTQ issues, among others.

The following speakers are scheduled to attend:

Cesar Grajiles, immigration
Leslie Wright and Ashley Barry, Planned Parenthood
Rabbi Michael Rascoe
Ellen Neff, LGBTQ community
Donna Riley and Juli Grey-Owens, Long Island Transgender Advocacy Coalition
Dulce Rojas from Sepa Mujer will lead off the event with a call to action.

Additional speakers may be added.

Organizers have created an event flyer in both English and Spanish and have opened a Facebook page.

“It’s an invitation to activism for people who are not already involved in some sort of social issue but who are concerned about the future of social justice in this particular political moment,” said Gordon.

The meeting will be held in the basement of St. John the Evangelist School, 546 St. John’s Place, Riverhead on Sunday, March 26 at 3 p.m. All are welcome.

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