The Peacemaker (Film) screening in Organ Barn July 23

9 07 2016

Kopkind is screening THE PEACEMAKER at the Organ Barn in Guilford, VT .

July 23rd, 7:30pm  James DemoJames Demo, Director of film will be here to screen and answer questions

THE PEACEMAKER follows international peacemaker Padraig O’Malley, who helps make peace for others but struggles to find it for himself. 

The film takes us from Padraig’s isolated life in Cambridge, Massachusetts to some of the most dangerous crisis zones on Earth – from Northern Ireland to Kosovo, Nigeria to Iraq over five years – as he works a peacemaking model based on his recovery from addiction.  We meet Padraig in the third act of his life in a race against time to find some kind of salvation for both the world and himself.

Please email John Scagliotti (stonewal at sover dot net) for directions.

Kevin Gray talk at Kopkind Youtube Video

9 12 2015

Here is Kevin Alexander Gray’s  talk about the upcoming primary in South Carolina given in Vermont.

Gray To Speak at Harvest Colors Brunch in Guilford VT

27 09 2015

You won’t want to miss Kevin Alexander Gray at Kopkind’s Late Tapas Brunch on Oct 11, 2015

kevin gray resizeharvest invite

Gray & his younger sister Valerie were among the first blacks to attend the local all-white elementary school in 1968.  Since then he has been involved in community organizing working on a variety of issues ranging from racial politics, police violence, third-world politics & relations, union organizing & workers’ rights, grassroots political campaigns, marches, actions & political events.

Gray is currently organizing the Harriet Tubman Freedom House Project which focuses on community based political and cultural education. Organizer — National Mobilization Committee Against the Drug War.  Former managing & contributing editor of Black News in Columbia.  Now serves as contributing writer to other minority newspapers in South Carolina.  He served as a national board member of the American Civil Liberties Union for 4 years & is a past eight-term president of the South Carolina affiliate of the ACLU.  Advisory board member of DRC Net (Drug Policy Reform Coalition).

In 1997, Gray was an organizer for the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition’s anti-Proposition 209 marches in San Francisco & Sacramento, California.

South Carolina coordinator for the 1988 presidential campaign of Jesse Jackson & 1992 southern political director for the presidential campaign of Iowa Senator Tom Harkin.  2002 SC United Citizens’ Party & Green Party Gubernatorial candidate.

Founding member of the National Rainbow Coalition in 1986.  Former co-chair of the Southern Rainbow Education Project — a coalition of southern activists.  Former contributing editor – Independent Political Action Bulletin. 

Gray’s critique “A Call for a New Anti-War Movement” appears in How to Legalize Drugs: Public Health, Social Science and Civil Liberties Perspective edited by Dr. Jefferson Fish of St. John’s University.  The book is a collection of works by drug policy reformers across the country.  The essay takes a cultural & ideological look at the impact of the “war on drugs” on African Americans.  Gray’s “The Legacy of Strom Thurmond” appears in Jack Newfield’s American Monsters, “Soul Brother? Bill Clinton and Black America” appears in Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair’s Dimes Worth of Difference and “What Would Malcolm Say” appears in Peace Not Terror edited by Mary Susannah Robbins.

Gray’s essay on race & politics have appeared in The Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy – “The Intensification of Racial Solidarity in the 1990s under the guise of Black Nationalism” (1996); The Progressive MagazineCounterpunch, The Washington Post Outlook Section, Emerge, One Magazine, The American University Graduate Review & numerous other national, regional & local publications.  His current essays on race, politics, cultural and world affairs can be found online at The Progressive,, The Black Agenda Report and “Holla If You

Hear Kevin and have a delicious Tapas Brunch while helping build support for Kopkind’s Summer Project taking place in 2016.   It happens at the Organ Barn in Guilford Vermont, just over the border from Massachusetts.  (at 2pm on Oct 11).   If you need directions, just email our administrator John Scagliotti at

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Dr Donald Tibbs at the Organ Barn in Guilford. Hip Hop and the Law!

23 07 2015

Sunday, July 26, 5:30 pm – Potluck Supper and Speaker’s Night: “Raw Life Meets the Law: Music, Politics and Hip Hop’s Role in the Quest for Justice”, featuring Donald Tibbs, author of From Black Power to Prison Power and co-editor, with Pamela Bridgewater Toure and andre cummings, of the forthcoming Hip Hop and the Law. At the Organ Barn at Guilford, 158 Kopkind Road. What’s on your mind?tibbs_bio_v2

Maria Margaronis tribute to Andrew Kopkind

23 03 2015

150th Anniversary Issue of the Nation

kopkind street sign.

Kopkind, Selma — 50 years ago.

7 03 2015

An excerpt from the Prologue of Andy Kopkind’s “The Thirty Years’ Wars”.   Andy had just left Time Magazine  as a reporter and had become an editor of The New Republic in early 1965.  One of his  first assignments was to cover the activities going on in Selma.

“But when I worked for The New Republic — it’s hard to imagine now — this world of possibilities opened up. I could actually have some authenticity and integrity doing the work that I liked. Those were the two things — authenticity and integrity — that Time robbed you of. One of the first things that happened, about six weeks after I got to Washington, was the Selma march. I had never been to the South to report before, but I went off to Alabama and hung out at Brown’s Chapel Church and got to know all these people and all the SNCC workers, black and white. This world had opened up. They were saying exactly what I’d been thinking all these years but had never actually heard. I didn’t know that anybody was acting out these ideas, and it was great.

It wasn’t just about civil rights, not just about laws, but about power, and power to the people, power to the community. And they were analyzing the white power structure.

Anyway, I just thought these people were real heroes. The SNCC workers and the black workers from the counties; we would just go and hang out in the sharecroppers’ houses and in the little chapels, and this was so beautiful. I thought I was part of this tremendously exciting historic, romantic movement. And… I was. So I came back and I wrote the first piece sort of discovering SNCC for a national left-liberal audience.”

From the first piece in his “The Thirty Year’s War” book, the first paragraph of his piece “A Walk in Alabama” published in The New Republic, April 3, 1965.

“There are easier ways to get to Montgomery. The massed power of the army, the national guard, state troopers and the Justice Department does not lessen the sun’s glare or the force of thunderstorms. The pavement along the fifty miles of US 80 from Selma is just as hard on the feet, and the muddy campsites just as cold and disagreeable for all the complex battle plans of the marchers and their protectors. By Tuesday, when even the television cameramen began to lose interest, the march had been transformed from a carnival for 3000 into a crusade for 300. That night, a Presbyterian clergyman, one of the few whites left in the column — leaned against the clay-caked tailgate of a farm truck and picked at a cold pork chop. “This” he smiled, “is our finest hour.”

Pamela Bridgewater Toure — July 22, 1969 – December 27, 2014

31 12 2014
at Kopkind, Pamela Bridgewater and JoAnn Wypijewski, 2010

at Kopkind, Pamela Bridgewater and JoAnn Wypijewski, 2006

By JoAnn Wypijewski, President of Kopkind Board of Directors

Pam came into our lives first as a Kopkind ‘camper’, in 2001. She was an activist lawyer, deeply involved in movements for reproductive rights, clinic defense and the rights of people with AIDS. She was a scholar of women’s reproductive freedom and black emancipation, and merged both histories in her work by focusing on the experiences of black women. She was a diva, a pro-sex feminist, a sister whose wicked sense of humor was matched by her generosity of thought and care – a beautiful, bouyant soul.

Pamela leads a seminar at Kopkind

Pamela leads a seminar at Kopkind

Pam got her first taste of Kopkind, and she never left. She came to Vermont frequently as a guest, giving one daytime talk in 2004 on the history of slave breeding and her analysis of the Thirteenth Amendment as a constitutional basis for reproductive freedom that wowed everyone present, including the venerable Jack O’Dell, who told us later that coming to Kopkind was one of the best things he’d ever done, in part because listening to Pam that afternoon had blown open an entirely new door of perception. In 2006 Pam was back as one of the mentors for a camp on the theme of the law, the left and the state. Lisa Burriss, who was 24 when she participated in that year’s camp, told us recently of how formative that experience had been, how it still inflects her thinking, how in a profound sense Pam “showed me what it means to be a woman, a black woman, committed and confident.”

Professionally, while a professor at the American University Washington College of Law, Pam was among a group of pioneering lawyers and law professors interested in exploring the relationship between law, culture and hip hop. Beginning in 2009 she contributed to and presented scholarship at the annual conference of the Society of American Law Teachers, the largest organization of progressive law teachers in the country.

Pamela with Kopkind Class of 2010 at Treefrog Farm Vermont.

Pamela with Kopkind Class of 2006 at Treefrog Farm Vermont.

She organized and worked with law students from various student groups and her popular culture and the law seminar at AU to prepare one of the early symposia on the subject. In its first year the Roots and Reality symposium explored the connection between grassroots organizing and social justice lawyering. In its second year, it brought together lawyers, law students, activists, scholars and artists to examine the relationship between their work, hip hop culture and social justice theory. A critical reader titled Hip Hop and the Law, which she co-edited with andre douglas pond cummings and Donald F. Tibbs, will be published later this year.

Pam was about 39 when she was first diagnosed with cancer, and 45 when she died. The metaphors of cancer as a war, a battle, a fight, are so common as to be cliché, and true for that even if irritating from overuse. Pam didn’t resort to those metaphors much, but she expressed them in tenacity, willfulness and remarkable strength in the face of this cussed disease. She was graceful; she was gracious. The home that she made with her husband, our friend Kweku Toure, in Washington, DC, was a place of love and warmth, great fires and genuine fun in hard times. She held court from a hospital bed as easily as from a seminar table or hot tub at Kopkind – the back of her hand pressed against her brow, head tilted, a kind of announcement of thought before the words came sharp and precise. Pam made life a performance in the best sense, vivid and surprising.

Pamela with campers in Vermont at Kopkind, 2010

Pamela with campers in Vermont at Kopkind, 2006

Shortly before she died, heavily medicated against the pain, she wanted to hear about the protests in New York and chimed in, “I marched for about two blocks, but then I got tired and went back to the hotel— oh, what am I saying?” A wave of her long, lovely hand, a light laugh: she dreamt of demonstrating when most people would have given up. We loved her and are grateful to have had her love. Our sympathies are with Kwe and all whose life she touched.

There will be a memorial service for Pam in Washington later in January. We will update this notice when details are set.


Andy Kopkind (1935-1994)  and Pamela Bridgewater (1969-2014)

Andy Kopkind (1935-1994) and Pamela Bridgewater (1969-2014); Painting by Bill Brassard

Kopkind Board Member Dottie Morris has made a donation to Kopkind in Pam’s memory.  If you would like to do so, we will have a list of those who have done so on our website at the time of Pam’s memorial service.  You can go to Donate button on this site to make your contribution this week.