A Riverhead-North Fork Unity Town Hall is in the works. It aims to bring people in the area who feel vulnerable together with those who are motivated to take action in response to current political tensions.
The event is set for Sunday, March 26, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the St. John the Evangelist School cafeteria in Riverhead. It will serve as an initial gathering of people who feel they are part of targeted groups, activists who are already engaged in progressive action and those who are unhappy about current trends but are unsure how to get involved.
“We’re trying to bring everyone together so everyone can have a sense of the fact that they’re not alone,” said Carolyn Peabody, who is co-chairing the event with Sister Margaret Smyth of the North Fork Spanish Apostolate. The agenda will include presentations on issues such as immigration, women’s rights and the environment.
The town hall will be a place to share stories and information, acting as a springboard for creating local “unity action committees,” Ms. Peabody said.
The committees will form a network for people to learn about the impact of the administration’s policies affect themselves and others and connect people who are willing to stand up for each other’s concerns and rights, she added.
The event draws inspiration from similar “Town Halls for Unity” held in Stony Brook days after the election and in Nassau County in January, a couple of weeks before the inauguration. In addition to developing new relationships, attendees will be invited to commit to the cause in ways such as supporting those who feel threatened and calling attention to biases they’ve encountered or discrimination they’ve observed.
Dinni Gordon of Greenport, who is helping organize the event, described it as an “introduction to activism,” as well as a way to connect the North Fork.
“The North Fork is kind of a long, skinny finger and often people from one hamlet don’t work with people in another hamlet, which isn’t all that far away, but isn’t part of their immediate environment,” she said. “Part of it is sort of trying to bring people together who have common issue interests and who are from the North Fork, not just from their own hamlet or village.”