An Invitation

In March 2021, The Listen Up Project will launch Black Voices of Vermont, an interactive media project honoring and centering the voices of Black Vermonters.


A collaborative story sharing project, Black Voices of Vermont will amplify stories and perspectives of Black teens across the state.


Throughout February, we extend an invitation to you and your friends to share your story. Via email, participants will collaborate with our project director, Shani Stoddard, for a conversation about your lived experience in Vermont. During the month of March, your interviews will become a daily spotlight feature, to be shared across various social media platforms. What if we were in the practice of listening to a new perspective every single day? Let's build a sense of interconnectedness through our stories!


For more information email the director, Shani at

or to refer a friend, contact Lowry at

Project mission

We believe in the power of telling stories. We believe in the necessity of people being able to tell their own. And we need to Listen Up. The mission of this project is to celebrate and center the voices of Black teens in Vermont. 


This mission is rooted in our firm belief and understanding that the experiences of Black people should be acknowledged and amplified. 


This project is an archival event. We will hear directly from the young people who live here about their experiences and unique perspectives. 


In order to avoid reducing the varied lived experiences of Black communities to a singularity, we strived to gather a collection of stories that represents the diversity of Black Vermonters. 




Shani Stoddard is a dancer, choreographer, and performer from Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. He was an original cast member in Bess O'Brien's touring stage production of 'The Voices Project' in 2005.


Shani went on to study Dance and Musical Theater at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, as well as Northern Vermont University in Johnson, Vermont. He has performed with the Vermont Dance Collective and continues to teach a variety of dance workshops in the Central Vermont area. 


Shani is also a Burlington based drag performer; performing with Queen City Cabaret, Capital City Queens, Green Mountain Cabaret, and additional showcases in Montpelier, VT and Boston, Massachusetts. 



Outreach Coordinator

Lowry is a white, Jewish, queer-identified, cisgender woman, who moved to Vermont 7 years ago.  Lowry is a trained mental health counselor who works at Centerpoint in South Burlington, specializing in trauma-centered Drama Therapy and Somatic Therapy. She has spent the last two years on the Listen Up staff, providing clinical consultation for the project, group facilitation, and will be the Assistant Director of the live performance this upcoming summer.  Lowry comes to this work with experience as a long time theater artist, a dancer, a community organizer, and a body-based trauma therapist. 


As a theater-maker, a clinician, and community member, Lowry is committed to creating spaces for stories to be told by those who are systemically silenced, and for those stories to be centered and heard. Lowry is also committed to challenging herself and others who hold more power within these systems to unpack how we are working to dismantle the oppressive structures and cultural norms that create this silencing.

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