One of the highlights of this year’s legislative session in Montpelier was the passage of the Racial Justice Reform Bill, which was finally signed into law on May 31.
In this Take Action Tuesday host Jeffrey Caesar, Outreach Director at Rights & Democracy. Jeffrey leads an important discussion with Ebony Nyoni of Black Lives Matter Vermont and Mark Hughes of Justice for All on seeking racial justice in Vermont.
Jeffrey, Ebony, and Mark talk about the potential impact of the racial justice legislation and the necessary steps to ensure its implementation, as well as updates regarding Black Lives Matter Vermont’s upcoming actions and events.
The implementation of the racial justice reform bill will be important to track as it could provide a lifeline for people of color and marginalized communities, who are disproportionately stigmatized by the criminal justice system, which has become a vehicle for implicit and unconscious racial bias to take root.
“Do not be mistaken by Vermont’s famed progressive predisposition: Racism and racial bias are alive and well in Vermont. It is not easy to live in Vermont as a person of color, as we are consistently profiled and targeted as we go about our day to day lives,” Jeffrey told lawmakers during testimony this session in support of the racial justice reform bill. “I have been followed and watched more times in stores Vermont than ever in my life.”
“Our public schools also hold disparagingly low employment and retention rates of faculty of color, and per capita we have nominal POC-owned and operated businesses,” he added. “This lack of diversity is a reflection of our communities and ultimately shapes how we are treated in person, in groups, and institutionally. Ironically while we are also made painfully aware that individually we stand out, we as a community are virtually.”
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