Former State Rep. Kiah Morris, a leader and consultant on issues of diversity, equity, and leadership, has joined the Rights & Democracy staff as its Movement Politics Director in Vermont.
As Movement Politics Director, Kiah will be responsible for co-creating and building the movement-centered governing infrastructure in Vermont that shifts power into the hands of the people — especially marginalized community members — at every level of government.
“We are in a deeply urgent moment where it is clear that our government is struggling to develop responses to support the very survival of Vermonters in the midst of a global pandemic. All social safety nets and systems are being tested to their limits and many of those limits were set by people in elected office,” said Morris. “It is crucial that Vermonters are well represented by individuals of diverse backgrounds, life experiences and identities to speak truth to power and to ensure no one is left behind. Through this movement work, we can strengthen Vermont and continue to lead the nation through courageous, crucial progressive policies.”
She will be leading a wide range of RAD’s work in Vermont—from building systems that empower and support people to run, win, and get re-elected to office, especially those from marginalized communities to working with other key RAD staff to engaging the public on a wide range of policy and political issues.
“We are beyond excited to have Kiah join our growing team,” said James Haslam, RAD’s executive director. “We know all too well that it’s not enough to just win on issues, but we need to work to elect community champions to office at all levels in order to bring about a truly just and equitable world. That means, in particular, doing better as a society to ensure that all voices are not just at the table, but are in seats of power.“
By creating this position, RAD is working to ensure that every aspect of our political and public policy work is grounded in the goal to achieve governing power through “movement co-governance” — or co-governing with elected and appointed government officials who are ideologically aligned with RAD. Through that synergy, RAD’s goal is to advance a shared analysis, vision, and agenda for structural change for economic, political, racial, and gender equity and organize broader alignments around that agenda.
About Kiah: Kiah lives in Bennington, where she served in the general assembly as a State Representative from 2014-2016 and 2016-2018 and was the first African-American and person of color elected from Bennington County and the second African-American woman to be elected to the legislature in Vermont history. She is also an award-winning, in-demand trainer, speaker and presenter. An accomplished artist, she is also the author of a recently published book of poetry Life Lessons and Lyrical Translations of My Soul. Read her full bio on our staff page.