RAD Leaders in Action
RAD Board Chairs, Leadership Committee members, and volunteer leaders worked both behind-the-scenes and in the spotlight to make our Renew launch a huge success. At the launch, Sharlene Labore, Alison Nihart, Mia Schultz, Sebastian Fuentes, and Eric Rasmussen all spoke to the moment we’re in and announced our full slate of endorsed candidates in Vermont and New Hampshire.
Zoraya Hightower, a RAD member who was RAD-endorsed and elected to Burlington City Council this year introduced a resolution to cut the city’s police force and reallocate funds to programs supporting people of color. If it passes, it could be the first legislation of its kind in the country. Stayed tuned for updates…
RAD leader and Barre City Coucilor, Teddy Waszazak introduced a proposal to create a Civilian Oversight and Advisory Board as well as a “Good Policing Proposal,” which seeks to ban the use of chokeholds and teargas. Great work, Teddy!
Things are never still on the RAD team. We had more thrilling shifts in RAD staff this month. KJ Deyett joined the team as our Bistate Data and Technology Manager, and Sophie Bodnar came on as Vermont’s new Grassroots Digital Organizer. Please join us in welcoming them aboard!
RAD is seeking a part-time Operations Assistant (based in Vermont) .Please share widely!
Monday, July 13 , 12:00pm, State House lawn, Montpelier
Week of Action: Vermont Needs a People’s Bailout Details and RSVP
Thursday, July 16, 12:00pm Unemployment Insurance (UI) Town Hall Details and RSVP
Wednesday, July 29, 7:00pm Addison County Chapter Meeting Details and RSVP
Thursday, July 30, 7:00pm Rutland County Chapter Meeting Details and RSVP
RAD in the Media
Renew New England’s launch featured in Common Dreams. Activist and author, Naomi Klein called Renew “precisely the coalition this historic moment requires.”
If you missed our last newsletter, here’s our early endorsed slate of longtime RAD-aligned candidates and movement champions.
Rights & Democracy announces 2020 early candidate endorsements
RAD resident luminary, Kiah Morris talks racism and the recent uprisings:
“Racism is death by a million cuts:” Former Rep. Kiah Morris on roots of the rebellion
We are glad to see the hard work and courage of RAD Bennington members, especially Board member Mia Schultz, receive the attention it deserves.
Petition aimed at Bennington police chief, town manager gains traction
The days feel long, but the months seem to fly by, and suddenly we are in the middle of summer. With half of the year behind us, we’re looking towards what’s ahead with renewed energy.
Here at RAD, June was about finding balance in a wild spectrum of emotions and responses to the crises and movements unfolding around us – balance between introspection and action, leading and listening; and transitioning while staying still. The world is moving fast – it has been quite a ride, and there’s more to come.
The demonstrations that exploded across the country in May added an acute poignancy to this year’s Juneteenth celebrations, vigils, and marches. The continued shows of solidarity with Black Lives Matter across Vermont have been heartening, but the persistence of racist incidents in our country and in our communities reminds us of how much anti-racist work we still have to do in our small, yet largely white state. RAD stands with the Movement 4 Black Lives and local racial justice organizations. We will continue to show up, educate ourselves, participate, and support actions as we commit to grounding our work in racial justice and equity.
After months of work, RAD, in coalition with allied groups and partner organizations, launched Renew New England, a region-wide policy blueprint to address the intersecting crises laid bare by the pandemic and build an equitable, just and ecologically sound future. At the launch, we also announced our slate of endorsed candidates in Vermont, who have joined us in our commitment to renewing and restoring our state. As we gear up for an unprecedented election season, we are thrilled about these candidates who will champion our movement’s values and principles.
We are ready to dig into the next few months to get candidates elected who will work for the change we need. Our people powered movement is what gets us closer to our vision of an equitable and healthy future. But we can’t do it without your support. Please consider becoming a sustaining member of RAD today. Let’s keep building our power across Vermont.
With frontline communities, grassroots organizations, Indigenous tribes, and labor unions across the region, we launched Renew New England, a movement and policy platform designed to confront the interconnected crises of mass unemployment, racial inequity, climate disruption, and coronavirus pandemic. Keynote speakers included Senator Bernie Sanders, Representative Ayanna Pressley, Reverend Mariama White-Hammond, Varshini Prakash of Sunrise Movement, and Representative Ro Khanna. Following the keynote addresses, the Renew launch was broken into state-level sessions.
During the Vermont portion, we announced our slate of 56 candidates we are endorsing in Vermont’s upcoming 2020 gubernatorial and legislative races. These candidates have committed to Renew’s vision to rebuild and renew Vermont, and we couldn’t be more excited.
You can read the full list of RAD-endorsed Vermont candidates here. Sign up to get involved with RAD and Renew New England.
HEALTHCARE RATE REVIEW
In the middle of a pandemic, it seems an obvious truth that everyone should have access to health care when and where they need it. Yet during this time of crisis, Blue Cross and MVP are attempting to raise health insurance premiums in Vermont. BCBS of Vermont wants to raise their premiums an average of 6.3% while MVP is pushing for 7.3%.
Before they can take effect, the Green Mountain Care Board must approve these increases. RAD wants to be sure that the voices of Vermonters are included in this process. If you have comments or a story to share, please submit them using this form.
RAD in partnership with Planned Parenthood Northern New England, hosted Grassroot Organizing in a Global Pandemic, a workshop on how to organize and be an effective activist during our current COVID-19 pandemic. RAD Regional Organizer Tom Proctor co-hosted the event with guest panelists from Food Not Bombs, ACLU-VT, Pride-VT, The Peace and Justice Center and the Burlington Tenants Union. Panelists shared stories on how they pivoted, strategies and priorities during COVID-19, and left attendees with action items that will help us fight the good fight during this time of social upheaval.
Rutland County held a lively and fruitful Community Conversation earlier in June. Facilitated by organizer, Liz Filskov, the dynamic workshop fostered a new framework for participants in understanding our current crises and visioning where they want to go. Liz and the Rutland chapter continue to expand and build on this work by focusing on engaging youth, working with climate activists, and folding in the work of other local organization
This month, our allies at People’s Action and Climate Justice Alliance released A People’s Orientation to a Regenerative Economy, a guide, which outlines how we can build pathways that work for frontline communities and workers. Amid our current turmoil, this is a heartening step forward.