Black Lives Matter Vermont is a growing network of individuals, families and businesses invested in the liberation of Black Vermonters, and the deactivation of systemic racism endured by all people of color in our state. Black Lives Matter Vermont is an official non-profit organization recognized by the state of Vermont, is in close communication with the national Black Lives Matter organization, and is in the processing of becoming an official national chapter. BLM VT shares the same vision with the national movement and has a local vision as well. We identify as a peaceful, non-violent movement. The premise behind our existence is to stop the violence against Black people.
Black Lives Matter Vermont Demands, a living document
I. We want full transparency of all data of incidents and complains involving police officers and Department of Corrections by Black people. The state of Vermont should acknowledge the discrepancies between the percentage of people of color incarcerated including simple traffic stops. Black people in Vermont are more likely to be stopped than their white counterparts.
II. We want more accountability from state departments, agencies and private sector employers regarding current data and hiring practices of Black people. The state of Vermont should acknowledge the need for growth in the hiring practices of state, local, public, and private business sectors. It is time for Black people to fairly compete with their white executive counterparts. We need more training for Black people pre and post incarceration, training programs promoting livable wage careers and equitable opportunities to achieve leadership positions in Vermont’s labor market.
III. We want full representation of Black people on public boards, commissions, committees, local and state governments. The state of Vermont should acknowledge the low to zero representation of Black people on public boards, local, and/state governments. Vermont should recognize the need for intentional recruitment of Black candidates to participate.
IV. We want a standardized annual cultural competency and standardized certification process for all employees, interns and volunteers working in the public sector, including small and large private corporations.The state of Vermont should acknowledge the lack of racial diversity as a detriment and not an asset. It is one of the least racially diverse states in the country. For this reason, elected officials and employees from the public sector should receive mandatory Race competency trainings by officially designated trainers on an annual basis.
V. We want people of color to reside comfortably in neighborhoods throughout Vermont without fear of being ostracized by their communities. The state of Vermont should acknowledge limited housing opportunities for Black People. Cases of housing discrimination should be made publicly available by the State of Vermont.
VI. We want an increase of people of color as public school administrators and teachers, while decreasing the high percentage of school disciplinary actions and racial bullying and harassment of black children. The State of Vermont should acknowledge the plight of Black teachers amongst a population of over 600, 000 people. Many teachers experience isolation, or short term career spans as they are eventually fired or forced to resign under unbearable racial tension, alienation, and or discrimination.
VII. We want a decrease in the amount of Black children taken out of their homes and communities of color and places in white homes, while increasing the number of licensed DCF foster and adoptive parents of color. The state of Vermont should acknowledge the Department of Children and families (DCF), as more likely to remove children of color from their homes and communities, and place them in white homes than homes with people of color. MORE families of color should be licensed throughout the state to provide care to children of color, as removing children of color from their native homes is of historical significance.
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
We solidarity with the people of Ferguson who launched an international Black Lives Matter phenomenon by deciding to demand justice for victims of police shootings of unarmed black people, and all the innocent Black Lives lost at the hands of law enforcement. We stand in solidarity with the Demands put forth by Ferguson Action!
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Our vision for a new America. We want justice for Mike Brown*. We want freedom for our communities.
We Want an End to all Forms of Discrimination and the Full Recognition of our Human Rights. The United States Government must acknowledge and address the structural violence and institutional discrimination that continues to imprison our communities either in a life of poverty and/or one behind bars. We want the United States Government to recognize the full spectrum of our human rights and its obligations under international law.
We Want An Immediate End To Police Brutality And the Murder Of Black, Brown & All Oppressed People. Every 28 hours a black person in the United States is killed by someone employed or protected by the government of the United States. Other communities are also criminalized, targeted, attacked and brutalized. We want an immediate end to state sanctioned violence against our communities.
We Want Full Employment For Our People. Every individual has the human right to employment and a living wage. Inability to access employment and fair pay continues to marginalize our communities, ready us for imprisonment, and deny us of our right to a life with dignity.
We Want Decent Housing Fit For The Shelter Of Human Beings. Our communities have a human right to access quality housing that protects our families and allows for our children to be free from harm.
We Want an End to the School to Prison Pipeline & Quality Education for All. We want an end to policies that criminalize our young people as well as discriminatory discipline practices that bar access to quality education. Furthermore, we want all children to be able to access free, quality education. Including free or affordable public university.
We Want Freedom from Mass Incarceration and an End to the Prison Industrial Complex. We want an end to the over policing and surveillance of our communities. This will hasten an end to the criminalization of black and brown people and hyper incarceration everywhere. Policing in the United States has historically helped to enforce racist laws, policies and norms. The result is a massive prison industrial complex built on the warehousing of black people. We call for the cessation of mass incarceration and the eradication of the prison industrial complex all together. In its place we will address harm and conflict in our communities through community based, restorative solutions.
*BLM VT note, September 2016: We want justice for Mike Brown. We want justice for all victims of police shootings. We want justice for victims of public executions. We want justice for the judicial systemic consent of wrongful murders. We want justice for the deaths of Black and Brown peoples incarcerated or in police custody.
Black Lives Matter Vermont Strategic Plan
Phase I: Develop Infrastructure & Membership
Phase II: Affirmation of the Lives and Contribution of Black People in Vermont–Building Safe Spaces and Permanent Places
Phase III: Legislative Reconstruction–Rebuilding Political Systems Ensuring Oppression-Free Legislation