Who We Are

Through Black leadership the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance addresses the root causes and impact of systemic racism with an approach that includes solutions ranging from platforms and initiatives; outreach and education; community engagement and support; and, cultural empowerment programming.

The Vermont Racial Justice Alliance’s work spans a broad range of activities to ensure the accomplishment of the mission: To secure sustainable power, ensure agency, and provide security for American Descendants of Slavery, while embracing their history and preserving their culture. 

What We Do

The Vermont Racial Justice Alliance (VRJA) is a leading Vermont-based racial equity and justice organization.  Some of VRJA accomplishments include the establishment of the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel (Act 54, 2017) (RDAP); the Racial Equity Executive Director and Advisory Panel (Act 9, 2018, sp); the Health Equity Advisory Commission (Act 33, 2021), a Joint Legislative Resolution –  Racism a Public Health Emergency (R-113, 2021) and Proposal 2, a constitutional amendment prohibiting slavery and indentured servitude in all forms.

VRJA has delivered hundreds of hours of training and education on systemic racism both across the state and virtually and manages a statewide support capability that provides response and support to impacted communities on issues related to housing, education, health services and other areas.  Additional wellness work includes a Wellness Working Group, various affinity groups and ongoing health and wellness outreach and support . VRJA administers a small business grant and community assistance fund.  

VRJA recently implemented a Cultural  Empowerment Center in Burlington Vermont.  The Richard Kemp Center culturally brokers program expansions to marginalized communities where they have historically been ineffective, inefficient or nonexistent.   The Richard Kemp Center expands programs and services that support Black Vermonters’ wellness, preserve their culture, support their youth and advance racial equity and justice. 

VRJA Cultural Empowerment programming includes First Fridays and supports various community-based programs, activities, observances and commemorations.  
Most significant of these is First African Landing Day – to recognize and highlight the resilience and contributions of African-Americans since 1619; to acknowledge the impact that slavery and laws that enforced racial discrimination had [have] on the United States; and to educate the public about the arrival of Africans in the United States and the contributions of African-Americans to the United States.

Burlington work of  VRJA includes the development of the  Racial Equity Inclusion and Belonging Office and Committee, the Reparations Task Force and both resolution and declaration – Racism, Public Health Emergency.  

Current work includes ongoing policy implementation; community-based health wellness and safety programs and services hosted at the Richard Kemp Center; and reparation, equal protection and  economic justice initiatives.

Latest News