Vermont Racial Justice Alliance Change Vermont Updates!


Happy Monday.

We made some progress last week.  H.3, the Ethnic and Social Equity Studies Standards for Public Schools bill advanced and the Senate Government Operations Committee agreed to take up PR.2, Declaration of rights; eliminating reference to slavery. There was also a public hearing on the Fair and Impartial Policing Policy.  Here are the updates on these and more.  


You can see all of the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance 2019 Legislative Solutions here.  


The proposal to amend to the constitution; eliminating slavery (Proposal 2) will be taken up in Senate Government Operations Committee (room 4) on Thursday, January 31st at 2:30.  IT IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT THAT WE NOT ALLOW THIS TO GO BY WITHOUT PUBLIC DISCOURSE and a robust debate. This is historically monumental in that there is no state in the union that has held some form of slavery in their constitution as long as Vermont (242 years).  This public discussion is important as it has implications on prisons and those who are incarcerated, Vermont Correctional Industries, labor (including youth and migrant) and DCF (including Woodside).  There are also implications surrounding our elected officials oaths of office, the oath that we all take to vote and the 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution. If you’d like to directly engage, you can find out who is on the Senate Government Operations Committee here.  If you’d like to be a part of history, here are three ways to convey your thoughts on the matter:

  • Email Senate Gov Ops at this address:
  • Leave a message @ 828.2228
  • Sign up to testify with the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance or leave a statement

The bill to establish a commission to study and consider a state apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery is advancing to the final draft stages in the House.  The bill will be introduced in the coming weeks. There is still no sponsorship in the Senate.  If you’d care to contact your Senators and ask them to sponsor the bill “to establish a commission to study and consider a state apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery” See below:

  • Find your Senator’s email address  here
  • Leave a message  @ 828.2228

The Ethnic and Social Equity Studies Standards bill (H.3) was unanimously voted affirmatively out of the House Education Committee this past week. It is now in House Appropriations where time seems to be the only obstacle with budget adjustments being the committee’s highest priority.   Expect H.3 to be introduced in the Senate next week, where it will be referred to Education to join its companion bill S.46.  Reach out directly to the Coalition for specific actions and updates. 

NO Taxation and Regulation Without Reparations Campaign
We call for automatic, no cost expungement of marijuana related criminal records; immediate release of those incarcerated for marijuana related crimes; exclusion of marijuana related crimes as impediments to opportunities for employment and access to public services; training and start-up assistance in the hemp and cannabis industry; access to land ownership and the appointment of a Reparations Commission to study and consider a state apology and further reparations.

The Legislature is Moving Full Steam AheadS.54, an act relating to the regulation of cannabis will be taken up in Senate Judiciary (room 1) on Wednesday, January 30th.  Notably, Senate Government Operations Committee will be doing a “Cannabis Control Board Walkthrough” on the SAME DAY!  We believe it to be morally wrong to profit from marijuana before addressing the harm caused by unfair laws, policing and prosecution which has lead to the current socioeconomic disparities of black and brown and poor people. Will you join us as we work to ensure justice for some of our most vulnerable?  Here is how you can help:

Civilian Oversight Keeps ALL of us Safer

Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement
Last week House Judiciary held a public hearing on the Fair and Impartial Policing Policy (FIPP).  The scope of this hearing was largely focussed on police’s failure to implement policy or undergo policy and implicit bias training.  They did not specifically address law enforcement oversight.  A judiciary discussion on law enforcement implementation of FIPP is not oversight.   Please support the Campaign for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement.  Here is the Petition for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement


Vermont Racial Justice Alliance Joint Meeting
The next meeting is a Zoom meeting,  Tuesday, February 7th at 6:00 PM.  Please ensure that you complete the brief application and sign and return the agreement.  If you are simply supporting the alliance with “outside action” the application and agreement are not required. You can find full details here.     

Click HERE to  #Changevermont

Mark Hughes,
Executive Director, Justice For All
Coordinator, Vermont Racial Justice Alliance

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