Juneteenth and More

A Juneteenth Message  

At the heart of the message of Juneteenth is the ambiguous and aspirational language of freedom in the United States of America. Black Americans have been at the center of every movement to embrace this language as a promise, advancing it with action in the hope of its ultimate and full fruition.

Progress along this journey to liberty and justice for all is ALWAYS accompanied by white-backlash. As we use the language of the principles of “justice for all”, being “created equal” and a “more perfect union” we know that the hope that we have held for these promises has often led Black folks in this nation to places of disappointment, pain and tremendous tragedy.  Though our march has been at great expense of both life and liberty, we have never wavered from or pursuit of JUSTICE.

Juneteenth more than anything is a reminder of unfinished work.  Just as slavery existed after the original Juneteenth, its remnant remains with us today.  As we observe and commemorate Juneteenth, let us continue to do the work to eradicate systemic racism in Vermont. This is our purpose and our calling – to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly and to set the captives free!

Yesterday we announced Richard Kemp Center plans for Juneteenth Weekend.  They include: 

  • Tonight’s Equal Protection of the Law Outreach and Education Session (6:00 PM till 8:00 PM). This session will provide some insight  on the historical opposition, appropriation and weaponization of the equal protection clause of the prolific Reconstruction 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. There will be a discussion on a proposed reparative constitutional amendment to the Vermont constitution. See more here!  
  • On Friday, June 16 from 4:00 Pm till 6:00 PM, there will be a Meet and Greet for Dr Tammy Gray-Steele, a fourth generation Black farmer and CEO of National Women in Agriculture Association, the largest non-profit women in agriculture organization in the world.  
  • The Richard Kemp Center will host a Juneteenth Open House from 1:00 PM till 6:00 PM on Saturday, June 17th.

You can read more on Juneteenth at the Richard Kemp Center in this Press Release.

You’ll have an opportunity to contribute to the Richard Kemp Center Revitalization Campaign throughout Juneteenth weekend. The funds raised will serve to mitigate disparities by providing basic skills, increased access to opportunities, and a safe space. The funding from this campaign will enhance and offer increased functionality to the Richard Kemp Center space. Click HERE for project details and to DONATE.  Let’s close it out this weekend.

Introduced by the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance, the Richard Kemp Center centers the needs of the Black community in rectifying racial inequity by serving as a cultural broker in the expanding historically ineffective, inefficient and nonexistent programs and services to marginalized communities.  The Richard Kemp Center is creating new systems that empower Black Vermonters denied equal access to public or private economic and other opportunities.  The Richard Kemp Center serves as a “legacy-maker” at the intersection of the Black Community’s wellness, culture and youth.  


Rev Mark Hughes
ED, Vermont Racial Justice Alliance 


Equal Protection of the Law

15 June, 2023 from 6:00 PM  – 8:00 PM (TONIGHT)
Richard Kemp Center (In person only)

The Fourteenth Amendment is under continued attack and faces unprecedented challenges with an impending fatal SCOTUS decision on affirmative action. Recent (and various pending) decisions have “weaponized” the Fourteenth Amendment against the very folks not was ORIGINALLY intended to protect, challenging corrective and reparative economic policies. 

The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. constitution, the second reconstruction amendment was created to provide citizenship, equal protection, due process and certain privileges and immunities for the formerly enslaved in 1868. Over the past 155 years the Fourteenth Amendment has faced backlash and resistance and has scarcely fulfilled its promise of equal protection to Black Americans. 

We have have asked the legislature to introduce a constitutional amendment that inserts an Equal Protection Clause to the Vermont constitution. It is our hope that this will be a positive step in the right direction for Vermont. Our values in Vermont are to protect our citizens in instances where the federal constitution, precedent and policy fail. All Vermonters must have equal protection under the law.

Background and Overview Discussion
Constitutional Amendment Proposal and Discussion
Community Conversation and Next Steps

We’ll provide the food.  You can bring the young folks


Meet and Greet with Tammy

Richard Kemp Center
June 16, 2023, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Honoring Juneteenth in Vermont

Headquartered in Oklahoma, NWIAA was founded in 2008 by Dr. Tammy Gray-Steele, a fourth-generation Black woman farmer. Today, NWIAA is the largest non-profit women in agriculture organization, of its kind, with more than 40 chapters across the globe.

For over 13 years, Dr. Tammy Gray-Steele has been seeking to have legislation passed that will re-distribute the balance of power and funding to achieve substantive change in the agricultural sector.

NWIAA’s mission is to engage minority youth and female farmers to reach their fullest potential while advancing in the field of agriculture – providing life-skills, career opportunities, and the mentorship needed to become prosperous citizens.
The organization is headquartered in Oklahoma City, OK. NWIAA is an agriculture outreach, fueled by sisterhood, need, and diversity. NWIAA believes rural women, especially minority women, have been neglected; the lack of resources has stagnated rural development nationwide. NWIAA is the first minority woman-owned and operated organization that provides innovative outreach education that attracts and sustains current and future generations with its innovative, spiritual, and USDA certified education techniques


Juneteenth Open House

The Open House will feature a Young, Gifted and Black exhibition, I am Vermont Too, local Black artists, raffles and prizes and more. Folks will have an opportunity for a first glimpse at the Richard Kemp Center Wall of Black Vermont History. There will be “old school” R&B music and food and beverages for guests. 

Tammy Gray-Steele, a fourth generation Black farmer and CEO of National Women in Agriculture Association, the largest non-profit women in agriculture organization in the world will be in the building.

The Vermont Racial Justice Alliance table will be at the Richard Kemp Center Open House.


Health Equity Advisory Commission 

The Health Equity Advisory Commission HEAC) is charged to offer recommendations on the creation of the Office of Health Equity.  Other responsibilities include Department of Health and General Assembly advisory, statewide policy equity review and more. The Commission is comprised of thirty member representatives of community organizations and and state agencies.

The next full HEAC Commission is 21st June, 2023, from 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM (hybrid) at the Richard Kemp Center.  If you are interested in joining remotely, please use the Teams Meeting information below:

Join on your computer, mobile app or room device

Click here to join the meeting
Meeting ID: 215 946 488 641 
Passcode: SZT4uf
Download Teams | Join on the web

Or call in (audio only)
|+1 802-828-7667,,326859545#   United States, Montpelier
Phone Conference ID: 326 859 545#


  • Review of Minutes
  • Public Comments
  • Equity Break
  • Committee Updates
  • Community Concerns (Medicaid, housing, etc)
  • Planning for Next Meeting

We will fight for wellness as if our lives depend upon it – because they do.

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About The Vermont Racial Justice Alliance 

The mission of the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance is to secure sustainable power, ensure agency and provide security for American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS), while embracing their history and preserving their culture. 

Vermont Racial Justice Alliance Leadership and Team 

Give here.

Thanks for giving.

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