our priorities

Systemic Racism Eradication Goes Far Beyond the "Criminal Justice System"

Many folks have a tendency to relegate to a discussion about the “so-called” criminal justice system when engaging in the work of eradication systemic racism. Historic criminalization of Black people, White fragility and a tendency to want to oversimplify systemic racism are among the many reasons this happen. Because the unjustly gained political and economic power of White people is at the heart of systemic racism, we see it manifesting as racial disparities across ALL SYSTEMS in our society (as reported by VT AG and HRC in 2017). Though criminal justice reform intersects with racial justice it is not where the conversation on systemic racism eradication starts.  We have a responsibility to control the narrative while championing the legislative work that demolishes the foundation of the structure that upholds and perpetuates institutionalized systems of racial oppression and introduces new structures that serve as the building blocks of racial equity and fairness.  In short, the murder of George Floyd (and thousands of others) is a symptom of a much larger problem.      

We previously expressed disappointment with the legislature hurriedly addressing the “criminal justice reform” before recess and we we reject their priorities now being that of primarily policing, particularly in light of the fact that they have demonstrated no political will to hold law enforcement accountable. We have provided our priorities to legislative leadership. We face serious challenges in making any meaningful progress if our legislature (with a supermajority in both chambers) is unwilling to move forward on these priorities at a time SUCH AS THIS!

Racial Justice Alliance Legislative Priorities

Provide COVID-19 Targeted Relief for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) in Vermont 

  • Enable Economic Development and Empowerment for BIPOC in Vermont, such as adult education and job training, empowerment and support for BIPOC owned businesses, etc.
  • Fund a Statewide Database to track racial disparities to inform transformative data-driven solutions
  • Update the Statute on Population Quality of Life Outcomes to include “People of Color” (Statute 3 VSA 2311)
  • Pass transformative racial justice bills already in consideration:
    • Bill 937: Staffing Racial Equity Office
    • Bill H.478 :Reparations
  • In tackling Criminal Justice reform, provide effective & transparent Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement and pass bills already in consideration
    • Bill H 464: Statewide processes and policy on Law Enforcement and Use of Force
    • Bill H. 284 Data Collection in the Criminal Justice System)  
  • And embrace the 10 point plan outlined by the ACLU, and endorsed by Justice for All, among others

Help Advance Our Priorities

Ask the legislative leadership, Government Operations Committees and the Senate Chair of Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs to advance the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance priorities.  

  1. Contact Senator Ashe tashe@leg.state.vt.us or (802) 318-0903Contact Senate
  2. Majority Leader Balint bbalint@leg.state.vt.us or (802) 365-1060Contact
  3. Speaker Johnson mjohnson@leg.state.vt.us (802) 828-2228Contact House
  4. Majority Leader Krowwinski jkrowinski@leg.state.vt.us (802) 828-2228
  5. Contact House Gov Ops Vermont-house-government-operations@googlegroups.com
  6. Contact Senate Gov Ops Vermont-senate-government-operations@googlegroups.com
  7. Contact Senator Sirotkin msirotkin@leg.state.vt.us  (802) 999-4360

Taxation and Regulation of Cannabis

S.54, the Cannabis taxation and regulation bill is in Conference Committee.  Despite our best efforts in testimony in Senate Judiciary and House Government Operations, the bill largely ignores the legislature’s responsibility to use S.54 as a tool to walk back the harm caused by racially disparate “marijuana-related” policing and incarceration. Though a window of promise is open, little effort is being made to use this bill to provide opportunity for African Americans in an equitable manner.  We feel strongly that the only way forward on S.54 is backwards.  Back to the drawing board

Help With Fair Cannabis Laws

Ask the legislative leadership, our House Government Operations and the S.54 Conference Committee NOT to advance S.54 this year, that it may me constructed to address taxation and regulation through the lens of reparations and racial equity (as we suggested).  

  1. Contact Senator Ashe tashe@leg.state.vt.us or (802) 318-0903Contact Senate
  2. Majority Leader Balint bbalint@leg.state.vt.us or (802) 365-1060Contact
  3. Speaker Johnson mjohnson@leg.state.vt.us (802) 828-2228
  4. Contact HouseMajority Leader Krowwinski jkrowinski@leg.state.vt.us (802) 828-2228

Conference Committee on S.54

  1. Rep. John Gannon
  2. Rep. Robert LaClair
  3. Rep. Janet Ancel
  4. Sen. Richard Sears
  5. Sen. Jeanette White
  6. Sen. Joseph Benning