2018 Session Starts: Equity Commission on Systemic Racism Mitigation is on the Table

2018 Session Starts: Equity Commission on Systemic Racism Mitigation is on the Table


Systemic racism continues to be at the heart our social and political processes and policies.  The issue was acknowledged through the enactment of legislation that asked for advice through a panel, the Human Rights Commission and the Attorney General (H.308).  We must now create the Commission that has the authority to take action necessary to mitigate systemic racism in Vermont.

S.281 is the bill being put forth to do so.  I have asked the Senate Judiciary Chair to take up the bill and informed the sponsor of our desire to modify the bill with our proposed language.

Now is the time to call for the Senate Judiciary to take up this bill.  Here is what you can do to make it happen:

1)   Communicate this call to action to your organizational network

2)   Send note to Senate Judiciary Committee requesting that they take up the bill:  vermont-senate-judiciary@googlegroups.com

3)   Call state house and ask your Senator and Chairman Sears to act now. Here is the number:  828.2228

Go here to see what the Coalition has drafted as proposed language for the bill.

Coalition background research

We will be unable to truly address any of our social issues at their core, unless we address systemic racism.

Now is the time!

Racial Justice Reform Coalition



Racial Justice Reform Coalition Receives Human Rights Award


Contact: Erin Rose, Justice For All Outreach Director: 802.272.8392

Racial Justice Reform Coalition Receives Human Rights Award

Montpelier, Vermont, December 19, 2017 – The Racial Justice Reform Coalition, an organization anchored by Justice For All, a Vermont racial justice organization announced that it received a Human Rights Award from the Rights and Democracy Educational Fund on December 10, 2017.  James Haslam, Rights and Democracy Executive Director said that, “this was a logical choice, given societal impact of systemic racism both nationally and in Vermont”.  James Duff Lyall, Executive Director of the Vermont ACLU, a member of the Coalition agreed, ““It’s critically important that we build on concentrated and sustained efforts to mitigate systemic racism in Vermont—and that we take action.”

The Award was for “Advancing the effort for Vermont to address systemic racial disparities in Statewide systems of criminal and juvenile justice.” ACT 54, Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel, created an advisory panel to address systemic racism in the criminal and juvenile justice systems and empowered the Attorney General and the Human Rights Commission to make recommendations to address the same across all other systems. The Fair and Impartial Policing Policy was addressed in the legislation as well. Ellen Shwartz, President of the Vermont Worker’s Center, a member organization of the Coalition said “the passage of this law is a public acknowledgement that systemic racism exists…we need to ensure that Vermont is uprooting systemic racism not only in our justice system, but also in other areas…”

The Racial Justice Reform Coalition has remained active in monitoring Act 54 implementation and undertaking other initiatives related to racial justice reform in Vermont. A Racial Justice Reform Coalition Winter Gathering will take place on December 21st in the Montpelier Room at

the Capitol Plaza Hotel at 4:00 PM. to acknowledge the work and unveil the 2018 Legislative Agenda. There will be refreshments, live music and a cash bar. The event is being announced as being open to the public. “Racial discrimination crosses all lines, including disability and the intersection of discrimination of people with disabilities who are also people of color continues to be problematic. Real solutions, like that of a continued legislative platform offers hope that will allow us to look at data and combat this problem openly and together” said Sarah Launderville, Executive Director of Vermont Center for Independent Living, another Coalition organization.



About Justice For All
Justice for All pursues racial justice within Vermont’s criminal justice system through advocacy, education, and relationship-building.

Awards, Gatherings, Campaigns and an Amazing Video

Advancing the effort for Vermont to address systemic racial disparities in statewide systems of the criminal and juvenile justice

Racial Justice Reform Coalition Receives Human Rights Award

The Racial Justice Reform Coalition was honored with a Human Rights Award last evening at the Rights and Democracy Annual Meeting. The award was for “Advancing the effort for Vermont to address systemic racial disparities in statewide systems of the criminal and juvenile justice” A huge shout out of thanks goes to EVERYONE who helped make this possible. The Racial Justice Reform Coalition is a group of over 30 organizations that collaborated in winning the passage of Act 54, Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel. The Coalition has remained engaged throughout the implementation process of what is being touted as the most impactful racial justice legislation in Vermont history to date. Their 2018 Legislative agenda is expected introduce novel approaches to addressing systemic racism as well as double down Vermont’s approach in protecting the civil liberties of people of color across the state.

Racial Justice Reform Coalition Winter Gathering

Justice For All’s December meeting will be at the The “Winter Gathering”. This will be at the Capitol Plaza Hotel and Conference Center on December 21st at from 4:.00 till 8:00 PM. Please make sure that you make it. We’re planning a time that you won’t want to miss. Here is the event. https://www.facebook.com/events/1589912937731362/

Be mindful of the RSVP and bring the kids, we’ll have a space for them in the room.

You can support this event below and we’ll be sure to get your name or organization’s name on the program and slide show.

If you would like to sponsor you can get your organization’s name on the program and slide show as well as make a place for one of your monster banners.

Poor People’s Campaign:  National Call for a Moral Revival

Planning is underway to continue the roll-out of the Vermont Poor People’s Campaign: National Call for a Moral Revival. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @VTPPC as well as Instagram vtppcampaign and sign the national pledge card below. We’ll let you know what is next. Here are some word from the Co-chairs.

“Our nation needs a moral revival. Systemic racism. Poverty. A war economy. Ecological destruction. A distorted national morality. These enmeshed evils are tearing apart the country’s social fabric.

That’s why today, poor and disenfranchised people, clergy and moral leaders nationwide are launching the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Will you join us https://poorpeoplescampaign.org/

Fifty years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King and others called for the original Poor People’s Campaign to foster a revolution of values in America. But that vision was tragically cut short.

With extremists who stand against voting rights, living wages, health care and immigration reform gaining even more influence today in Washington and in statehouses across the country, the need for a new moral movement in the U.S. is more urgent than ever.

Today we announced our movement will unite tens of thousands of people across the country to engage in direct action at statehouses and the U.S. Capitol next spring – a six-week protest highlighted by one of the largest waves of civil disobedience in U.S. history.

We need you to step up and join our efforts https://poorpeoplescampaign.org/

Please add your name if you’re ready to join our movement to transform the political, economic and moral structures of the country.

Together, we can make this country live up to its ideals.

Rev. Dr. William Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Co-Chairs, Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

P.S. Our movement is uniting people of every race, sex, creed, sexuality and party behind a common moral agenda. Add your name https://poorpeoplescampaign.org/ and join our movement for a moral revival in this country.”

Released December 4th, 2017

Here is an awesome video. Click here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiyLmwPHhF8&feature=youtu.be

Official Lift Off of the Poor People’s Campaign: National Call For A Moral Revival


The Poor People’s Campaign is here!

50 years ago, on December 4, 1967, the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. announced plans for a Poor People’s Campaign and called on the nation to take dramatic steps to end poverty and combat inequality. This multi-racial organizing effort and the dream of a fairer nation was assassinated along with Dr. King four months later to the day, on April 4, 1968.

The Poor People’s Campaign of Vermont will be live streaming “We a Are Here, A Poor People’s Call for a Moral Revival” at the Unitarian Church in Montpelier, starting at 6:30 PM.  We will start with freedom songs locally. We will then go live to Washington DC, at the Howard Theatre to view a program honoring the civil rights movement and the emergence of a new energy for a moral revival. This event will feature the Kairos Center, Repairers Of The Breach, Ben and Jerry’s, The Campaign For Black Male Achievement, and multiple artists including Aloe Blacc, Sweet Honey In The Rock, J. Period and a special performance by Maxwell. This concert affirmation coincides with the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s initial 1967 Campaign Call. It will be a night of reflection, inspiration and an opportunity for action.

About Poor People’s Campaign: PPC was created on December 4, 1967, by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and its leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to address the impact of poverty on the lives of millions of Americans.

If you are ready to pledge to action in the Vermont Poor People’s Campaign, please fill out the national pledge card here:

To read more about the campaign, visit poorpeoplescampaign.org

Here is the event:


Vermont Poor People’s Campaign
Organizing Committee




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  1. Prohibits information sharing with federal immigration authorities when not required by federal law;
  2. Protects victims and witnesses of crimes, regardless of immigration status;
  3. Ensures that Vermonters living and working close to the northern border not be subject to profiling;
  4. Limits deportation agents’ access to individuals in the custody of Vermont law enforcement; and
  5. Contains clear directives within the FIPP regarding Training, Compliance, Accountability, and Supervision.

The current FIPP was written with strong input from the the Human Rights Commission, human rights and racial justice organizations. In September, 2017 the policy was reviewed by the Vermont Attorney General’s office and determined to be compliant with immigration law and adopted by the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council.  Act 54 states that the Criminal Justice Training Council, “in consultation with stakeholders… shall update its model fair and impartial policing policy to provide one cohesive model policy for law enforcement agencies…”

The version of the policy that the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council is NOW proposing severely compromises the tenets of transparency and accountability.  It also departs from previously agreed language limiting local law enforcement’s role in immigration enforcement.

The policy is an important tool in the fight for racial justice in our state, but only if it includes measures for real accountability and real protections for people who are most likely to be targeted by law enforcement.

It’s time to take action for racial justice in Vermont. Our state’s Fair and Impartial Policing Policy (FIPP) is under attack.  This is an important document that creates safeguards from biased policing and ensures that all of us receive equal treatment under the law, regardless of race, ethnicity, immigration status, national origin, religion, gender or any other aspect of who we are or how we’re perceived by law enforcement.


Racial Disparities Panel Agenda

        Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice
Systems Advisory Panel

3 October, 2017 6:00pm
 110 State Street, Montpelier

1)   Housekeeping
a.    Standing Date and location
b.    Extending
c.    Communication
d.    Administrative and professional support (Per diem)

2)   Guiding principlesa.
a. Community involvement (evening)
b.    Transparency and accountability
c.    Commitment (top involvement and training)
d.    Common Understanding (Blue Lives  Matter/ White supremacy)
e.    The system is the whole system (contractors – Statewide CJC Network, etc)

3)   Updates on Act 54 (standing agenda item)

4)   Public Comments (standing agenda item)

5)   AG Report Progress  – to committee (standing agenda item)

6)   Proposed Working Group Sessions – Discuss disparities in the Criminal Justice System and determine three most high impact / high discretion decision point.  Solicit public participation in each group.(standing agenda item)
a.    Law enforcement – De-escalation, Use of Force training policy and data collection
b.    Defender General
c.    States Attorneys
d.    Judges
e.    Corrections
f.     Community – Develop plan for education
g.    Horizontal – Data collection review, data collection, training and policy

7)  Recommendations to Legislature (standing agenda item)
a.    Public complaint process (all state government systems)
b.    Weather and how to implement racial profiling laws
c.    Expansion of data collection by law enforcement