As Vermonters, it is crucial that we each understand and acknowledge the generational harm that systemic racism causes on the lived experiences of people of color in this state. When a moral society shuns overt acts of racism and bigotry, communities must actively work towards becoming anti-racist in all forms from daily microaggressions and microinvalidations in the workplace or in our schools to championing legal remedies that aim to eradicate inequity.
Therefore, we are asking you to seriously consider taking this pledge created in coordination with Kiah Morris:
Following the racist and sexist harassment that led the resignation of Representative Kiah Morris from her seat, as well as the ongoing ways that people of color in Vermont are marginalized and harmed from both overt and subtle, as well as personal and systemic forms of racism, I am committed to doing more. I pledge to do more to promote meaningful diversity, equity, and inclusion in my life every day.
I pledge to work to undo racism in myself and my community.
To put my pledge in action, I promise to learn more about the history and impacts that systemic racism has in our lives. As such, in signing this pledge, I agree to actively participate in the Peace & Justice Center’s Stand for Racial Justice/Stand with Kiah statewide reading program. As a first step, I will read at least one of the following books and join a discussion group either in person or via remote video calling:
- People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. Facilitated by Netdahe Stoddard. (Wednesday, May 15, 5:30-7:30pm at Sterling College in Craftsbury. Remote book discussion TBD)
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Facilitated by Kina Thorpe and Marianne Hunkin. (Sunday, June 9, 12-2pm in St Albans; Wednesday, June 12, 1-3pm in Montpelier; Remote book discussion on Thursday, June 27, 6-8pm.) This book discussion is specifically geared towards youth, but all are welcome to participate.
- Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation by Derald Wing Sue. Facilitated by Kiah Morris and Rachel Siegel. (Sunday, June 9, 1-3pm in Bennington; Remote book discussion on Monday, June 10, 6-8pm)
- The Fire This Time by Jesmyn Ward. Facilitated by Kina Thorpe and Karin Ames. (Tuesday, June 25, 5:30-7:30pm in Colchester; Remote book discussion on Sunday, June 23, 4-5:30pm)
- JUST ADDED! Black is the Body by Emily Bernard. Facilitated by Emily Bernard. (Friday, July 12, 6:30-8:30pm at the Peace & Justice Center).
How the reading program works:
- Facilitated discussions will be hosted in various locations around the state and all participants will have the ability to participate remotely via video-conference as well.
- There is a fee of $50 to participate but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. $10 for people under 18. $5.00 from each registration will go to Kiah’s GoFundMe to support her family. The remainder pays for program costs including books, facilitator fees, etc. Any left over funds will support PJC’s ongoing racial justice programming. You can pay online here.
- Wherever possible, a limited number of books will be available to those who need to borrow one at no cost.
- You do not have to participate in each discussion or reading, but a minimum of one book and discussion is expected.
Space in discussion groups are limited.
After the reading group:
You will be added to an online forum for folks to continue to work in community to address racism. Ideas that might be explored include hosting racial justice educational workshops; more book discussions; sharing resources; and joining racial justice action groups as members, donors, and/or volunteers (e.g. Justice for All, Migrant Justice, Black Lives Matter Greater Burlington, NAACP Windham County or Rutland Area, or the Peace & Justice Center).