We Call For Racial Justice Reform AND a Constitutional Amendment
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We Call For Racial Justice Reform and An Amendment That Removes All Reference To Slavery From The Constitution.
The racial climate in The United states continues to deteriorate with shootings of African Americans by law enforcement and even murders of law enforcement officers! Vermont is not immune to the unprecedented racial justice tensions that we are experiencing in the United States. Vermont ranks highest the nation at a rate of 1 in 14 African American males in State Prison (Ashley Nellis of the Sentencing project). Racial disparities in police traffic stops made by Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, UVM and State police have increased over the last number of years (McDevett, Northestern University and Seguino, UVM). Something has to be done here at home to raise the awareness of this crisis. This is the time to advance dialogue and take action on racial disparities in Vermont
We feel strongly that there many steps that can be taken to address challenge in Vermont.
We call for a Constitutional Amendment that eliminates all reference to slavery from the Vermont State Constitution. We are also calling on legislators to provide appropriate funding to implement effective transparency into the criminal justice system. Grants must also be funded to provide resources for racial justice organizations for research, training and education. Vermont must make racial profiling illegal. Legislators should integrate Racial Impact Assessments into the law making process. Anti-bias training for all law enforcement officers must be expedited. Anti-bias policy and training must be implemented for all of the remainder of justice system personnel immediately. It must be enforcedly mandated that race traffic stop, use of force, plea, sentencing and other metrics related data be made publicly available to the fullest extent the law permits. It is imperative that law enforcement civilian oversight (with a community reporting apparatus, independent investigative, and prosecutorial and decertification powers) be implemented to reinforce trust and legitimacy in communities of color and increase overall public safety. S.W.A.T. or other heavy-handed punitive policing tactics to address suspected drug crimes must be prohibited and replaced with use of data-driven and community oriented policing.
Racial disparities in Vermont touches additionally upon access to housing, educational institutions, access to healthcare, employment and various aspects of the political process. It is for this reason that we are asking that the Governor appoint a Racial Justice Oversight Board with the responsibility of administering a program that continuously assesses, reviews and addresses racial disparities in Vermont.
We provide Black Lives Matter Vermont Demands for additional guidance.
We call on the Vermont Democratic Party to incorporate a central focus on racial justice into our debates and state platform and ensure delegates and elected officials are inclusive of people of color.
I am an army retired african american, Cabot Town Chair and currently contending as a Delegate to the National Convention. I am also the co-founder of Justice For All (a racial justice organization that works to identify and dismantle institutionalized racism while healing and empowering communities). Racism has had a direct impact on me on a very personal level here in Vermont and my hope is that something in the Bernie political revolution will change that and enable us to move from the false narrative of denial to one of acceptance and change .
The problem is that as the Bernie national campaign is telling us Black Lives Matter on a daily basis, the democratic establishment in Vermont remains mute and unresponsive on the topic. I am headed to our Democratic State Convention with hopes to represent Vermont as a Delegate at the National Convention and I can't tell you how deafeningly silent the Vermont Democratic Party is on racial justice. It's disturbing that we live in such a paradox where there is one message the national level and quite another at home.
Please sign this petition and stand with me to make Bernie's racial justice vision a reality here in Vermont!
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