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 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 elected officials in Vermont ensure the effective implementation of Act 54 (2017) and Act 9 (2018 Special Session).