Mourning the Loss of Black Lives: Rally and March


Wednesday 7/12/16      5-7pm 

Pliny Park, Brattleboro (corner of Main St & High St Downtown)

stop killing black people
image by Micah Bazant

Black drivers are nearly five times more likely to be searched after a traffic stop in Vermont than white drivers. In this same state that prides itself on its progressive politics, Black people are incarcerated at more than 10 times the rate of white people, which is double the national average. (Data from Center for Criminal Justice Policy Research at Northeastern University)

As a response to recent and ongoing killings of Black people by police around the country and the reality of white supremacy in our everyday lives, members of the Brattleboro community are collaborating with Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity, Lost River Racial Justice and Brattleboro Solidarity in calling folks together for a nonviolent rally. Please join us at Pliny Park on Wednesday, July 13, from 5-7pm to mourn the loss of Black lives and lift up the work of racial justice organizing here and across the country.

We invite folks to participate in the following events and actions:

+ Publicly sharing our grief and calling for change in a nonviolent gathering and march.

+ Speaking the names of the 136 Black people killed by police so far in 2016.

+ Writing letters to elected officials to demand an increase in people of color and community oversight of Vermont Police Academy curriculum and allocating funds for implicit bias training.

+ Build connections around future community response actions and regional racial justice organizing.

Lost River Racial Justice is hosting a meeting, training, and sign-making session in coordination with and preparation for the rally on Tuesday 7/12 at the Root Social Justice Center at 7pm. Please come fragrance free. Event page here:

#BlackLivesMatter #AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile #BrattleboroBlackLivesMatter

Media Coordination:

We want the ripples of this march to extend even beyond Southern VT! To that end, we’re asking that you post pictures, quotes, updates, videos, etc, with the hashtag ‪#‎brattleboroblacklivesmatter‬, in addition to all other relevant hashtags (‪#‎blm‬‪#‎blacklivesmatter‬‪#‎surj‬,‪#‎standingupforracialjustice‬‪#‎endwhitesilence‬‪#‎nojusticenopeace‬,‪#‎sayhername‬‪#‎M4BLPledge‬) to your social media accounts.

Please post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, anywhere and everywhere about this event!


Showing Up for Racial Justice After Pro-Trump Robocalls

March 1, 2016
by Davey Shlasko and Camille Robertson, for Lost River Racial Justice

Last week, many Vermonters received automated calls from the leader of the American National Super PAC, a Super PAC affiliated with a white supremacist organization whose extreme views include seeking the deportation of anyone with “non-white blood” [1] [2]. The recording bemoans how white people are afraid to be called racist, and urges people to instead openly embrace racist views. It begins and concludes by endorsing Donald Trump.

These calls – not only the policies they propose, but the calls themselves – are a form of racist violence. They cause emotional and psychological harm by asserting that white people are better than everyone else and by threatening Vermonters who are people of color with deportation, segregation, and more. By tapping into white people’s fears and offering false racist solutions, they provide a ready excuse for those who would continue this verbal violence, as well for physical violence like the string of assaults we’ve seen in the past few days across the US.

The caller repugnantly claims that “few schools anymore have beautiful white children as the majority.” In addition to the mean-spirited and dangerous portrayal of children of color as not beautiful, he implies that white children are harmed by diverse educational environments. In fact, the opposite is true – educational research has demonstrated that students learn better in diverse classrooms. Furthermore, there are ongoing problems with racism against students of color in Vermont schools, as noted in the study “Kicked Out” by Vermont Legal Aid and in demonstrations organized by Black Lives Matter Vermont just last week [3].

Most white Vermonters don’t support the extreme racist rhetoric in this robocall and coming out of Trump’s campaign, nor the kinds of violence they call for. The one thing the call got right is that many white people are afraid to be called racist. Rather than letting that fear keep us silent, those of us who are white need to open up to the reality that we too sometimes harbor racist thoughts and enact racist behaviors, even it it’s unintentional. The point is not to say who is and isn’t “a racist,” but to recognize how individual and systemic racism occurs and figure out how we can help change it.

In this moment, white Vermonters must challenge ourselves to step off the sidelines and move into being actively anti-racist. It’s not enough to disagree with Trump in the privacy of our own homes, or even to just post our disgust on social media. This is a moment to vocally and visibly show up for racial justice, and to stand up in support of Vermont’s communities of color and against racism in all its forms.

As white people, we can show up by:

*Although SURJ nationally focuses on engaging more white people in the fight for racial justice, VT SURJ chapters are open to people of all races.

[1] Link to Seven Days article
[2] Link to VPR coverage
[3] Link to Seven Days article on Black Lives Matter event to end racism in our schools

Friday 2/12/16: Black Lives Matter Day VT

Call to Action:
Black Lives Matter Day: Racial Justice Solidarity!

February 12, 2016

Join people from across the state as we gather at the Vermont State House for Black Lives Matter Day. In 2015, Governor Peter Shumlin declared February 12th as Black Lives Matter Day, stating in the proclamation, “We must continue to reduce and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities for all populations, and support efforts to increase diversity and promote racial equality in our Green Mountain State.”

The reality is that racial and ethnic disparities in Vermont will not change unless we as people come together to educate ourselves, organize, and create strategies for change. Racial justice will happen when people of color and white people are able to come together to stand in solidarity and to hold our communities accountable to racial justice.

Join us for a day at the statehouse!
We will begin assembling at 9:15 am in the Well of the State House with the opening devolution, resolutions, and recognition of Black Lives Matter supporters. The day will continue with a press conference, speakers, the kickoff of “I am Vermont Too” project. Lunch with legislators and opportuniy to testify and the 1st convening of People of Color Caucus.

(SURJ) Standing Up for Racial Justice, groups are also encouraged to meet during this time.

For more information contact: Shela Linton at or Ebony Nyoni at