Proposal for a Senate Resolution Requesting that the 2019 Senate Amend the Constitution, Removing Reference to Slavery

 

 
Call 802.828.2228 and ask your Senator to take up this Resolution.  Find your Senator here: https://legislature.vermont.gov/people/search/2018  Also, send a note to the Senate Judiciary Committee at this address: vermont-senate-judiciary@googlegroups.com  Subject line: “Constitutional Amendment –  Slavery” 

Senate resolution relating to encouraging its members, in 2019, to initiate an amendment to the Vermont Constitution regarding the removal of all reference to slavery. 

Whereas, the original Vermont Constitution of 1777, allowed for the holding of males until the age of 21, females until the age of 18 and anyone bound by law for payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like to be held as slaves.

Whereas, the revised Vermont Constitution of 1786, continued to allow for the holding of males until the age of 21, females until the age of 18 and anyone bound by law for payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like to be held as slaves.

Whereas, the adopted Vermont Constitution of 1793, continued to allow for the holding of males until the age of 21, females until the age of 18 and anyone bound by law for payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like to be held as slaves

Whereas, the Vermont Constitution being amended by Conventions in 1828, 1836, 1850, and 1870, continued to allow for the holding of males until the age of 21, females until the age of 18 and anyone bound by law for payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like to be held as slaves

Whereas, the Vermont Constitution being amended by the people in 1883 and 1913 continued to allow for the holding of males until the age of 21, females until the age of 18 and anyone bound by law for payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like to be held as slaves 

Whereas, the Vermont Constitution being amended by the people in 1924 continued to allow for the holding of males until the age of 21, changed the age of females from 18 to 21 and continued to allow anyone bound by law for payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like to be held as slaves

Whereas, the Vermont Constitution being amended by the people 27 additional times, 25 of which were ratified, the last of which being as recent as 2010, to this day continues to allow for the holding of males AND females until the age of 21 and anyone bound by law for payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like to be held as slaves.

Whereas, Vermont is the ONLY state in the United States that constitutionally allows for the holding of males AND females until the age of 21 and anyone bound by law for payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like to be held as slaves.

Whereas, every voter solemnly swears (or affirms) that whenever they giving their vote or suffrage, touching any matter that concerns the State of Vermont, they will do it so as in their conscience they shall judge will most conduce to the best good of the same, as established by the Constitution, without fear or favor of any person.

Whereas, every officer, whether judicial, executive, or military, in authority under this State, solemnly swears (or affirms) that they will be true and faithful to the State of Vermont, and that they will not, directly or indirectly, do any act or thing injurious to the Constitution or Government thereof.

Whereas, every State Representative solemnly swears (or affirms) that as a member of the Assembly, they will not propose, or assent to, any bill, vote or resolution, which shall appear to them injurious to the people, nor do nor consent to any act or thing whatever, that shall have a tendency to lessen or abridge their rights and privileges, as declared by the Constitution of this State.

Whereas, the Vermont Constitution is the foundation of governmental structure, political processes, and limitations on the use of power and underpins all of the laws of the Green Mountain State of Vermont.

Resolved by the Senate:

That the Senate of the State of Vermont encourages its members, in 2019, to initiate a Vermont Constitutional Amendment to read as follows:

 “Article 1. [All persons born free; their natural rights; slavery prohibited]

“That all persons are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent, and unalienable rights, amongst which are the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety; therefore no person born in this country, or brought from over sea, ought to be holden by law, to serve any person as a servant, slave or apprentice. , after arriving to the age of twenty-one years, unless bound by the person’s own consent, after arriving to such age, or bound by law for the payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like.”

“VOTER QUALIFICATIONS OF FREEMEN AND FREEWOMEN”

  • 42. [VOTER’S QUALIFICATIONS AND OATH

S.281 Voted out of Senate Government Operations (5-0) Independent and Funded! – It’s up to Senate Appropriations Now!

“Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to work to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.Why We Can’t Wait

 

Ask Senate Appropriations to Fund S.281 and PASS it  out of Committee ASAP

All,

This bill which was originally intended to create a commission to mitigate systemic racism in Vermont, was passed out of Senate Government Operations as a funded AND independent body (5-0). Now it is up to Senate Appropriations to approve the funding and they need to do it quick!  They will get the bill on the 13th and Appropriations cross-over is on the 16th of March!  There is little if any time to delay!

This could likely be the most important bill that the Senate passes this session.  Please ask Senate Appropriations to immediately fund and  pass S.281 out of Committee. Please pass this call to action to EVERYONE on your mailing list.

  1. Call the Statehouse and leave a message for Senators, Kitchel, Nitka, Sears, Starr, McCormack, Ashe, Westman and Balint with S.281 in the subject line, asking that the committee “immediately fund and pass S.281 out of Senate Appropriations Committee.”
  2. Please send an email to this address vermont-senate-appropriations@googlegroups.com, requesting that they “immediately fund and pass S.281 out of Senate Appropriations Committee.” Make sure that S.281 is in the subject line.
  3. PLEASE submit any statements and testimony NOW! Include your name, your title, your organization, the date and the bill (S.281) on your statement or testimony.   You can send them here: vermont-senate-appropriations@googlegroups.com

Here is the bill as voted out of senate Senate Government Operations. Here is the Coalition systemic racism research document and again the  Q&A to verse you in the bill background and details.

Systemic Racism Equity Commission Heating up in Vermont House and Senate

Senate Government Operations: PASS S.281 out of Committee as a FUNDED Independent Commission

All,

Please ask Senate Government Operations to pass S.281 out of Committee as a FUNDED INDEPENDENT Systemic Racism Mitigation Commission.  Senate Government Operations has had S.281 since January 3rd“  Now is not the time for analysis paralysis on forming a commission to address systemic racism mitigation.

Senate Government Operations continues to flirt with ideas like placing the commission under the Governor’s Office; in the Governor’s Office as an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; in the Human Rights Commission’s Office.  None of these options will give the Commission the independence autonomy required to focus on SYSTEMIC RACISM MITIGATION.  There will be another hearing on Wednesday, February 21st at 2:00 PM.  Come out with us to ask that this vital legislation be voted out of Committee.

  1. Please pass this call to action to EVERYONE on your mailing list.
  2. SHOW UP on Wednesday! and bring your #racialjusticereformvt placard
  3. Please call the Statehouse and leave a message for Senators, White, Clarkson, Ayer, Pearson, Balint and Ashe (with S.281 in the subject line) asking that the committee “use the amendment offered by the coalition and supported and vote S.281 out of Senate Government Operations as a FUNDED INDEPENDENT Commission” 802.828.2228
  4. Please send an email to this address vermont-senate-government-operations@googlegroups.com requesting the bill be “use the amendment offered by the coalition and supported by the sponsor AND vote S.281 out of Senate Government Operations as a FUNDED INDEPENDENT Commission” (please place S.281 in the subject line)

Here is the bill as introduced and the proposed amendment that the coalition and bill sponsor are putting forward.  Here is the Coalition systemic racism research document and again the  Q&A  to S.281 to verse you in the bill background and details.

House Government Operations: PASS H.868 out of
Committee as a FUNDED Independent Commission 

The House Judiciary, on the advice of Representative Christie chose NOT TO TAKE UP H.868.  Their reasoning was that they wanted to “wait and see what comes over from the Senate”, with crossover less than a month away and the real potential of the bill returning to House Judiciary for additional work!  The bill is now in House Government Operations.   This bill (also submitted by the Racial Justice Reform Coalition, largely reflects our intent but our last proposed revisions missed the deadline.  We’d like to discuss and debate these proposed amendments but we can’t do it unless the bill is taken up.   Help us get the bill out of Committee as a FUNDED INDEPENDENT Commission! 

  1. Please pass this call to action to EVERYONE on your mailing list.
  2. Please call the Statehouse and leave a message for Representatives, Townsend, LaClair, Kitzmiller, Brumsted, Devereux, Gannon, Gardner, Harrison, Lewis, Toleno, Weed, Korwinski and Speaker Johnson to “take up, amend and vote H.868 out of House Judiciary as a FUNDED INDEPENDENT Commission” 802.828.2228
  3. Please send an email to this address vermont-house-government-operations@googlegroups.com requesting them to “take up, amend and vote H.868 out of House Government Operations as a FUNDED INDEPENDENT Commission”( please place H.868 in the subject line).

Here is the Coalition systemic racism research document and the  Q&A on H.868 to verse you in the bill background and details.

Please print this placard and bring it with you on the day of testimony

 

Testimony on Fair and Impartial Policing Policy, Act 54 and S.281 Opens

 

Delivering on a promise of hope and a future…

Great News,

We have an exciting week coming up!

First Senate Government Operations will be taking testimony on the Fair and Impartial Policing Policy, Act 54 and S.281 on Wednesday, January 24th.  Testimony will be in the Ethan Allen Room at the Statehouse and will start right after the Senate returns from the floor.

Here is more on the Testimony Day  https://www.facebook.com/events/810182899153124/

Print this placard and bring it with you on the day of testimony

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

After the Floor – Ethan Allen Room          Fair and Impartial Policing Model Policy

  • Rick Gauthier, Director, VT Criminal Justice Training Council
  • Jay Diaz, Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union – Vermont
  • Will Lambek, Migrant Justice
  • Enrique Balcazar, Farm worker, Migrant Justice
  • Keith Clark, Sheriff, Windham County Sheriff’s Department

2:30          Act 54

An act relating to the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel

  • T.J. Donovan, Vermont Attorney General
  • Mark Hughes, Justice for All
  • Karen L. Richards, Executive Director, Vermont Human Rights Commission
  • David Scherr, Assistant Attorney General, Vermont Attorney General’s Office

3:30          S. 281 – An act relating to the Systemic Racism Mitigation Oversight and Equity Review Board

Walkthrough

  • Brynn Hare, Legislative Counsel, Office of Legislative Council
  • Curtiss Reed, Executive Director, Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity
  • Diana Wahle, Community Equity Collaborative
  • Mark Hughes, Justice for All

Secondly, don’t forget to come out for Systemic Racism Awareness Legislative Day!  Here you learn more about the issue and how it impacts us in Vermont. We’ll also offer an overview of the S.281 and help you with some tools that will be helpful in discussing it.

Find out more and sign up here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1582993471821380/

As aways here are some things that you can DO:

  • Offer testimony on on the 24th (personally or written)
  • Show up at the Legislative Day on the 25th
  • Communicate this call to action to your organizational network
  • Send note to Senate Government Operations Committee requesting that they vote the bill out of Committee  vermont-senate-government-operations@googlegroups.com
  • Call state house and ask them to pass a message to Senators, White, Balint and Ashe, asking them to pass the bill out of committee now. Here is the number:  828.2228

Forward Together!

 

 

#RacialJusticeReformVT

 

Ask Senator White and the Senate Government Operations Committee to Take up S.281 to address Systemic Racism

Addressing Systemic Racism in Vermont

All,

Last session we passed a historic bill that (H.308, Act 54) that directed additional analysis on an issue that most all of us already knew existed. We spoke of it in terms in which people are generally more comfortable.  Racial disparities.  The truth is that instead of discussing the product of this national sin, we must move to discussing and addressing it at its root. Systemic racism.

Here is the report that was directed by Act 54, released last month by the Attorney General and Human Rights Commission.  The Disparities Panel Report is forthcoming.

Systemic racism is not simply about racism.  It has also historically been used to create wealth and power..and poverty, the vast majority which in number has been assigned to white people.  It has also been used to justify and sustain war.

S.281  will establish a commission that has the responsibility of managing an ongoing mitigation program!  After the bill is taken up, we will have an opportunity to offer amendments.  Go here to see what the Coalition has drafted as proposed language for the bill.

You might ask how you can help.  Here are some ways:

1)   Communicate this call to action to your organizational network

2)   Send note to Senate Government Operations Committee requesting that they take up the bill: vermont-senate-government-operations@googlegroups.com

3)   Call state house and ask them to pass a message to Senators, White, Balint and Ashe, asking them to take this important bill up now. Here is the number:  828.2228.

#racialjusticereformvt

“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods… of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

Dr King, Letter from Birmingham

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

 

All,

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 Government Operations Committee requesting that they take up the bill: vermont-senate-government-operations@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

#racialjusticereformvt

Racial Justice Reform Coalition Receives Human Rights Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

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.

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

Vermonters,

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:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScTvNlethQeIs9LTH2PNaesZ-xUYQIsvtM_oVhjZFpfJeQgbQ/viewform

If you can’t join us in person, the event will be broadcast live at the Repairers on the Breach website:
https://www.breachrepairers.org/#news-section

To read more about the campaign, visit poorpeoplescampaign.org

Here is the event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1750326621937244/

 

Vermont Poor People’s Campaign
Organizing Committee

#MoralRevival

#PoorPeoplesCampaign

#GivingTuesday

Friends and supporters,

We have two days for getting deals – Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On #GivingTuesday, we have a day for giving back. Together, people are creating a new ritual for our annual calendar. #GivingTuesday is the opening day of the giving season: a reminder of the “reason for the season.”Over this past years we have worked with coalition partners to successfully deliver the Vermont Fair and Impartial Policing Policy, Law Enforcement Professional Regulation and the Act 54 (Racial Disparities Panel). Our work continues with numerous community outreach activities, Vermont Justice Coalition, the Racial Justice Reform Coalition and much more, but we need your help to continue.

Can you help us to continue the work of addressing systemic racism in the criminal justice system and beyond?  Here are four quick ways that you can be a part of this work:

                                                       

Thanks and Happy Holidays!

P.S.

Don’t forget about the The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.  Vermont’s New Poor Peoples Campaign will serve as a vehicle for us to take the people’s agenda to the statehouse.  Sign the National Pledge Card here and be on the lookout for details on the December 4th (3:30 PM) Press Conference and Viewing Party of the Poor People’s Campaign National Launch: A National Call for Moral Revival in Washington, DC (hold the date).

#MoralRevival
#PoorPeoplesCampaign

Mark Hughes,
ED, JFA

#racialjusticereformvt

FBI warns of “Black Identity Extremists” Pose growing Threat to Law Enforcement

This was printed in the New York Daily October 7th, 2017.   You can find a copy of the FBI report here.
This is deeply disturbing in that we have moved to a return of CoIntelPro, an FBI Counterintelligence program. The mission was “to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or OTHERWISE NEUTRALIZE [emphasis added] the activities of black nationalist hate-type organizations and groupings, their leadership, spokesmen, membership, and supporters, and to counter their propensity for violence and civil disorder.”
This operation was REAL.  Here is the first of 23 documents on CoIntelPro (against African Americans) from the FBI Vault.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Saturday, October 7, 2017, 12:50 AM

FBI Intelligence Assessment document: "Black Identity Extremists Likely Motivated to Target Law Enforcement Officers," dated Aug. 3, 2017.

FBI Intelligence Assessment document: "Black Identity Extremists Likely Motivated to Target Law Enforcement Officers," dated Aug. 3, 2017. (FBI)

While white supremacists were planning to rally in Charlottesville, Va., the FBI’s counterterrorism unit identified “black identity extremists” as a growing threat, it has been revealed.

The FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit, which dubbed the group BIE, said “perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement,” according to an Aug. 3 report obtained by Foreign Policy.

Citing Michael Brown’s 2014 death in Ferguson, Mo., as the catalyst, the FBI listed specific cases, saying it was “likely the BIE suspects acted in retaliation for perceived past police brutality incidents.”

Among them was Micah Johnson, a former Army reservist who shot dead five Dallas police officers during a peaceful protest against police violence last year.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi
Officers in riot gear confronted demonstrators protesting Michael Brown's death on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014 in Ferguson, Mo.(JAMES KEIVOM/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

There have been 98 law enforcement fatalities this year so far, compared to 102 during the same period last year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Among the fatalities in 2017, 36 were firearms-related– down from 44 this time last year– while the vast majority were attributed to traffic accidents, fires, illnesses and other causes.

In comparison, 748 people have been shot and killed by police in 2017, according to a database maintained by the Washington Post.

 The term “black identity extremists” appears to be a new term, and some contested the phrase for suggesting a cohesive, overarching ideology.
An undated image of Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, who fatally shot five officers in July 2016.
An undated image of Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, who fatally shot five officers in July 2016. (FACEBOOK)

One former homeland security official told Foreign Policy, “They are grouping together Black Panthers, black nationalists, and Washitaw Nation.”

“Imagine lumping together white nationals, white supremacists, militias, neo-Nazis, and calling it ‘white identity extremists,” the official said. “The race card is being played here deliberately.”

Malcolm Nance, a counterterrorism expert who served in the U.S. Navy, wrote on Twitter, “I train law enforcement intelligence in counterterrorism all over nation & “Black Identity Extremism” doesn’t exist. It’s a made up term.”

Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson pointed to the FBI’s long history of surveilling black activists, highlighting his own personal experience with the FBI visiting his home and told FP, “This is not surprising.”

The FBI issued a report in May warning white supremacist violence was growing.
The FBI issued a report in May warning white supremacist violence was growing. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

The FBI, which issued a report in May warning white supremacist violence was growing, identified BIE as a threat just nine days before far-right groups descended on Charlottesville.

President Trump was heavily criticized for his response after three people died, saying there were “fine people” on both sides.