Executive Order 18-04: Systemic Racism Mitigation or Sabotage?

When the Governor vetoed S.281, issued Executive Order 18-04 He commented, “Importantly, to ensure the intent of the legislation is fulfilled without delay, I have signed Executive Order 04-18. This Executive Order is modeled after S.281 but goes further in our effort to ensure racial, ethnic and cultural diversity, equity and equality – and avoids the unconstitutional powers included in the bill”.  First to be clear the Governor’s qualm with the bill was that it did not (by design) give him the unilateral authority to remove the Director.   The bill’s language requiring a 3/5 consent of the Panel was arrived at through a in Conference Committee after objections of a complete independent model (such as the Human Rights Commission).

Executive Order 18-04 was never intended to be fulfill the original intent of the legislation by.  Executive Order 18-04is a complete diversion from any attempt to mitigate systemic systemic racism and instead rambles on with a post-racial universal approach that skillfully dodges the existence of the real problem that we are trying to address.  In fact a bipartisan Legislative Council says that S.281 was never unconstitutional. Why then did he really veto S.281? A careful examination of the Executive Order Revealed this:

  1. Any Governor has discretion to eliminate the function. Is that a move that someone who is serious about addressing systemic racism makes?
  2. Named ““Racial, Cultural and Ethnic Mitigation”. Why the name change Mr. Governor? It might be easier to say but it misses the root of the problem.
  3. Does not fund the position but requests the Secretary of Administration to review the vacancy pool to find a position. The Governor is meticulous about fiscal responsibility in every other way. Why not with systemic racism mitigation?
  4. Has no time line for implementation. If the Governor is serious about this, why would he not establish and implementation date?
  5. Defines scope to be the Executive Branch only. Why does the Governor think that the work should only be in the Executive Branch?
  6. Enables the Governor to appoint all 5 members to the Panel. Does the Governor realty think that we are going to make progress in this area by him loading the Panel with folks that tell him what he wants to hear
  7. Calls for a sole report to the Governor alone (legislative reporting is upon request). The Governor fails to see the importance of transparency and accountability in this work.
  8. Gives no oversight authority to the Panel. The Governor doesn’t seem to mind having a symbolic Panel when it coms to so called “Racial, Cultural and Ethnic Mitigation”
  9. Only requires appointees of the Governor appointees to attend training. The Governor’s limited scope for training casts serious doubt on his knowledge of the magnitude of the issue at hand.

Does the Governor really believe that Vermont should have a Systemic Racism Mitigation Law?

The legislature called the Governor on his “intent to ensure the intent of the legislation was fulfilled”.  They compromised with the Governor by removing the language from the bill that the Governor claimed was unconstitutional, in spite of the Legislative councils memo stating that it did not.  We are grateful that the  bill, introduced as S.5 in the Special Session of 2018 was in fact  signed and enacted as Act 9. We remain cautious to celebrate out of concerned that the Governor has yet to rescind this Executive Order 18-04.  What could he possibly be planning next?

Governor, please immediately rescind Executive Order 18-04.

Call to Action
Join us as we call on the the Governor to rescind Executive Order 18-04
  1. Please pass this to your network and ask them to take action
  2. Call the Governor’s office (802.828.3333) and ask him to rescind Executive Order 18-04
  3. Write the Governor’s office and ask him to rescind Executive Order 18-04
  4. Write an Op Ed or Opinion piece for your local papers (nobody is covering it)
  5. Post this and updates on social media

 


Donate to Justice For All here.

Justice For All pursues racial justice within Vermont’s criminal justice system through advocacy, education, and relationship-building.

Here are options to become a member, provide organizational support or simply provide a contribution.

Thank you for your support!

Mark Hughes
Justice For All
Racial Justice Reform Coalition

Post Resignation Letter From the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel

Download the Report here:

Download Now

A report was released by the former Chair and Vice Chair of the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel on March 2nd, 2018. Below is an email that was sent in response to mischaracterizations and attacks on the character of the Chair and Vice-Chair (some by Panel members who have never attended a meeting in the year the the panel has existed), which led to the resignation of the Chair and Vice-chair.

Email, dated 27 March, 2018

Panel Members, Racial Justice Advocates, Community Members, Constitutionally Sworn members of Public Safety, Law Enforcement, Public Servants & Elected Officials,

The purpose of this communication is to offer a few points of clarification and an opportunity for all of us to witness systemic racism in action. A “teachable moment”, if you will.  The Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel has held six meetings in as many months. Rules of engagement were disseminated in the Panel, which adopted generally agreed upon “Guiding Principles”.  Additionally, the Chair and Vice Chair consulted individually with;USAVT Office of Civil Rights Attorney, Jules Torte, ACLU Jay Diaz, Chloe White
Diane Derby, Senator Leahys Office, Karen Richards HRC, Robert Appel former HRC Director, Racial Justice Reform Coalition 30+agency members VCIL, and Individual Panel members; including Lisa Menard DOC, Ken Schatz Karen Vastine Commissioner and Executive Assistant of DCF, VTCJR Anna Stevens, CJNVT Director Julie Payne.

The Panel, through the leadership of Christine Kemp Longmore and Mark A. Hughes, then developed subcommittees on the Public Complaint Process, Racial Profiling and Data Collection as directed by the part of the charge that had a January 15, 2018 deadline attached. It is significant to note that both the reports submitted by Panel member Rick Gauthier Executive Director, VCJTC and Karen Richards HRC/David Scherr, AAG in connection to the charge of this panel were not voted on or put before a body of people to collectively author.

Our next steps in the process included, each of the Committees holding a series of meetings and reporting back to the Chair. The Panel then reviewed and discussed the draft report, in preparation for its final release. As we neared time to submit the final report, it became increasingly clear that the panel members who head criminal justice system agencies had “concerns” about the report. Even after we provided additional time and incorporated expressed concerns into the report, we were met with a chorus of agency head cries surrounding process. After conferring with Assistant Attorney General (AAG), David Scherr on these concerns (and with no objection from the AAG), the Vice Chair and I submitted the report as the Report of the Chair and Vice Chair of the Advisory Panel.

In desperation (and consistent with the system we are trying to address) various agency heads have unfairly characterized our actions suggesting that we submitted this report “ostensibly on behalf of the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel ” and suggesting that we are “Intent upon advancing their own personal agendas, rather than following the law”. Aside from the fact that it is a false statement, we will not dignify this age-old tactic of attacking the character of good people when the people who represent this system of oppression feel threatened. The report was submitted by the Chair and Vice Chair to ensure that it does not meet the agendas of the agency heads of the system, once again.

This report provides the essence of what we have gleaned from the Panel combined with extensive research and the feedback through countless hours of community engagement. Again to be clear, we did not submit this report to represent the full consensus of the Panel.  Most Agency heads have contributed little to nothing in the countless hours we have invested in research, outreach and developing this report that is attached for your review. In fact, Many have never attended a meeting. I have worked as a Police commissioner for one of the largest police departments in Vermont over the past 2 1/2 years and as an activist for over 30 years. I have seen ALL of this before as reports, advisory panels and the like come and go. This report however provides the most thorough and comprehensive framework of recommendations in Vermont State history. Agency heads have yet to articulate any specific point in this report to which they are opposed (only process, as usual). In our meeting last evening, we discovered that some agency heads have yet to read the report!

Throughout this difficult process we have been demonized and vilified with character assassination attempts and gossip. The Chair and Vice Chair resigned from the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel at our meeting the evening of March 26, 2018. We leave feeling that the Panel and the Attorney General are indebted to us for our service and should have the common decency to offer an apology for our treatment. This system is rooted in racism and has fail-safes for self-preservation. This panel was never designed to succeed. Consistent with all accounts of history, when white people with political and economic power feel threatened, they respond in all manners unmeasured. In this case the response was with attempts to censor a report and libel its authors.

The process that we used to produce this report was sound, transparent and made in good faith. We have taken extreme care in ensuring that the essence of our discussions and all concerns were taken into consideration in the preparation of this report. We stand behind every word of it and sincerely believe that it establishes a path that will redefine the criminal and juvenile justice system in Vermont. The content of the report offers hope for us, our children and generations to come. It is our sincere hope that Vermont’s elected officials and appointed officials finds the collective will to do better.

Former Chair, Christine Kemp Longmore
Former Vice Chair, Mark A. Hughes

 

3 V.S.A. § 168 established the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel in the Office of the Attorney General.  This report was provided to the ttorney General, the Human Rights Commission Executive Director, the House Speaker and the President Pro Tempe.

You can download the report, released 2 March, 2018 here.

Download Now

Former Chair and Vice Chair Response to Open Letter From Partners for Fairness and Diversity

Download the Report here:

Download Now

A report was released by the former Chair and Vice Chair of the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel on March 2nd, 2018. This is an open letter exchange with the former Chairs and Partners for Fairness and Diversity.

March 9, 2018

An Open Letter in response to:

An Open From Partners For Fairness and Diversity to Vermont’s Social/Racial Justice Activists and Act 54 Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel Members Regarding the Act 54 Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel Report

Mr. Reed

We do not acknowledge any authority that you seem to think that you possess whereby we should even dignify this letter.  It is only as a courtesy to you  and everyone included in the email you sent, I offer this review of the process.

The report, as discussed with Office of the Attorney General prior to its release, is the report of the Chair and Vice Chair of the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel.  Those who have read the report will understand that this was by design.

This was done after investing countless (unpaid) hours into this work including education and engagement with the statewide community, committee work, panel meetings and individual consultation with stakeholders.   In preparing to release the report, we began receiving pushback from the panel. At that point we invited all panel members to submit their contributions, concerns and additions in order for us to incorporate them into the final report. A few members of the panel actually honored that request.  We modified the process when it became clear that unless we stepped outside of this systemically racist process, it would just be more of the same.  It is not the responsibility of the community of color to pander after the trust of those who have political and economic power.  History has taught us that this does not move us forward. We are unapologetic in our decision.

We are not surprised but once again disappointed that Mr. Reed has emerged to be the only person of color to speak out about this report in this manner.   As he has derailed numerous efforts lead by people of color in the past, stood in the way of the creation of Act 54 and currently serves as an obstacle to S.281, he has proven once again that he does not represent the people of color of this state.  We can only assume that it is likely because his lucrative contracts with the state (including post academy anti-bias training of state troopers) that he consistently chooses such path. Being clear, this adversely reflects upon the system that employs him more so than anything.

We have no intention of entertaining Mr. Reed’s ridiculous suggestion that we should somehow un-ring this bell by withdrawing the report as submitted.   We will be discussing the report at our regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday at 6:00 PM, at the Sally Fox Conference Center.   For those in the community who are interested in hearing more on the report and engaging in what is sure to be lively discussions, there will be a community meeting at the Unitarian Church in Montpelier at 6:00 PM on Sunday (3/11) evening as well as at Channel 17, (294 N. Winooski Ave) in Burlington on Monday (3/12), at 6:00 PM.  Additional community meetings will follow.

Mr. Reed, If you have any additional concerns in moving forward, please feel free to reach out to us first, instead of resorting to these types of divisive approaches.

Christine Longmore
Constitutional Council of Accountability
with Law Enforcement Officials

Mark Hughes
ED, Justice For All
Racial Justice Reform Coalition,
Founding Organization

09 March 2018

An Open Letter to Vermont’s Social/Racial Justice Activists and Act 54 Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel Members Regarding the Act 54 Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel Report

Dear Social/Racial Justice Activists,

The manner of the release of the Act 54 Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel (Panel) Report by Ms. Longmore of CCALEO-VTand Mr. Hughes of Justice for All causes us great concern. Without regard to the content of the report, we are greatly concerned with the breach of democratic practice and principles.

Our understanding is that the recommendations in the report were neither debated nor voted on by the entire Panel in spite of repeated requests by Panel members. In fact the majority of Panel members voiced to the Office of the Attorney General their frustration with the lack of transparent process.

Two such dissenters, Matthew F. Valerio, Defender General and Rebecca Turner, the Defender General’s Designee to the Panel wrote, “We do not support the report because it fails to incorporate the input of the Panel’s members and it has never been subject to a vote of approval in direct contravention to the requirements of 3 V.S.A. $ 168(e): Neither have the recommendations contained in the report been reviewed to confirm they are consistent with the Panel’s statutory mandate or compatible with other laws passed by the Legislature.”

An e-mail from the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, Thomas Anderson, to Attorney General TJ Donovan, Speaker Mitzi Johnson and President Pro Tempore Tim Ash, states, “The report submitted today by Ms. Longmore and Mr. Hughes ostensibly on behalf of the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel (Panel) does not represent the views, positions or recommendations of the Department of Public Safety or the consensus of the Panel established under Act 54,” and “I would request that any public dissemination of this document by the General Assembly include this email.”

Our democracy thrives best when ideas are debated in the public square and recommendations for further action, as well as the indicators and means by which progress is measured, are jointly agreed upon. The manner with which the report was issued severely erodes democratic practice and the good faith efforts of Panel members with differing viewpoints to work collaboratively. The Vermont legislature created the Panel with the explicit expectation that proposed recommendations be debated and voted on by Panel members consistent with the Panel’s statutory mandate.

When Ms. Longmore and Mr. Hughes, as representatives of the social/racial justice movement, willfully ignore or hijack democratic principles and practices all of us in the movement suffer because leadership in the institutions we seek to change look upon us collectively with greater suspicion and distrust.

Of note, Ms. Longmore and Mr. Hughes cite reports issued by the Vermont Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights in 1999 and 2003 regarding racial discrimination in Vermont schools and in 2009 regarding racial profiling by law enforcement. As a member and Chair of the Advisory Committee for the two most recent reports I can attest to the fact that we did not abandon basic democratic principles and practices—debate was robust, points of view often divergent, and faith in ourselves abundant in the crafting and approval of recommendations. We at Vermont Partnership for Fairness & Diversity expect nothing less from the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel.

For these reasons we request by copy of this communiqué to Ms. Longmore and Mr. Hughes that they withdraw their Act 54 Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel Report and resume work within the context of established democratic practice and principles. This would include an open debate to build consensus towards and vote by all Panel members on a series of recommendations to mitigate systemic racism.

In partnership,

Curtiss Reed, Jr.
Executive Director
Vermont Partnership for Fairness & Diversity

3 V.S.A. § 168 established the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel in the Office of the Attorney General.  This report was provided to the Attorney General, the Human Rights Commission Executive Director, the House Speaker and the President Pro Tempe.

You can download the report, released 2 March, 2018 here.

Download Now

Juneteenth is a Holiday About What We Didn’t Know

 

Did you know that Governor Douglas signed a Proclamation in in 2008, announcing Juneteenth as an official holiday in Vermont (third Saturday of June). Most people don’t. Ironically (you’ll understand soon) the message never made it to us this year.

Juneteenth is one of the oldest African American holidays and commemorates the celebration that happened the day that the slaves of Texas were notified of their freedom. This announcement came about two and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation took effect. There are numerous theories and stories as to why it would have taken so long for for the word of freedom to be delivered to the slaves of Texas.  They range from the murder of a messenger to the nefarious intents of the slave owners. Whatever the reason, it is clear that some benefitted while others suffered because incredibly critical information never made it to those who needed and it most.  Vermont Juneteenth Day came and went on June 16th, with no governmental acknowledgement. No message, no press release, no blog. Nothing.  Do you see the irony yet?

Did you know that Vermont was actually NOT the first state to abolish slavery and the language permitting slavery still exists in the first Article of the Vermont Constitution? Did you know that the Senate refused to consider a resolution, urging the 2019 Senate to initiate an amendment to remove slavery from the Constitution? The Senate did however take up a similar resolution, urging the 2019 Senate to take up an ERA Constitutional Amendment.  Did you know that this past session, for the first time in history the Vermont House of Representatives introduced a resolution urging the 2019 Senate to remove all language authorizing slavery or indentured servitude from the Vermont Constitution? The House Government Operations Committee never took it up.  Constitutionalized slavery undergirds the exploitation of inmates for the purposes of political or economic gain.  Did you know that Vermont is currently exploiting inmates through the use of a program called Vermont Correctional Industries?

Did you know that the Governor vetoed the Systemic Racism Mitigation Bill (S.281) because of his concerns that he would not be able to unilaterally dismiss the Director?  Did you know that the attorneys in our nonpartisan Legislative Council produced a decision that S.281 was indeed constitutional? Did you know that the Executive Order (18-04) that the Governor released in lieu of the bill actually undermines any ability to address systemic racism? Did you know that S.5, a second version on the Systemic Racism Mitigation bill (omitting termination language) passed both chambers of the legislature and it is headed to the Governor? Systemic racism creates racial disparities in the criminal justice system, education, housing, employment, health services and economic development. In fact systemic racism is at the root of the immigration policy that is separating children from their parents at the borders of this nation today!

Just as the message failed to make it to Texas, so too is the message failing to make it to us, here is Vermont. The same truth exists today that for whatever the reason, it is clear that some benefit while others sufferer because incredibly critical information is not making it to those who need it most.

 

Mark Hughes
Ed, Justice For All

Systemic Racism Mitigation Bill (S.5) Headed Back to the Governor

All,

The Governor vetoed S.281, a Systemic Racism Mitigation bill at the end of the General Session this year.  He stated that the reason that he vetoed the bill was that the “exercise of executive authority by an inter-branch entity over a Governor violates the separation of powers dictated by the Constitution.” S.281l required the Governor to gain a majority approval from the Panel to terminate the Director.

Instead, the Governor issued Executive Order 18-04 (which falls woefully short of fulfilling the original intent of addressing systemic racism in Vermont Government).  The Governor stated that Executive Order “goes even further in our effort to ensure racial, ethnic and cultural diversity, equity and equality.” This statement alone is evidence that he misses the point of the need to address systemic racism entirely.  The executive order is riddled with flaws that cause it to be nothing more than whitewash and offers us more more of the same.  Here are some of the many ways that Executive falls short of addressing systemic racism.

  • The name of the function has been changed.
  • The Executive Order does not fund the position but requests the Secretary of Administration to review the vacancy pool to find a position.
  • There is no time line for implementation.
  • Executive Applies only to identifying and working to eradicate systemic racism in the Executive Branch.
  • The Executive Order enables the Governor to appoint all 5 members to the Panel
  • The Executive Order calls for a sole report to the Governor alone (legislative reporting is upon request and will calls only for information on the process for developing a comprehensive organizational review.
  • The Executive Order gives no oversight authority to the panel but defines its duties only as 1) help develop the job description, 2) nominate candidates, 3) meet with the Governor.
  • The Executive Order requires ONLY governor appointees to attend training on racial equity and diversity.

It is our hope that the Governor will rescind Executive Order 18-04 in that it was never designed to truly address systemic racism in Vermont.  In spite of the legislative Council taking exception to the unconstitutionality of the termination clause in S.281, the legislature just passed S.5, an identical bill (absent the language that he was opposed to).  We implore the Governor to sign S.5, a bill to address systemic racism in Vermont.  This is the second bipartisan attempt of this legislature to place this incredibly important, unprecedented bill before him.

Join us as we call on the the Governor to rescind Executive Order 18-04 and sign the Systemic Racism Mitigation bill, S.5.  It is important that we act now on this in that the duration of the special session is uncertain.
  1. Please pass this to your network and ask them to take action
  2. Call the Governor’s office and express your support for S.5 (802.828.3333)
  3. Write the Governor’s office and ask him to rescind Executive Order 18-04 and sign S.5 
  4. Write an Op Ed or Opinion piece for your local papers (nobody is covering it)
  5. Post this and updates on social media


Donate to Justice For All here.

Justice For All pursues racial justice within Vermont’s criminal justice system through advocacy, education, and relationship-building.

Here are options to become a member, provide organizational support or simply provide a contribution.

Thank you for your support!

Mark Hughes
Justice For All
Racial Justice Reform Coalition

S.281, Systemic Racism Mitigation Bill Veto Outrage

We are Outraged at the Governor’s Veto of S.281, the Systemic Racism Mitigation Bill!

Folks,

We are outraged at the Governor’s Veto of S.281, Racism the Systemic racism Mitigation bill.  The fact that he would replace the bill with an executive order speaks of his unwillingness to truly seek to address mitigating systemic racism in Vermont in any real and sustainable manner.  Of all concerns, the Governor vetoed this bill because he would not have the ability to terminate this person unilaterally, without the majority vote of an associated panel.  Legislative Council has stated that his claims that a termination process requiring a majority panel vote are simply wrong.

Addressing systemic racism by executive order leaves the fate of the entire systemic racism mitigation apparatus in the hands of the Governor who has been (with one exception) an affluent white man throughout all Vermont history.   Further, the Governor has no authority to appropriate funds for the creation of a position or the funding of panel.

We demand that the legislature immediately take action on this very important issue and immediately override this incredulous overreach of Executive power.  We cannot allow this Governor to derail the hard fought efforts placed into addressing systemic racism in Vermont.  His plan is clearly intended to wield and protect his political power, not implement a sustainable approach to mitigating systemic racism.  Please help us move a swift and decisive veto override.  Here is how you can help:

  1. Send this message to all of you friends ASAP
  2. Call you legislators, the Senate Pro Tempore and the Speaker of the House and tell them to override the veto 802.828.2228
  3. Send a note to your legislators, the Senate Pro Tempore and the Speaker of the House and ask them to override the veto
  4. Share this on your social media

Justice For All pursues racial justice within Vermont’s criminal justice system through advocacy, education, and relationship-building.
As you consider where you are investing in social justice issues, remember the racial referendum that we just experienced in our national election. Consider donating to Justice For All, an organically grown, Vermont-based racial justice organization that has been here doing the work over the past couple of years  Please help us with your membership, provide organizational support or simply provide a contribution. Help us continue this work in Vermont.

Over the past number of years we have worked to successfully deliver the Vermont Fair and Impartial Policing Policy for all law enforcement agencies in the state. We are the founding organization of the Racial Justice reform Coalition, which put forward what became Act 54, the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel.  Our latest legislative win is S.281, the Systemic Racism Mitigation legislation is headed to the Governor’s desk at the time of this update.  Our work continues with numerous community outreach activities, Vermont Justice Coalition, Coalition on Racial Justice Reform, the Law Enforcement Professional Regulation Committee and much more but we need your help to continue.Respectfully,Mark A. Hughes, ED, Justice For All

Racial Justice Reform Coalition

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call For Moral Revival Enters Week Two, Linking Systemic Racism to Poverty

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call For Moral Revival Enters Week Two, Linking Systemic Racism to Poverty

On Monday, you may have joined the Vermont Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival to launch the largest wave of nonviolent in civil disobedience in US history. This action kicked off our our six-week season of nonviolent direct action in Vermont!

For the first week, we focused on child poverty, women in poverty and people with disabilities. Monday’s actions come as the Trump administration pushes work requirements for SNAP recipients and seeks to cut $7 billion from a child healthcare program.

If you missed week one, you can catch some of the fantastic local and national news coverage!

MyNBC5

WCAX

Huffington Post

We’ve stepped out across the nation, and we are just getting started.

Our theme next week (May 20-26) is Linking Systemic Racism and Poverty: Voting Rights, Immigration, Xenophobia, Islamophobia, and the Mistreatment of Indigenous Communities. RSVP here.

This is an important issue for anyone who cares that almost half—23 states—have adopted some form of voter suppression law since 2010; that deportations have increased tenfold between 1976 and 2015; or that Native Americans and Alaska Natives have the highest poverty rate of any racial group.

If you RSVP to Week Two’s rally, we’ll send you a reminder email ahead of time and give you instructions on when and where to show up.

Here are some important links for this week activities:

May 20th Training Facebook Event

May 20th Training Registration

May 21st Rally Facebook Event

May21st Action Registration

Please connect with and share these links out with your network, we need your help to take the good news of this campaign to every corner of the state! Keep up the amazing work.


Each week in Washington, DC there will be events live streamed across the nation. All events will be live streamed from the PPC: NCMR Facebook Page. We will also be hosting them locally and encourage you to do the same. 

Here are the recurring weekly activities that will be happening throughout the 40 days of Nonviolent Moral Fusion Direct Action:

Sunday Evenings     –    Mass Meeting
Tuesday  Evenings   –   Truthful Tuesday  – Having broken into the national consciousness on Monday, the theme of each week will be further explored by thought leaders, moral leaders and impacted leaders in a nationally broadcast teach-in. Local viewing events and discussion is encouraged.
Thursday Evenings  –    Justice Jam Night –  Justice Jam Night will be a power-packed hour of justice music and spoken word! (starts May 17th)

Find the Vermont Poor People’s Campaign on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.  Register here to receive email directly from the campaign www.poorpeoplescampaignvt.org.  You can email them as well:  vermont@poorpeoplescampaign.org

Weekly Themes: 

  • Week One (May 13-19) – SOMEBODY’S HURTING OUR PEOPLE: Children, Women, and People with Disabilities in Poverty
  •  Week Two (May 20-26) – LINKING SYSTEMIC RACISM AND POVERTY: Voting Rights, Immigration, Xenophobia, Islamophobia, and the Mistreatment of Indigenous Communities
  • Week Three (May 27-June 2) – THE WAR ECONOMY: Militarism and the Proliferation of Gun Violence (Action will take place on Tuesday rather than on Memorial day)
  • Week Four (June 3-9) – THE RIGHT TO HEALTH AND A HEALTHY PLANET: Ecological Devastation and Health Care
  • Week Five (June 10-16) – EVERYBODY’S GOT THE RIGHT TO LIVE: Education, Living Wage Jobs, Income, Housing
  •  Week Six (June 17-22) – A NEW AND UNSETTLING FORCE: Confronting the Distorted Moral Narrative

About Justice For All
Justice For All pursues racial justice within Vermont’s criminal justice system through advocacy, education, and relationship-building.

As you consider where you are investing in social justice issues, remember the racial referendum that we just experienced in our national election. Consider donating to Justice For All, an organically grown, Vermont-based racial justice organization that has been here doing the work over the past couple of years  Please help us with your membership, provide organizational support or simply provide a contribution. Help us continue this work in Vermont.

Over the past number of years we have worked to successfully deliver the Vermont Fair and Impartial Policing Policy for all law enforcement agencies in the state. We are the founding organization of the Racial Justice reform Coalition, which put forward what became Act 54, the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel.  Our latest legislative win is S.281, the Systemic Racism Mitigation legislation is headed to the Governor’s desk at the time of this update.  Our work continues with numerous community outreach activities, Vermont Justice Coalition, Coalition on Racial Justice Reform, the Law Enforcement Professional Regulation Committee and much more but we need your help to continue.

Respectfully,

Mark A. Hughes, ED, Justice For All

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call For Moral Revival – Breaks Silence and Launches a 40 Day Season to Initiate an Effort to “Save the Heart of The Nation”

On Monday, May 14th, the Vermont Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival will launch a season of nonviolent moral fusion direct action in Vermont, and we need you to join us. In communities across America—black, white, brown and Native—we have built a Poor People’s Campaign to become what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called “a new and unsettling force in our complacent national life.” 

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival will force a serious national examination of the enmeshed evils of systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and our distorted moral narrative.  Through these highly publicized, non-violent moral fusion direct actions, the Campaign will begin the process of changing a badly distorted national moral narrative while forcing a serious conversation about poverty and a national examination of the enmeshed evils of systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation and the war economy.

Listed below are the upcoming events, activities and training leading up to the 40 day season of Nonviolent Moral Fusion Direct Action (NVMFDA). Please keep in mind that EVERYONE actively participating in any civil disobedience associated with the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call For Moral Revival MUST attend a Sunday NVMFDA (Part II), at a minimum.

NVMFDA Training on May 12th in St. Johnsbury
NVMFDA (Part II) Training at Episcopal Church in Barre on May 13th at 5:00 PM
Grounding and Staging at Christ Church in Montpelier on May 14th at 10:00 AM
Rally (Somebody’s Hurting Our People) Statehouse on May 14th at 2:00 PM
Direct Action at the Statehouse on May 14th at 3:00 PM

Each week in Washington, DC there will be events live streamed across the nation. All events will be live streamed from the PPC: NCMR Facebook Page. 

Here are the recurring weekly activities that will be happening throughout the 40 days of Nonviolent Moral Fusion Direct Action:
Sundays:             5:00 PM Nonviolent Moral Fusion Direct Action Training at Church of the Good Shepherd, Barre
Mass Meeting Livestream – 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. EDT
Mondays:            10:00 am centering and logistics, Christ Church, Montpelier
2:00 PM Rally at the Statehouse
3:00 Action at Statehouse
Tuesdays:           Truthful Tuesday Teach-Ins Livestream – 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. EDT
Further exploration by thought leaders, moral leaders and impacted leaders in a nationally broadcast teach-in.
Thursdays:          Thursday Justice Jam Nights Livestream – 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. EDT
Power-packed hour of justice music and spoken word!

Weekly Themes: 

  • Week One (May 13-19) – SOMEBODY’S HURTING OUR PEOPLE: Children, Women, and People with Disabilities in Poverty
  •  Week Two (May 20-26) – LINKING SYSTEMIC RACISM AND POVERTY: Voting Rights, Immigration, Xenophobia, Islamophobia, and the Mistreatment of Indigenous Communities
  • Week Three (May 27-June 2) – THE WAR ECONOMY: Militarism and the Proliferation of Gun Violence (Action will take place on Tuesday rather than on Memorial day)
  • Week Four (June 3-9) – THE RIGHT TO HEALTH AND A HEALTHY PLANET: Ecological Devastation and Health Care
  • Week Five (June 10-16) – EVERYBODY’S GOT THE RIGHT TO LIVE: Education, Living Wage Jobs, Income, Housing
  •  Week Six (June 17-22) – A NEW AND UNSETTLING FORCE: Confronting the Distorted Moral Narrative

Don’t forget our monthly General Meeting (every third Thursday) at the Unitarian Church, in Montpelier.

As you consider where you are investing in social justice issues, remember the racial referendum that we just experienced in our national election. Consider donating to Justice For All, an organically grown, Vermont-based racial justice organization that has been here doing the work over the past four of years.

Please help us with your membership, provide organizational support or simply provide a contribution. Help us continue this work in Vermont.

Respectfully,

 

Mark Hughes,
ED, Justice For All

Open Letter to House Government Operations in Response to Proposed Amendment to S.281

Madam Chair and members of the Committee,

I am shocked at the sweeping changes that have essentially rendered the Systemic Racism Mitigation Bill as pointless.  Much attention has been given to the removal of the independent nature and subpoena authority of the Director.  Though these actions concern me personally, there are other decisions that you have proposed that further threaten hopes that this legislation will create a true chance to affect positive change.

Defunding the Director and Panel (HRS Internal Service Surcharge approved by Senate Appropriations) and removing the required administrative  and technical support makes this entire endeavor a nonstarter.  Another critical judgement error is placing the Director as a liaison between the Executive branch and the Human Rights Council.  By their very nature, the HRC should NEVER by required to do their work through a liaison to any agency.

Finally, it deserves clarification that the intention of this role has always primarily been data collection to identify data points to measure progress, not to “point out to state agencies what they are doing wrong”.  It is disappointing to communities of color to see representatives of the political and economic power structure pushing back on this plan to address systemic racism with a narrative of an explicit racism which hunt.  The direction that this legislation is headed is sideways and I hope that the committee can demonstrate the leadership and political and moral will to get it right.

Respectfully,

Mark A. Hughes,

ED, Justice For All

 

House Gov Ops Proposed Strike All Amendment:  

  1. Eliminates the independent nature of the role (reports to Governor).
  2. Insulates the Governor’s Cabinet from the Vermont Human Rights Commission by mandating that the Director as a liaison between them.
  3. Removes responsibility of collection and oversight of statewide race data.
  4. Eliminates legal, administrative or technical support for the Director
  5. Eliminates the Subpoena Authority of the Director
  6. Defunds the Racial Equity Advisory Panel and Director by eliminating the HRS Internal Service Surcharge approved by Senate Appropriations.
  7. Creates a second redundant Panel (Racial Justice Advisory Panel) with NO appointment criteria to create the job description and submission of short list candidate list to the Governor.
  8. Calls for Panel submission of candidate recommendations to Governor at the same time as the deadline for Panel seating

Open Letter to the Senate Pro Tempore and Senators White, Sears, Pollina, Cummings, Brooks and Ingram Regarding a Resolution Proposing the 2019 Senate Amend the Constitution to Remove Slavery

April 17, 2018

Mr President Pro Tempe, Peter, et. all,This inquiry went out over a month ago and I have not received a direct response, though I’ve been told that it is now “late in the session” and there a too many other things on your plates. I asked Senator Ingram to look into this and among other reasons she is  telling me that this resolution would not be taken up this session. Some indirect responses seem to suggest the assumption that we don’t understand the constitutional amendment process. We understand the constitutional amendment process. Other Senators have avoided this discussion by speaking about the 2019 Biennium as if somehow they have little chance of being a part of it (unlikely). Not to be overly critical but it seems that someone ought to be asking why there has NEVER been a proposal of a constitutional amendment, removing slavery (though there has been an ERA proposal which was not ratified because it was voted down when it reached the state ballot.). I think we all understand that you all take an oath to the constitution every time they are sworn in.

I am hearing (also indirectly) that the reason why some senators think that this is a bad idea is that “it won’t bind the 2019 senate”. We have no intention on binding a future senate. We do however want the existing seated senate to go on record on this issue, given the fact that in all likelihood most all of them will return. It is for this reason that I disagree with some senators comments that this will “bring nothing to the discussion”. In fact, I believe that it WILL START THE DISCUSSION in the midst of our continued false narrative that Vermont was the first state to abolish slavery!

Senator White represents Windsor, the home of Stephen Jacobs who was on the Council of Censors, States Attorney, County Judge, United States District Attorney, Member of Governors Council and State Supreme Court Judge while owning at least one slave in Vermont (Dinah White). They don’t teach that in school here. Let’s not compartmentalize this because then we’ll forget the importance of S.281, a bill to mitigate systemic racism in Vermont. To not understand the history of Dinah also distracts us form the conversations of patriarchy, poverty and disability.

I am having a hard time with the fact that 1) language stating the position of intent to clarify reference to slavery in the constitution has been in the VDP Platform since 2016 (before the election), and 2) you have already passed a resolution requesting an action of the 2019 Senate [ERA Amendment]. With something as important as this, It troubles me that in a time like THIS, that our VDP senate majority would not take up a resolution to urge the 2019 senate to amend the constitution to eliminate slavery.

Are we really waiting for another election cycle to pass?

 

Mark Hughes,
ED, Justice For All