Updates for the Start of Fall

Friends and supporters,

Here is a roundup on activities that are ongoing.

Monthly meetings
The monthly general meeting will be at the Unitarian Church, in Montpelier on Thursday, September 28th at 6:00 PM. In moving forward we will meet at the same place and time on the third Thursday of every month.


(H.308 ) Act 54

Racial Disparities Panel
The first meeting of The Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Systems (created by H.308) happened on August 29th. The meeting was open to the general public. Attorney General T.J. Donavan gave passionate opening remarks and the Panel moved to appoint Christine Longmore as the Chair and Mark Hughes as the Vice Chair. The panel charge was reviewed and it was agreed that the Panel would meet in the evenings in moving forward to ensure that the general public has the ability to attend. There was a discussion on priorities and input and questions from the general public.  The next meeting is scheduled for October 3rd at 6:00 PM.  The meeting will be held in a conference room at 110 State in Montpelier, which houses the State’s Attorneys and Sheriff’s Department. It is located at the corner of Taylor Street and State Street, directly across from the Pavilion Building.  You can find the Panel membership and the Legislative charge to the Panel here.

Addressing Institutionalized Racism in other Systems
H.308 (The Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile System Advisory Panel) calls for the Attorney General, the Human Rights Commission and interested stakeholders to “develop a strategy to address racial disparities within the State systems of education, labor and employment, access to housing health care, and economic development.” There will be a meeting of Stakeholders at the Statehouse, in room 10, on September 28th from 2:00 till 4:00 PM. The goal of the meeting is to gather sufficient information to enable the Attorney General and the Human Rights Commission to provide the Justice Oversight Committee with the requested strategy for moving forward in addressing racial disparities in these systems. The Stakeholders invitation with initial questions and stakeholder groups can be found here. The agenda to the meeting can be found here. The Attorney General and the Human Rights Commission are required to jointly report on the strategy to the Justice Oversight Committee on or before November 1, 2017.

Fair and Impartial Policing Policy
The Fair and Impartial Policing Policy has been updated “to the extent necessary to bring the policy into compliance with 8 U.S.C. §§ 1373 and 1644”. We will provide a copy of this policy when it becomes available. Work is currently underway to further update the policy to “provide one cohesive model policy for law enforcement agencies and constables to adopt as a part of the agency’s or constable’s own fair and impartial policing policy”. This is expected to be completed by by the close of the year. All agencies are expected to adopt a policy that includes the components of the model policy by March 1st, 2018.


We Need Your Support

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 three quick ways that you can be a part of this work:


The NEW Poor People’s Campaign
Join us on the Poor People’s Campaign. Our next meeting (The Gathering) will be on October 1st at 5:30 PM at three locations:  The Workers Center in Burlington, The Old Labor Hall in Barre and The Root Social Justice Center, in Brattleboro. The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival will necessarily be a multi-year undertaking. The Summer of 2017 through the Spring of 2018 will be used as the public launching of the Campaign. By engaging in highly publicized civil disobedience and direct action over a 6-week period in at least 25 states and the District of Columbia during the Spring of 2018, the Campaign will force a serious national examination of the enmeshed evils of systemic racism and poverty, the war economy and ecological devastation during a key election year while strengthening and connecting informed and committed grassroots leadership in every state, increasing their power to continue this fight long after June 2018. Vermont’s New Poor Peoples Campaign will focus on local issues relating to us as Vermonters and will serve as a vehicle for us to take the people’s agenda to the statehouse. Sign up here to get on the ACTION list for updates and mobilization. You can also message “PPCVT” to 444999 to join the text and email list as well.

This national movement picks up the campaign started by Dr. King and others in the last months of his life. The focus is on addressing:

1) Systemic racism
2) Systemic Poverty
3) Ecological Devastation
4) War Economy
5) Changing the Moral Narrative of the United States

This is a live-stream event:

Thank you!

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

Thank you!

Mark Hughes,