Important Updates and Upcoming Events

Summer in Vermont
It’s almost summer and we’re not checking out – We’re checking in.  We’re checking in to wish you an amazing summer.  With such a long winter and spring almost behind us, it’s time to enjoy the sun.  We hope you have plans to do so.

We’re proud to update you on some of the work that we have accomplished the first half of the year.  We have hosted a number of racial equity forums, community events (including an emergency response to excessive use of force) and film viewings in Burlington. We contributed significantly to a City Council’s Resolution to form a Special Committee to review Burlington Community Policing Practices. We recently recommended that the Burlington administration revisit their approach to diversity, equity and inclusion and continue to work with officials to roll out a thoughtful approach. We have also collaborated on diversity and equity with the Snelling Institute’s Leadership Institute and a Community Leadership Action Planning Session with our friends at the Council of Rural Development.

We worked in conjunction with the Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools in passing an education bill (Act 1, 2019) this session; provided testimony on the Cannabis tax and regulate bill (S.54) and offered testimony as input to the 50-year review of Act 250!  We also provided testimony on the Fair and Impartial Policing Policy (Act 41, 2019)called for a public hearing on civilian oversight of policeand testified extensively in committee and public hearing on the amendment pertaining to the prohibition of slavery (PR.2). Amongst the proposed policy produced by JFA for introduction with our partners in the Racial Justice Alliance were the reparations bill (H.478), the appropriate use of force bills (S.119 and H.464), discriminatory practices bills (S.145 and H.465), a racial equity cleanup bill (S.120) and PR.2.

We now turn our attention to the remainder of the year where exciting times lie ahead.   We will continue to contribute to the ongoing work of addressing diversity, equity and inclusion in Burlington.  This will be in community outreach, education and advocacy.  We’re looking forward to digging deeper into the work of the Racial Justice Alliance and educating our constituents in communities across the State on dismantling systemic racism and eliminating poverty.  We’re happy to be supporting community grass roots efforts in publishing an open race traffic data collection project sometime in the near future. We’re taking our work to a new level this year.  What next can only be defined as a game-changer for Vermont.  So check in with us this summer.  Here’s what’s happening at a glance:

Details of all of the events are listed below.
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Here are the details on all JFA related events happening over the next month.  All activities will be at the First Congregational Church at 38 S. Winooski, in Burlington.

JFA Organizing Meeting

We’re kicking the summer of with an Organizing Meeting on Wednesday, June 19th form 6:30 till 8:30 pm with a JFA Organizing Meeting.  We want to hear more of your thoughts on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Resolution that is being discussed in the Burlington City Council.   We’ll also update you on our work with the Racial Justice Alliance #ChangeVermont with a focus on theConstitutional Amendment (PR.2).  You’ll want to hear about the No Taxation or Regulation without Reparations Campaign.  JFA Organizing Meetings are every third Wednesday.

Game On

On Wednesday, June 23rd from 3:00 till 6:00 pm it’s Game On!  Grab the kids, some board games and snacks and meet us for some fun.  Sometimes you just have to put fun on calendar.  Let’s get together for some mindless fun and talk about nothing. There will be a brief update and discussion on the Burlington Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Resolution.   JFA hosts Game On” Monthly on the 4th Sunday.

Racial Justice Alliance People of Color Steering Group Meeting

Calling all folks self-identifying as people of color, we’re looking for you.  On Wednesday, June 26th, from 6:30 till 8:30 pm we are continuing to organize the Racial Justice Alliance POC Steering Committee. The Racial Justice Alliance is the former Racial Justice Reform Coalition, which successfully moved landmark legislation forming the Racial Disparity (Act 54, 2017) and Racial Equity (Act 9, 2018) Panels.  This meeting will provide space for Introductions and an Overview and provide an opportunity to Review, Update and Revise the Strategy.  The Racial Justice Alliance People Of Color Steering Committee meets Monthly on the 4th Wednesday.


It is imperative that civilian oversight be implemented to ensure appropriate law enforcement transparency and accountability. History has taught us that in the absence of law enforcement transparency and accountability the general public has more times than not questioned law enforcement legitimacy. We have all witnessed numerous instances where the resulting loss of public trust has stood as an obstacle to the crucial working relationship required between law enforcement and the community.  Joint the nearly 400 people who agree that we need civilian oversight of law enforcement in Vermont.  Click on this link and sign the petition.

JFA Community Meeting

On Wednesday, July 3rd from 6:30 till 8:30 pm, we will host “What Equity Looks Like in Burlington.”   Who are we, as City?  Who do we hope to be?  How will we get there?  These are some of the questions that many are asking.  This strategic session will give us an opportunity to wrestle with some of these questions and discuss some solutions.   This will be a forum to hear from the community on matters of equity, diversity and inclusion.  This is your opportunity to be heard.  Bring your voice. JFA Community Meetingshappen Monthly on the 1st Wednesday.

Racial Justice Alliance (Full Meeting)

Come out for the full meeting of the Racial Justice Alliance on July 9th, from 6:30 till 8:30 pm.  It has been over six months since the transit and the he Racial Justice Alliance is still very much in the formative phases.  This is a time of organizing, outreach, education and planning.  We’ll review the first half of the legislative session and reset our priorities.  We will conclude with strategic planning on our collaborative work beyond the #ChangeVermont, our legislative agenda.  This meeting is for members or those considering joining the Alliance.  The Racial Justice Alliance meets Monthly on the 2nd Tuesday. 

Film Viewing – Slavery by Another Name

On Sunday, July 14th, at 3:00 pm we will be viewing Slavery by Another Name.”  Slavery By Another Name is a 90-minute documentary that challenges one of Americans’ most cherished assumptions: the belief that slavery in this country ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. The film tells how even as chattel slavery came to an end in the South in 1865, thousands of African Americans were pulled back into forced labor with shocking force and brutality. It was a system in which men, often guilty of no crime at all, were arrested, compelled to work without pay, repeatedly bought and sold, and coerced to do the bidding of masters. Tolerated by both the North and South, forced labor lasted well into the 20th century.

For most Americans this is entirely new history. Slavery by Another Name gives voice to the largely forgotten victims and perpetrators of forced labor and features their descendants living today.  There will be a brief overview of PR.2, the current proposal addressing slavery in the Vermont constitution.  JFA provides community film viewings monthly on the 2nd Sunday. 

All activities will be at the First Congregational Church at 38 S. Winooski in Burlington.

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Have a great summer!


Mark Hughes,
Executive Director, Justice For All