October Update

A warm greeting to all, as we enter into the fall season. 

This week I stopped to reflect with great pride on some of our accomplishments.  We have hosted literally hundreds of community forums and events and participated in many others; conducted countless hours of deep analysis; built coalitions and alliances to move unprecedented policy, and advanced the narrative to a discussion on systemic racism across all systems (housing, education, employment, etc.…). What we did next was a game changer! In 2017, Act 54 resulted in the creation of a racial disparities justice system panel (still working).  It also produced a task force, which cited systemic racism as the as the cause for disparities in all systems. Act 9 in 2018 created the position of a Statewide Executive Director of Racial Equity and associated panel, both charged with “mitigating systemic racism”.

Our work has recently turned to Burlington where we have had numerous outreach and education events, including Game On, film viewings and the ongoing “Equity Series”.  JFA was instrumental in the passage of a Burlington Resolution that requires the BPD to provide use of force data to the Police Commission on an annual basis.  We also recommended and provided consultation on the passage of a Burlington Resolution that established the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Standing Committee as well as a DEI Director that reports to the Mayor.

In coordination with the Racial Justice Alliance we co-hosted the First Annual First African Landing Vermont Commemoration where the new Racial Equity Executive Director Delivered a Proclamation from the Governor, decreeing that the date be recognized annually.  The event was a great success.  We will continue to explore opportunities to offer outreach events that support the 400 Years of African American History Commission’s mission to educate community on the resilience and contributions of African Americans.

There has been good progress in growing the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance (VRJA), an alliance founded by JFA for the purpose of legislative work.  In preparation for the upcoming legislative session I am working in coordination with VRJA members and legislators to ensure our success.  You can see updates on the VRJA, including the  numerous forums and panels that are being scheduled to discuss systemic racism and poverty, use of force, the constitutional amendment, reparations and more here. It is our hope that output from these sessions will inform the legislative process.  Beyond the legislative agenda are numerous other bills that we are monitoring

In 2014, I began to become woke as I heard the names of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Lequan McDonald, Tamir Rice and many others.  I committed to do something meaningful and impactful to address the problem.  Over the past five years we have made an impact in Vermont and our work is being modeled in other states.  As the work of Justice For All has been increasingly focusing on addressing the root causes and impacts of systemic racism and poverty, we’re changing.  We’ll tell you about our new direction at our Birthday Party on the 19th.  Thank you for supporting this vitally important work in such a time as this.  We wouldn’t be able to do it, were it not for the many folks like you who hold us up and show up for the work. Your gifts provide immediate impact on this work  Please click button below to securely provide your financial support. 


Mark Hughes
Executive Director
Justice For All