During the pandemic, all people experiencing homelessness were housed in motels with state money. This provided stability and shelter for people making them actually feel like people cared. According to one person experiencing homelessness, “for once someone was actually doing something, instead of just saying something”
The Motel Program should have been used as a bridge to end homelessness, investing in housing to transition people directly from motel to housing. Instead, people are sleeping under bridges again. On July 1st, 700 people were forced out of the program.
On September 23rd, (Thursday) 500+ more people will be kicked out including families with children. There is no reason for this program to end, except that the Governor doesn't have the political will or compassion to change course. Let’s push him to.
Please share this document with students or administration who can forward it to students at your school. We need youth to take action!!
As a group, we’ve taken the past few weeks to take a step back and refocus on what our goals for the coming school year are. As we took the time to reexamine our priorities, we’ve come upon issues that have been on our minds since the beginning of this group. In full transparency, our leadership group is flawed. We recognize that, as an anti-racist group, it is unfortunate that we don’t have students of color in the forefront. This is due to not enough outreach on our part and also to our own hesitation, as we do not want to pressure anyone to take on this responsibility. Tokenization is a topic that has come up in many of our discussions and one we work to avoid. Our group welcomes diversity, and it’s for that reason that we’re taking an active step forward to reassess our leadership group and make some important changes for the coming year. We want to break down the old, stiff definitions of leadership roles and instead create a nurturing, comforting environment where everyone feels represented and safe. An all-white leadership team is not that.
As we engage in this work, we feel it important to acknowledge the presence of history within the functioning of our group. We acknowledge the racial history of this country and its legacy today: slavery, lynching, black codes, police brutality, immigration restrictions, nativism, economic inequality, etc. Racism has deep roots in our country, and we are often blinded from the truth by it. We must acknowledge this history and purposefully choose the truth if we are to move forward. We also must acknowledge how our racial biases today exist because of the history of racism in America; for example, redlining, wealth inequality, and the War on Drugs lead to biases of poverty and criminality. Only through this understanding can we affirm our obligation to change, both within our society at large and VSARN. We must truly strive to change the course of history and work together across racial lines to reach liberty in our generation. But this will take everyone joining the movement. As we acknowledge the everyday experiences of young BIPOC Vermonters in our schools, we feel it of utmost importance to transform the roles of students within our group to better address those issues. We call on white people to self-reflect and share the history and present reality of racism with those who need to hear it; we open space for POC to share their experiences, feel support, and feel safe to call for change. We need to understand how white people have always been at the top of the hierarchy and how this legacy persists today; if we truly want to make change, we have to knock this down. That’s why, as we move into the new school year, we need to restructure our group and bring in new voices. We aim to build and foster a group that accurately reflects the world we wish to see: one where people of color can speak out and lead for change, white people can support from the side-lines and put themselves out to educate other white people and emphasize the truth, a world where we recognize and remedy the past and together build a better future. When white students and students of color work together they can accomplish more. Students of color are able to share their experiences of racism and oppression while white students can work with other white students to work through the reality of white privilege, utilizing the power society unjustly affords white people to call for change and deconstruct that power and to speak out for equality. White people have an obligation to be aware of their power and privilege and how to use it; when a biased incident or racist incident occurs, they have a responsibility to step in and rewrite the future. We want to create an environment where white students and students of color can work in harmony using their individual strengths and talents to work towards a common goal.
In our future, we want to make it clear that we are always learning. We’re open to constructive criticism and feedback. Remember, we’re only an email away. We will be working to dismantle the current divide apparent between our leadership team and the rest of the group, taking vital steps forward in order to diversify and reinvigorate our group. Again, we invite all of you to use your voices and give us suggestions, comments, or highlight concerns you might see in our group. Our goal is to make everyone feel at ease, and if anyone feels uncomfortable, upset, or confused when working with our group, that is a problem that we will work to solve.
Thank you for your understanding. We look forward to working with all of you this coming year. As Lao Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any ideas, questions, comments, or concerns. Furthermore, look for an upcoming email with details for fall meetings. We won’t be meeting this week but we will be meeting in the next couple weeks for our kick-off fall 2021 meeting!
Thanks to anyone who joined for Juneteenth last week! If you couldn't make it but were hoping to, here is our slideshow to take a look at:
The VT Student Anti-Racism network will be meeting again today, Sunday, June 27th at 7pm.
Here is the Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5171484728?pwd=U1VsTWV5bDBWYUdFbUorL0ZXa3lpQT09
We will debrief the Juneteenth meeting, discuss following up with legislators to tackle action steps or ongoing conversations with them, look at next project ideas for our group and follow up on blossoming project ideas (the resource document!), and spend time discussing Critical Race Theory and how we can get involved in our communities. Old and new members are welcome :)
Thank you all!
VT Student Anti-Racism Network Team
Save the date for Saturday, June 19th at 3PM (Juneteenth!) VSARN students will be holding a special meeting to commemorate Juneteenth with space for both Black folks and non-Black folks. This will be a student run and participating space, with a possible visit from state legislators. Please RSVP at the link below.
If you’d like to be involved in the planning process for Juneteenth, please respond to this email and fill out this poll to find a prep time https://www.when2meet.com/?12107403-oDsMP. All are welcome and we’d absolutely love more help!
Lots of gratitude,
VT Student Anti-Racism Network
Link to register: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScNgKi2EdlwypwvIoUUZIm-KulNOuM7cz4YDYKmcSLK9a0y8A/viewform
Come one, come all! We’re holding an introductory meeting where we can get to know each other, brainstorm ideas for how we want to make change, and discuss what you would all like to see out of this group! We want and hope, everyone can join us! You can register in the link below;
Hey all quick announcement,
We realized that Sunday, May 9th, our original scheduled date for the workshop on Anti-Racism and Linguistics with Middlebury Professor Shawna Shapiro, falls on Mother's Day!
With this in mind, we are changing the date to Saturday, May 8th at 5pm!
You can register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/anti-racism-and-linguistics-led-by-middlebury-professor-shawna-shapiro-tickets-151402965345
If anyone's interested, the Ethnic Studies Coalition is hosting a zoom meeting on what schools should do with COVID relief money. (Perhaps some of it could go to anti-racism work!!) They want to hear student voices as they decide how it's spent!!
ANYONE is welcome to attend Thursday, April, 29th 5:00-6:30
Vermont school districts are receiving a combined 285 Million as part of the American Recovery Act. The question remains as to whether schools will use this money to push forth transformation or work to return to the status quo. The Education Justice Coalition is launching a collectively developed Beyond COVID Recovery Organizing Kit that includes funding recommendations that push towards justice and ways to get organized in your local community to impact your district’s spending plan. This toolkit is based on collective recommendations from our first event in this series. This event is open to anyone wanting to organize for education justice in their community! We will have time for folks to connect with others from their local school community to start getting organized.
Our new meeting time is Sundays at 5 pm. While we are changing the meeting time, we are fully aware that this time does not work for everyone. We hope to work out these scheduling kinks and present another option so that people who can’t attend at that time can still participate!
Our meeting today was really productive, and it was suggested that we start doing meeting summaries so people that couldn’t attend can still feel informed, so here is our first one! At this meeting, we talked about…
Advocacy of Native Americans and how we can better educate ourselves about their history and respect their lands.
We presented our final slideshows for the Book Project lessons and received feedback for some final changes.
We discussed a new project based on the book The Color of Law. Minelle has started this project in her school, using a curriculum developed by a lawyer that she has been working with. We are hoping to extend this project to other high schools around the state!
We recognize that our current meeting time does not work for everyone and that scheduling is very difficult these days, but we still want everyone who wants to participate in our group to be able to. We presented the idea of subcommittee meetings (one group would work on the book project, another would work on The Color of Law project, etc.), where we could have a couple of different smaller meetings and one big group meeting on a weekly or biweekly basis. The ideas of recording meetings or doing breakout rooms were also brought up. What are all of your thoughts? We want to make this group work for everyone! Let us know in the comments or on Instagram if there is a better time for you?!
Ps-- Color of Law Project: We would love it if you could share this message with your principal, history teachers, or anyone who has the power to change curriculum/add-in lesson plans either this year or next.
We had a meeting last Saturday (March 20th) where we discussed several topics and made a few plans.
No worries! I was going to take a screenshot at the end but by that point 5 people had left and there were only 5 of us left, and it totally slipped my mind!!! :0 I am soooo sorry.
Here are some general notes:
Opening discussion on what's going on in terms of anti-racism at schools around VT?
--Getting SRO's out
Discussion on the Color of Law and perhaps bringing lessons on the book and video into our schools for April (Fair Housing Month) -- more at the next meeting! (We suggest that every teen in VT should have to watch the linked video)
Discussion on Asian American hate crime in Atlanta -- just an open conversation.
Finish the slideshows by the next meeting
We have planned a pilot with Alyssa -- we are just waiting to finalize a date and figure out which book she wants us to do!
A few of us will go through the list of schools and buy the books this week FINALLY!!!!!
Everyone fill out this poll to pick a new meeting time:
We are having a meeting this coming Saturday, so check out our Instagram for more information!
We had a meeting last Saturday (3/13) where we got to meet with Ben Heitz from VT Digger. Heitz runs the Underground Workshop which allows Vermont students to be journalists and write about topics of their choosing. Right now the Underground Workshop is working on several different stories on the Black Lives Matter flag in high schools.
We also wanted to thank The Galaxy Workshop for donating one set of each book to one of their local elementary schools!
For our next step in our book project, we are ready to buy our books! We plan to reach out to publishers and local bookstores to see if they would be willing to donate or give us a percentage off.
In our next meeting (3/19 at 4 pm), we'll be having a run-through of our books and our curriculum and soon we'll plan on inviting teachers. We want to get some teacher opinions on our plans and soon we'll be ready for some practice runs with students.
Here are some links!
VT Digger- vtdigger.org/
The Galaxy Book Shop- galaxybookshop.com/