Black Lives Matter

I am one of many community members who have written to the Addison Central School District board in support of allowing Middlebury Union High School students to fly the Black Lives Matter flag on the school flagpole. The great United States historian Howard Zinn said, “You can’t be neutral on a moving train.” What he meant by that, is that the train (a metaphor for our politics and our society) is moving in certain deadly directions, and if you are neutral, you are accepting that. I do not accept that! I do not want my community to accept the fact that Black people in Vermont are 10 times...
It will be a big mistake if the flag poles at schools change the current policy and fly the Black Lives Matter flag. Aristotle rightfully said “when two people enter a room you have politics.” Unfortunately, the BLM movement has become a political issue in this country. The Constitution, with great wisdom, clearly separates the government and all its public institutions from getting involved with religion. Religion is a personal issue. In the same spirit, public institutions should remain neutral in politics. There are many causes fighting for a voice in this country. Will each cause receive...
MIDDLEBURY — The searing national debate over what kinds of flags should be permitted to fly on government flagpoles continues to play out in Middlebury, where the Addison Central School District board on Monday evening couldn’t agree on a policy direction after 80 minutes of impassioned discussion. The board finished deadlocked, 6-6, on a proposed policy that would have given school officials the power to vet individual flag proposals for the main flagpole that fronts Middlebury Union High School’s main entrance off Charles Avenue. A tie vote meant the motion failed; board member Lindsey...
MIDDLEBURY — The Addison Central School District Board on Aug. 23 will decide whether to entertain requests to fly flags on district property that impart private messaging — such as the Black Lives Matter banner. It’s a topic that touches upon free speech, equity and patriotism, and it’s eliciting emotionally charged debate throughout the country — including the ACSD community. The board’s upcoming discussion and decision will be watched with particular interest by members of the Student Coalition On Human Rights (SCOHR), which last year requested that a BLM flag be flown at Middlebury Union...

SAS CAREY PLACES a Black Lives Matter sign by her home after getting her daughter’s perspective on their importance.
In 1969 I adopted a biracial daughter. Though she has not searched for her heritage, she has always believed herself to be half African American. Jasmine was born in Vermont and grew up in Addison County, graduated from Middlebury Union High School and the University of Vermont, and then left for our country’s largest cities to live amongst far more diversity. When Jasmine and I drove around Addison County this month, she felt encouraged by Black Lives Matter signs. She did not always feel at ease and acknowledged here and feels that her treatment was the tip of the iceberg for how other...
The indefinite raising of the Black Lives Matter flag represents a student, staff, and community-supported initiative at Mt. Abe. This flag is intended to acknowledge, interrogate, and begin to work towards dismantling white supremacy, which is foundational to our profession as teachers, our school, our communities, our institutions, and our nation. The BLM flag represents holding our institutions accountable to this work both in and outside of our school building. It represents a long-term aspiration to the 13 Guiding Principles of the BLM movement, which stand for radical social, cultural,...

FLYING THE “BLACK Lives Matter” flag is one of several steps Porter Medical Center is making to improve diversity, equity and inclusion at the county’s hospital — not only for its workforce, but also for patients. While the flag might be symbolic, hospital officials said other actions are concrete. Photo courtesy Ron Hallman
MIDDLEBURY — Porter Medical Center has created a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council to help the county’s hospital create a more just, welcoming and responsive place for people of all colors, nationalities and religions to work and receive health care services. It’s an initiative that started with conversations on the Porter campus a few years ago and has now taken off, joining DEI efforts at all of the University of Vermont Health Network affiliates. Dr. John Brumstead, president and CEO of the UVM Health Network, stressed the importance of the DEI initiative through an email sent...
Racism is a public health issue. Black communities and other communities of color have higher rates of newborn death, childhood illness, women dying in pregnancy and childbirth, and shorter lives with higher rates of severe illness. Porter, as a healthcare organization, has an imperative to address the racism and inequities built into our system. As an organization, we believe there is more we can do to be intentionally inclusive and equitable. We acknowledge that we can do more to make sure all members of our community feel welcome and have equal access to our services. We are committed to...
BRISTOL — The Black Lives Matter flag that flew at Mount Abraham Union Middle/High School for 30 days last November and December will be re-raised on Friday, Feb. 12 — this time indefinitely. The move, which has support from the Mount Abraham Unified School District board and district administration, was approved unanimously last month by the school’s Community Council, after Mt. Abe Student Activism (MASA) collected more than 600 signatures from school and community members, including those of Addison-4 State Reps. Mari Cordes and Caleb Elder, and former Rep. David Sharpe. “This organization...
I read in the Addison Independent that some students from Mt. Abraham Union High School were uncomfortable with their high school flying the Black Lives Matter flag. And that some of those students were “excused” and did not have to physically attend school. I am a white woman of Irish, Scottish and Dutch descent. I am 71 years old. I have had many years to develop my discomfort, my awareness, and my acknowledgment of the racism that is bound up in our country’s history. One-hundred-sixty-seven years after Frederick Douglass gave his speech in Rochester, N.Y., July 5th, “What to the American...

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Addison County Independent