Letter to the editor

There has been considerable recent discussion about why Vermont’s response rate to the 2020 census form is so low. Several possible excuses have been floated, but one explanation is frequently overlooked when discussing why 43% of Vermonters have failed to complete the census form. The Census Bureau in its ill-conceived marketing plan virtually ignored advertising in community newspapers in Vermont — and some other states. The message about the critical need for an accurate Vermont population count by filling out the form is clearly not getting to residents through social media and other...
I remember the first time I met House Representative Stephanie Jerome. She knocked on my front door and handed me a flyer announcing her candidacy. We spoke for just a moment, as I was heading out for an appointment, but I recall thinking, what a nice, down-to-earth woman. Though not a politically active person, I could see myself voting for her.  Fast forward two years. The pandemic closed my place of business, and that of so many others, and took our livelihoods with it. Until then I had never signed up for unemployment. My attempts to file online with the Dept. of Labor were unsuccessful...
Editor’s note: The writer was the reporter/assistant news editor of The Reporter newspaper in Brandon, and a Bristol resident, until this past October. As a former Vermont resident who now resides in Texas, I often look back on my time in Vermont with fondness. Especially when I look at the growing coronavirus numbers in my current state or when I’m reminded of how Vermonters will go out of their way to help each other. I finally made it to the DMV to get my Texas driver license last month (the earliest appointment I could get back in April). After jumping through all the hoops to prove my...
We believe in the importance of doing something in this critical electoral season to get out the vote. Our fragile democracy depends on voter participation, especially of formerly marginalized citizens and those who have not voted in previous elections. One particularly effective venue is “Vote Forward” (votefwd.org), an organization that encourages people to vote, not how to vote. Their goal is 10 million voters. Vote Forward encourages voters of traditionally under-represented populations and people who are likely to vote Democratic in key districts throughout the U.S. They send you letters...
At Rokeby Museum, where I am a trustee, we have embarked on the challenge of adding advocacy for social and racial justice to our mission. In light of renewed efforts to disrupt and dispel white supremacy after the murder of George Floyd, I have been thinking about what this means. Much of my reading has been helpful, but nothing so much as the words of Bettina Love in an interview just over a year ago. A professor of education at the University of Georgia, Dr. Love’s writing, research, teaching, and activism meet at the intersection of race, education, abolition. In a 2019 interview, she...
In three months, we will celebrate our most uniquely American holiday, Thanksgiving. I hope that we will find ourselves thankful for having weathered the worst of the coronavirus storm together, anticipating a number of vaccines, and seeing our economy slowly come back to life. Yet if we choose to ignore the experts and listen to those who would put their own self-interest ahead of the public good, Thanksgiving could be a grim symbol of our folly. Dr. Osterholm (director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota) and Mr. Kashkari (president of the...
While I appreciate the Independent’s effort to highlight the grit on display by downtown Middlebury businesses in John Flowers’s Aug. 6 article, “Middlebury shops tough it out,” I take exception to the statement that, “not all downtown stakeholders have taken a grin-and-bear-it attitude toward the construction,” and, “a few businesses have remained closed rather than try to gut it out amid the project turmoil.” First, let’s name those businesses, as anonymity itself suggests stigma. They are: Sabai Sabai, Kiss the Cook, Main Street Stationery, Danforth Pewter, and — my own — the Vermont Book...
As current and former local residents and employees of Middlebury College with deep concern about the health of our community, we listened carefully to the presentation by college officials to the selectboard about plans to reopen the campus. We’ve concluded that although these plans were the result of serious work by many individuals, they do not offer sufficient assurance that the college can safely reopen next month without risking a COVID-19 outbreak in Addison County. The announced plans have several troubling components, three of which are 1. failure to provide for ongoing weekly...
The history of the police may seem like it was a long time ago, and it is tempting to think that we should focus only on the present. However, the history of police is not only a relic. Even the star shape of the police badge, which originated from the first slave patrol badge, upholds that system that was created not so long ago. Another example is the use of dogs to enforce terror during slave catching, during civil rights protests, and today — it has even occurred in town against a Black Middlebury resident this summer. It is exactly this past that has led us to where we are today, making...
David Zuckerman envisions a Vermont for All where everyone is an honored guest at the table. Women are secure in their right to choose and in their right to earn fair pay. People of Color lead us in facing and dealing with implicit bias. Native People show us how to understand that colonization hurts everyone. LGBTQIA means that love is love. People with Disabilities teach us what they need to become independent. New Americans are proud of and respected for their valued work and creative enterprises. If you share this vision, vote David Zuckerman for Governor. Marielle Blais Brandon


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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100