A MESSAGE OF love replaced a swastika drawn on the sidewalk in front of the Congregational Church of Middlebury earlier in the day on June 5. Photo courtesy Danielle Stillman
The Congregational Church is a physical and social anchor to the town of Middlebury.  We can orient ourselves by its spire. It houses weekly Community Suppers for those who need them, convenes and hosts Community Conversations about issues that affect all of us, and is a place of worship and profound connection for many. On Friday, June 5, a swastika was discovered chalked onto the sidewalk right below the sign for the church. We strongly believe that this symbol of the Nazi party and their desire for an Aryan nation, cleansed of anyone not of their race — including Jews, LGBTQ people,...
Twelve local students, including four from area high schools and eight from Middlebury College, where among the 96 signatories of a recent letter to Gov. Phil Scott, Secretary of State Jim Condos, House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe, An Open Letter from Vermont High and College School Students. Most of the students will be first-time voters in the coming presidential elections. The letter is printed below. As representatives of the youngest generation of Vermont voters, we call on you to implement a universal vote-by-mail system for the 2020 election. No...
As I sit here, a grandmother and a great-grandmother, in the middle of this pandemic, a time we have never had to deal with before, I watch how it affects so many. There are so many questions, so many fears, so many rules to get used to, it’s frustrating and hard for all of us, especially the little children. A time of no playmates, no play dates, school at home, no times to go out and eat or go to a movie, and so many rules. As difficult as it is for us, imagine what it’s like to be an active seven-year-old, who goes back and forth between mom and dad in the midst of all this who is trying...
Peter Ryersbach’s letter of June 4 suggests we use science to guide decisions on what COVID precautions are reasonable. The guide will reveal that the science of viral epidemics is not only incomplete, but changing day to day, even among the most respected doctors. Dr. Fauci said yesterday the virus confounds him more every day. If you and I and Peter are not confused, we should be. Despite unwise cutbacks in budgets, the CDC has tackled sophisticated topics in epidemiology skillfully. It has done poorly at teaching us enough science to motivate us to follow their advice on how to live safely...
On June 5, the U.S. Marine Corps announced the removal of all public displays of the Confederate flag from their installations. On June 9, the U.S. Navy followed suit. The next day, NASCAR announced that it would ban the Confederate flag from its events and properties. If you know a fellow Vermonter who displays the Confederate flag on their vehicle or outside of their home, this would be a good time to suggest that they follow the leadership of the Marines, the Navy, and NASCAR. For a replacement, offer to give them a new American flag.  Jonathan Isham, Jr. Cornwall
There are many reasons why I'll be voting for Molly Gray in the Aug. 11 primary to be Vermont’s lieutenant governor. First reason? She’s incredibly experienced. She has served in the U.S. Congress, worked in a war zone, led the international human rights community, and has lived and worked across Vermont, which she loves dearly, as an assistant attorney general. Vermont could benefit greatly from this diversity of experience and commitment to service.  Second, she listens to Vermonters and cares deeply about their needs. Born to hardworking farmers and raised in Newbury, Molly has been...

Mary Shelley’s 'Frankenstein'
This morning, I collected our family’s weekly order of library books at the pickup spot in Ilsley Public Library’s back garden (an event that inspires a level of excitement in my children just a notch below Christmas these days.) Included in our bag of books was my book group’s pick for the month: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. So today, a cloudy grey day when the temperature has dipped into the 50s and it feels more like the last days of autumn than the first days of summer, I am thinking about monsters. More accurately, I am thinking about evil. Monsters are the embodiment of evil; beings...
In this unique moment in the national debate over racial justice, particularly as it is being portrayed through acts of police brutality, we are all asked to do the hard work of looking within, to examine our own wells of systemic racism and flush them out. It’s a tall task and not easily confronted in Vermont—a state and landscape that is predominantly white. According to the most recent Census, Vermont’s population on July 1, 2019, was 623,989. Of that, Vermonters were 94.2% white; 1.4% African American; 2% Asian; 0.4 American Indian; 2% Hispanic or Latino; and 2% of two or more races. We...
“Black Lives Matter” — of course they do. But this is more than a slogan to be tucked away until yet another tragedy occurs, where we get a sense that in some minds black lives do not matter. And with that I condemn those rogue police officers who belie their oath of office and treat those of color with abuse, with malice, and who consider them as lesser persons than themselves. I likewise condemn my peers who can’t or won’t rein in a culture of bigotry and wanton violence against people of color. The message I send to them is blunt — get your act together and clean up your house, human...
“Wow, it’s been a rough couple of weeks!” So many people have said that to me in recent days and each time I hear it, rage swells in my body. A rough couple of weeks? Try a rough couple of centuries. I am a historian of race in America. I am also a person of color. And, I am a person who has, more than once, been abused by the police. What I want to say to people who say “what a rough couple of weeks” to me is, “welcome to the [insert expletive here] reality of people of color. I am glad you finally noticed.”  And now that you all have noticed — don’t look away.  State-sanctioned violence...


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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100