MIDDLEBURY — Brandon resident Bashiru Abdulaziz on Sept. 3 met up with the two Middlebury police officers who had ordered him to “raise your hands” during their investigation of a false report they’d received about an armed Black man detaining a woman at gunpoint off Mary Hogan Drive on June 22. This was an opportunity for the officers and Abdulaziz to metaphorically shake hands and chart a new path for community policing. As previously reported by the Independent, Abdulaziz was approached by Middlebury Police Officers Bill Austin and Jared Harrington and a police dog at the town recreation...
For too long, white Vermonters have thought of ourselves as untouched by racism: It’s taken several high-profile and despicable actions for us to really understand how vicious racism is right here in Vermont. The age of denying that we have an issue is over. We must listen humbly to those who have been telling us for many decades that there is one Vermont for white people, and another for everyone else. It’s time to take steps to ensure that all Vermonters can access the benefits our state has to offer regardless of race. First, we must each have the courage to understand how deeply...
For most people in Vermont (by most here, I mean white) racism is something you know exists, but it’s easy to think it doesn’t happen here and isn’t something you have to be concerned about. The fact that Vermont has such a small population of People of Color and Black people limits the extent to which we as white people observe racism and limits our second-hand experiences of it as well, like hearing about it from our non-white friends. This limited scope can cause us to be blinkered to what is going on and believe that we are doing a good job, or that it isn’t really an issue in Vermont. ...
VERGENNES — The last of the Vergennes anti-racism Voices in the Park gatherings of the summer is planned for the city green this Saturday, Aug. 29, from 4 to 5 p.m. Vergennes resident Rose Archer, who has spoken at the earlier events, will speak again this Saturday in a talk entitled, “When Will the Shooting Stop?” The talk will be dedicated to Jacob Blake, the recent victim of a police shooting in Kenosha, Wisc. Everyone is invited. Organizer Lizbeth Ryan of Waltham requests those who wish to attend wear masks and observe social-distancing guidelines.
On Aug. 18, Donald Trump posthumously pardoned Susan B. Anthony. who voted illegally in 1872, well before the 19th amendment granted some women that right in 1920. I wonder if he would have pardoned her if she were black. For decades, Anthony fought shoulder to shoulder with thousands of women, organizing parades, demonstrations, and other events to raise awareness to garner support for women’s suffrage. And although the group of suffragettes was diverse, those most remembered — women like Alice Paul, Carrie Chapman Catt, or Anna Howard Shaw — are white. Much of the work to get white women...
We have written previously about the racist history of policing in our country and how police are doing exactly what they were created to do: protecting property over human lives. It might feel good to tell ourselves that Middlebury is different, but the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance’s database of traffic stops by race in Vermont has clear data showing otherwise. From this data set, covering years 2014-2018, we can see that the Middlebury Police Department (MPD) stopped Black drivers at a rate higher than expected, given the number of Black drivers, for four out of the five years. These...
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...
MIDDLEBURY — Police in Middlebury are investigating more incidents of leaving racist messages in public places, or of stealing anti-racist messages. The latest is a series of posters supporting the “Patriot Front,” a white supremacist group. Citizens found them on posted on a post office box in the Marble Works, on a box behind the National Bank of Middlebury, and on a number of bus stops, some utility poles and the like.  Police Chief Tom Hanley said he believed most were ripped down without being reported, but he wants people to report such incidents. Not only can police gather data to...
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...
When Chief Hanley stated, “I reject completely the notion that Middlebury PD engages in systemic racism and I’m not going to engage in a debate over it,” in a previous article (“‘Defund the police’ arrives in Middlebury,” 6/25/20), it further confirms that evidence of systemic harm done by the police is erased and not given the  proper attention it deserves. The Middlebury Police is part of the whole policing system. It needs to be understood by Middlebury residents, the Middlebury Police Department (MPD), and Chief Hanley that MPD is part of the system and that the system is inherently...


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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100