Gubernatorial Primary Candidates on Racial Disparities in Vermont

On July 8th we requested gubernatorial primary candidates respond to our eight questions on racial disparities in Vermont. Of the eight candidates six responded in time for us to post by our publication deadline.

We have organized the responses in two formats. The first format contains each candidate’s response to all the questions; the second format groups all candidate responses by question. The first format gives an overall sense or feel for the candidate; the second format provides for an easy side-by-side comparison for each question.

Unfortunately responses from Bruce Lisman and Cris Ericsson made side-by-side comparisons for the individual questions impossible. Likewise, after repeated e-mail requests, Brooke Paige and Bill Lee chose not to respond.

Please circulate to your professional and personal networks in an effort to inform Vermont voters from underrepresented or marginalized communities on the candidates’ views on racial disparities. Below you will find the request sent to the candidates on July 8th.

Dear Primary Gubernatorial Candidates:

According to the United States Census Bureau, by the year 2042 the United States will become a “majority minority” nation. In May 2012, the Census Bureau announced that births of children of color outnumbered white children for the first time since European settlers outnumbered Native Americans in the 1800s.

In Vermont, the White non-Hispanic population decreased by 10,986 residents or about 2% of the general population since the 2010 census. Persons over 65 years old accounted for 17.6% of Vermont’s general population in the 2015 census estimates, a three percent increase over the Census 2010. Vermont public school enrollment has steadily decreased over a twenty-year period from 105,565 students in 1996 to 84,446 students today, a 21% drop in enrollment.

We believe a sustainable future for Vermont is first and foremost predicated on the state being viewedas a desirable destination for an increasingly multiracial, multiethnic, and multilingual America. Individuals in this emerging American majority want to reside, work, recreate, and invest in destinations known for inclusive and equitable treatment of residents and visitors alike. Moreover, our emerging American majority wants and deserves to feel safe from state sponsored violence by law enforcement of the kind most recently witnessed in Minnesota and Louisiana.

Please offer your response to each of the following questions by 23h59 on 22 July 2016. Your answers will be disseminated to our constituents and networks.

  1. How do you intend to work to prevent state sponsored violence against your black and brown skinned constituents in Vermont by law enforcement?
  2. What strategies are you considering to be sure that Vermont does not become part of the overwhelming statistics of violence against black and brown bodies in our nation?
  3. What criminal justice reforms designed to eliminate racial disparities in Vermont will you vigorously and publicly support? Cite specific reforms for the judiciary, attorney general, state’s attorneys, public defenders, corrections, and law enforcement.
  4. Where in your budget would you prioritize spending to address racial disparities within state government? Be specific
  5. How would you augment efforts to promote Vermont specifically to recreationists, conventioneers, tourists, college students, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists of color.
  6. By what means will you ensure that your transition team and candidate pool for cabinet and senior level appointments fully represents Vermont’s racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity?
  7. To what extent, if any, will the Rooney Rule be the modus operandi of your administration?
  8. How, if at all, would you use your bully pulpit to advance a more inclusive and equitable Vermont?

We will disseminate your responses in their entirety to our constituents and networks by July 25th 2016. Please accept our advance appreciation for your consideration and effort to provide your constituents with your views on these critically important issues.

In partnership,


What Should Happen When Your Child Reports School-based Aggression

What Should Happen When Your Child Reports School-Based Aggression has been released in time for the 2015-2016 school year. What Should Happen is the latest in a series of easy to read brochures for parents, guardians and community members on what they should expect when a child they know reports being a victim of school-based aggression such as bullying, harassment or hazing.

Originally released in 2004 after the passage of Act 91 under the title of What Should Happen When Your Child Reports Harassment the brochure has been revised three times after changes promulgated by the state legislature. Act 91 strengthened previous anti-harassment in education statutes with a clear chronology of events and dates school personnel were to complete when harassment was reported. Act 117, also passed in 2004, required schools adopt anti-bullying policies however did not dictate a chronology of events and dates that parents could use to hold school personnel accountable in the same way as Act 91.

In the last legislative session state lawmakers passed legislation that effectively require all forms of social aggression be handled under a common investigative process with the same chronology of events and dates. These changes prompted the name change of the brochure.

Download What Should Happen When Your Child Reports School-Based Aggression.


5th Annual Vermont Vision for a Multicultural Future Educational Conference


5th Annual Vermont Vision for a Multicultural Future Educational Conference

Vermont Partnership for Fairness & Diversity will hold its 5th Annual Vermont Vision for a Multicultural Future conference on November 3rd and 4th at the Stratton Mountain Resort's Black Bear Lodge in Stratton Mounatin, Vermont. .

What is a Vermont Vision conference?

Vermont Vision conferences provide unique, stimulating learning environments for Vermont leaders on change management models and initiatives that create and sustain environments free of prejudice and discrimination. Vermont Vision conferences convene practitioners with proven ability achieving goals of multicultural groups together with statewide leaders seeking new ways to manage and operate in environments challenged by Vermont’s evolving demographics.

Why attend a Vermont Vision conference?

According to the United States Census Bureau, by the year 2042 the United States will become a “majority minority” nation. In May 2012, the Census Bureau announced that births of children of color outnumbered white children for the first time since European settlers outnumbered Native Americans in the 1800s. Minorities accounted for 100% of Vermont’s population growth from the 2010 census to the 2015 census estimates. These trends are relevant to Vermonters and will greatly impact our state’s next generations. These demographic shifts will bring with them pressures for change in long-held social mores and expectations. These demographic changes also bring with them unexplored economic opportunity.

Who attends Vermont Vision conferences?

Vermont Vision conferences bring together executive, legislative, faith community, and civic leadership in a participant-driven, strategy-sharing forum dedicated to enhance business-essential inclusion and equity practices. Some past participants include:

Secretary of the Agency of Commerce Community Development • Secretary of Education • Secretary Agency of Administration • Commissioner for the Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing • Commissioner of Public Safety • Director of Vermont State Police • President of the Vermont Sheriff’s Association • President of The Windham Foundation • Philanthropic Advisor for the Vermont Community Foundation • Members of the Vermont House of Representatives • Partner, Trust Company of Vermont • Vermont NEA Executive Director • Chair of the Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility • Superintendent Windham Southeast Supervisory Union • USDA Area Director for Rural Development • District Director United States Small Business Administration • Vice President of New Chapter, Inc. • Commons Dean, Middlebury College • Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Vermont • Vermont Center for Independent Living Executive Director • Provost, SIT Graduate Institute

Can we send a team to a Vermont Vision Conference?

Yes, your business, organization or institution may send a team of no more than three individuals.

What is there to learn at a Vermont Vision conference?

Through the experience and expertise of fellow attendees everyone will have the opportunity to learn new ways to manage and operate in environments challenged by Vermont’s evolving demographics. Each conference is different but here is a sample of the working sessions generated and facilitated by attendees:

Fair and Impartial Policing • Recruitment and Retention of a Diverse Workforce • Talking with people who believe we are currently in a post-racial society • The Art of Civil Discourse • How can we reframe the ways we think about diversity to arrive at innovative solutions for our problems/challenges? • How to deal with resistance to difficult conversations about inclusion • How to cultivate a strong cohort of leaders trained in Diversity/multicultural issues/strategies • Collegiate High School: Getting Students Excited About Post-Secondary Education (especially students of color)• Ways to Encourage/Equip Organizations to Create Diverse, Inclusive and Equitable Solutions • Sustaining the Work of Diversity and Inclusion in the Face of Battle Fatigue

How does a Vermont Vision participant-driven conference work? What are participants doing while there?

Our conference format is participant-driven.  The attendees themselves -- a mix of practitioners who have already had success adapting organizations to multi-cultural environments and decision-makers who realize they need to respond to cultural change in their communities – will determine the conference’s agenda, speakers, focus and results. Our goal is single-minded: deliver a conference that you remember for both the promising and field- tested strategies and ideas generated by your colleagues.

This format was successfully pilot-tested in 2012 by Vermont Partnership, Adrian Segar, author of Conferences That Work: Creating Events That People Love, and forty leaders across a spectrum of public and private sectors.  Vermont Vision participants take responsibility for developing a conference format that serves their needs.  It is a responsibility – and accountability – well worth striving for, one in which everyone present can win and go home armed to make a meaningful and positive difference in the futures of their own organizations and communities.

Who organizes the Vermont Vision conferences?

The Annual Vermont Vision for a Multicultural Future Conference is an initiative of Vermont Partnership for Fairness & Diversity. Each year Vermont Partnership convenes a volunteer executive committee of Windham County (Vermont) business and community leaders to organize the conference. Conference concept development has support from the Community Equity Collaborative of the greater Brattleboro area and Vermont Partnership that provides ongoing staff and infrastructure support. Executive committee members for the 5th Annual Vermont Vision Conference are:

Wyatt Andrews, Videographer • Sara Chard, Vermont Partnership Board Member • Mary Gannon, Education Equity Consultant • Julie Lineberger, Owner, LineSync Architecture; Past Chair, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility • Curtiss Reed, Jr., Executive Director, Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity • Peter Smith, (Retired), Management & Marketing Consultant • Jadihel Taveras, Vermont Partnership Board Member.

How are Vermont Vision conferences funded?

The planning executive committee is committed to minimizing total conference costs, while ensuring value and useful outcomes for all attendees.  Funding sources include business and institutional sponsors, a modest attendance fee and self-funding of travel and personal expenses by conference participants. Event sponsors enabled us to waive registration fees for 20% and lodging fees for 10% of attendees last year with limited financial means such as high school and college students, nonprofit and grass roots community leaders.

How do I become a Vermont Vision sponsor?

For information on sponsor levels and benefits send us an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Need more information?

E-mail us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with any additional questions or comments.


Vermont African American Heritage Trail Launched

Recently, the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing opened an African-American Heritage Trail with several sites (including Grafton) of importance to black history in the state.

The trail brings visitors to Vermont museums and cultural sites where exhibits, tours, and personal explorations illuminate the lives of African Americans for whom the Green Mountain State was part of their identity.

Curtiss Reed Jr., the executive director of the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity, said the trail is intended to boost cultural tourism in the Green Mountain State and increase awareness of its track record of racial tolerance.  A PDF of the complete article can be obtained by clicking here.

The Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, in association with the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity has published a full-color brochure of nineteen significant locations on the Vermont African American Heritage Trail.  A PDF of this brochure can be obtained by clicking here


Curtiss Reed to moderate screening of "The Powerbroker" at Johnson State College

As part of its celebration of Black History month, Johnson State College, in association with Vermont Public Television, will screen the documentary, "The Powerbroker", the story of Whitney Young, who has been called the "inside man of the black revolution."

Curtiss Reed, Executive Director of the Vermont Partnership for Fairness & Diversity will moderate a discussion of the film following its conclusion.  The event will take place on February 7 at 4 PM in Bentley Hall, room 207.  

More information about the film is available here.