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3rd Annual Vermont Vision for a Multicultural Future Educational Conference

Vermont Vision Conference logo

Vermont Partnership for Fairness & Diversity will hold its 3rd Annual Vermont Vision for a Multicultural Future conference on November 6th-7th 2014 at the Grand Summit Hotel & Conference Center at the Mount Snow Resort in West Dover, 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 59% of Vermont’s population growth in the 2010 census. 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 diversity, inclusion and equity practices. The following individuals were among the 90+ attendees at the previous two conferences:

Lawrence Miller, Secretary of the Agency of Commerce Community Development • Armando Vilaseca, Secretary of Education • Megan Smith, Commissioner for the Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing • Col. Thomas L’Esperence, Director of Vermont State Police • Chief Keith Clark, President of the Vermont Sheriff’s Association; • Rep. Kesha Ram, Chittenden 6-4 • Rep. Kevin Christie, Windsor 4-2 • Bob Allen, President of The Windham Foundation • Chris Chapman, Trust Company of Vermont Partner • Jessica Pointer, TetraTech ARD • Julie Lineberger, Past Chair of the Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility • Janet McLaughlin, Special Projects Director - Vermont Community Foundation • Patricia Nelson-Johnson, Director - Vermont Office for Minority Health • Ron Stahley, Superintendent Windham Southeast Supervisory Union • Jon-Michael Muise, USDA Area Director for Rural Development

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:

Bias–Free 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 and 40 leaders across a spectrum of public and private sectors.  Our facilitator, Adrian Segar, author of “Conferences That Work: Creating Events That People Love,” returns to again lead this our third conference on November 6th and 7th at Mount Snow’s Grand Summit Hotel in Dover, Vermont.  Adrian has over 25 years of transformative experience running successful conferences employing his unique conference concept to create actionable outcomes for diverse audiences around the world.

During the first session you will follow a proven protocol devised by Adrian to determine our collective level of experience and expertise, what will be discussed for most of the following day, and who will facilitate the small group exchanges.  The agreed agenda of information-sharing and discussion will be delivered by those attendees who have personal experiences or have developed successful and transferable strategies and concepts others want to know more about.  The final portion of the following afternoon session will be devoted to summing up what has transpired and developing individual action plans and timelines.

In other words, 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?

As with previous conferences a volunteer group of Windham County (Vermont) community leaders is organizing the 3rd Annual Vermont Vision for a Multicultural Future. Conference concept development has support from the Community Equity Collaborative of the greater Brattleboro area and the Brattleboro-based Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity, which has been involved with this project since inception and is providing ongoing staff and infrastructure support. A conference planning executive committee is developing the concept, strategies and an implementation plan. Members are:

Wyatt Andrews, Videographer • Sara Chard, Researcher • Mary Gannon, Education Equity Consultant • Julie Lineberger, Owner, LineSync Architecture; Past Chair, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility • Curtiss Reed, Executive Director, Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity • Adrian Segar, President, Conferences That Work; Author, “Conferences That Work: Creating Events That People Love” • Peter Smith, (Retired), Management & Marketing Consultant • Kate Wiley, (Retired) Psychotherapist

Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity is a Brattleboro-based, Vermont-registered, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, nonprofit organization serving the people of Vermont since 1995. For the people of Vermont, Vermont Partnership works to strengthen fairness and diversity in Vermont communities through eliminating prejudice and discrimination of all kinds. Their mission to institutionalize diversity, inclusion, and equity is intentionally broad and far-reaching as they prepare communities to recognize and act on the inherent benefits and challenges of a more multiracial, multiethnic, and multicultural Vermont.

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 click here or 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?

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


Vermont Partnership receives Innovation and Collaboration Grant

As part of its winter grant cycle, the Vermont Community Foundation has awarded Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity an Innovation and Collaboration Grant. The $15,000 grant will support Vermont Partnership’s Vermont Vision for a Multicultural Future Initiative.

Under the grant the Vermont Partnership will grow and strengthen its statewide network of leaders consciously developing and applying diverse, inclusive and equitable business practices. These leaders represent state and municipal government agencies; business and civic organizations; supervisory unions and professional associations; state, county and local law enforcement agencies; and nonprofits and faith communities. The Brattleboro-based nonprofit is a proven, effective resource that Vermont and upstate New York leaders turn to for support and advocacy related to inclusion, diversity, and equity in the public sphere.
“The Community Foundation is proud to make this Innovation and Collaboration grant award to the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity.  The Partnership has been leading the way on creating equity for a number of years now with their strong, active work to improve the climate for all Vermonters, but especially for Vermonters of Color,” notes Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup, Philanthropic Advisor for the Foundation.
Vermont Partnership holds an annual strategy sharing conference for the Vermont Vision for a Multicultural Future network. The conference explores institutional policies and practices that respond more effectively to Vermont’s changing cultural landscape and the broader multicultural marketplace.

The third annual conference will be held on November 6-7, 2014 at the Mount Snow Resort in West Dover, Vermont.


ACLU Publishes "The War on Marijuana in Black & White"

Earlier this month the American Civil Liberties Union published a report, which examined marijuana possession arrest rates by race for all 50 states (and the District of Columbia) and their respective counties from 2001 to 2010. The report relies on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program and the United States Census’ annual county population estimates to document arrest rates by race per 100,000 for marijuana possession.

The report finds that between 2001 and 2010, there were over 8 million marijuana arrests in the United States, 88% of which were for possession. Marijuana arrests have increased between 2001 and 2010 and now account for over half (52%) of all drug arrests in the United States, and marijuana possession arrests account for nearly half (46%) of all drug arrests. In 2010, there was one marijuana arrest every 37 seconds, and states spent combined over $3.6 billion enforcing marijuana possession laws.

The report also finds that, on average, a Black person is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, even though Blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates. Such racial disparities in marijuana possession arrests exist in all regions of the country, in counties large and small, urban and rural, wealthy and poor, and with large and small Black populations. Indeed, in over 96% of counties with more than 30,000 people in which at least 2% of the residents are Black, Blacks are arrested at higher rates than whites for marijuana possession.

Curtiss Reed, Executive Director of the Vermont Partnership for Fairness & Diversity noted in a quote to the Associated Press, "That disparities exist is old news. The ACLU report provides valuable baseline data upon which the entire Vermont criminal justice system, legislative bodies, communities and social justice advocates should seek to improve. Let not the magnitude of the disparity or statistical method employed obfuscate the real work of holding ourselves accountable for meaningful, measurable progress to eliminate the disparity by 2020.”

The report concludes that the War on Marijuana, like the larger War on Drugs of which it is a part, is a failure.

Download the full report by clicking here.


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.