On Monday, Jan. 15, we attended the press conference in Bennington where Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced that no charges would be filed against anyone for the racial harassment that led to the resignation of state representative Kiah Morris.
We drove two hours to Bennington to support Kiah, who was Vermont’s only black female legislator until racist threats, online and in her community, drove her from office.
Our current laws are clearly inadequate to protect people of color in our state. Black women are especially vulnerable due to the intersection of gender and racially based violence. We must insist that our legislators address this shameful inadequacy in our legal system so that no one else has to endure the fear and trauma that Morris and her family have experienced.
White Vermonters, we beg you to take this personally. If you are a liberal, progressive person, you may agree with us that racism is a problem in society, yet you may not consider it your problem. It is our problem. We must center and uplift the voices of our neighbors of color who face discrimination every day in our communities. Everyone deserves to be safe. Everyone deserves to be free from threats, harassment and violence.
Please contact your legislators and ask what they are doing to ensure that Vermonters of color, be they public officials or private citizens, have the same rights to safety and pursuit of happiness that white Vermonters enjoy.
None of us is free until all of us are free. To our sisters of color in Vermont: we vow to do better. You deserve better. We will not rest until you have what you deserve.