On Saturday, November 11th hundreds of Vermonters gathered at Champlain College in Burlington for the 2017 Vermont Crossroads Conference. VPIRG co-hosted the day-long event along with a number of other prominent organizations: ACLU, Main Street Alliance, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Rights and Democracy, Toxics Action Center, VNRC, the Vermont-NEA, Justice for All and Let’s Grow Kids. Beyond the co-hosts, dozens of other organizations joined the event as sponsors and attendees.
The idea of Saturday’s convergence was to bring together a diverse array of groups that are fighting to better the quality of life of Vermonters — and to jumpstart collaboration among those groups. Given the current situation in Washington, D.C. it is more important now than ever that those working for positive, progressive change come together around common goals and push for a more just future.
The conference included a number of panel discussions, workshops, and breakout groups. It also featured a lineup of notable guest speakers: author David Goodman, Reverend Joan Javier-Duval, Vermont Senate Majority Leader Becca Balint, State Rep. Kiah Morris, and Senator Bernie Sanders.
VPIRG’s Executive Director Paul Burns introduced Senator Sanders, and helped to kick off the event:
“We recognize that we work on an incredibly diverse array of issues. But we are all united in the belief that by working together we are stronger. We know all about the attacks that we face every day. So now is the time to stand up for what we believe in: climate change is real, healthcare is a right, our water must be safe to drink, and there is no place for racism or hate here.” -VPIRG Executive Director Paul Burns
VPIRG staff and members attended a variety of breakout sessions in order to help broaden their understanding of issues outside of VPIRG’s traditional scope. In turn, many individuals not previously involved with our work attended a VPIRG-led breakout session on taking bold action on climate change by putting a price on carbon pollution.
Our staff here at VPIRG is incredibly excited to see what comes out of Saturday, and to explore new relationships that we began at Crossroads. We have some serious challenges ahead of us, but the energy and passion of Saturday’s participants gives us confidence that we will move Vermont forward.
For those who missed the conference, see the full schedule and lineup here: vtcrossroadsconference.com
For video recordings, visit http://bobthegreenguy.com/live/