VPIRG stands in solidarity with those demanding justice

Right now, all across the country, Americans are protesting in response to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers.

VPIRG stands in solidarity with those demanding justice and working to address systemic racism.

The killing that sparked the demonstrations this week happened in Minneapolis, Minnesota. But the systemic racism and broken criminal justice system that allowed for this to happen pervade our entire culture—that is why we’ve seen calls for action across the nation.

And let’s be clear – Vermont is not immune. In our state, Black and Latinx drivers are stopped and searched at higher rates than white drivers. Black men in Vermont are incarcerated at a higher rate than in any other state.

VPIRG was founded nearly 50 years ago. In that time, we’ve remained steadfast in our commitment to defending the public interest. That means constantly asking “how do we best promote the health and well-being of Vermonters in this day and age?” And in 2020, that means making sure that the work we do and the policies we support do not reinforce systemic racism, and more importantly, that we are active participants in addressing this problem. Because a system that marginalizes, discriminates, and promotes violence against people based on the color of their skin is NOT in the public interest.

That said, there are many other organizations that have been and continue to lead the way in advocating for specific policies and actions to tackle systemic racism and reform our justice system. So, in this moment, we are moved to encourage our members to support, however they can, these organizations (some of whom we have partnered with on various campaigns).

Locally this includes the ACLU of Vermont, Justice For All, and the Rutland Area NAACP.

On the national level, we’d ask you to consider supporting Color of Change and the Poor People’s Campaign.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of organizations worthy of your support at this time – but we offer these as a starting point for ways that VPIRG members can become more involved in this effort.

Thank you in advance for whatever support you can provide.