Curtiss Reed, Jr.

Commentator

Curtiss Reed, Jr. serves as executive director of the Brattleboro-based Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity, a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan, research, educational and advocacy organization presenting the Vermont Vision for a Multicultural Future Conference in November.

Our brave little state has a penchant for conspicuously courageous leadership: prohibiting certain forms of slavery in our constitution, maintaining the voting rights of incarcerated individuals and convicted felons, civil unions, same-sex marriage, and fair and impartial policing by Vermont State Police.

This year Vermonters of color hold a record number of elected positions. In this last election cycle, eight brave souls threw their hats in the ring of which five won their seats on selectboards in Brattleboro, Hartford and Middlebury as well as the selectboard and school board in Winooski. They joined other Vermonters of color who already serve in the Vermont Senate and House of Representatives, Burlington City Council, Rutland Board of Aldermen, and a number of school boards, town representatives, and justices of the peace.

Most of my Vermont neighbors are concerned and well-meaning. And most can’t imagine that what happened in Charlottesville could ever happen here. But white supremacists have been in the Green Mountains for a very long time.

Mim Adkins

As we anguish over recent events in Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights, and Dallas, let me be blunt: The prospect of violence against people of color by law enforcement looms ever present – even in Vermont. Now is not a time to anguish, but to act.