Race & Identity

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.

In April of 1968, as I was graduating from boarding school near Baltimore, the city went up in flames, as protesters raged over the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. I was only dimly aware of that turmoil.

Craven: Uncivil Wars

Aug 22, 2017

My Texas grandmother’s relatives fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. She remembered a time, as a kid, meeting an older second cousin who’d served as a water boy in the Texas Brigade. My grandfather fought in the trenches of France during World War I and family members of his had fought in the Maine Infantry of the Union Army.

The principle of free speech is again being debated in the streets, in op-ed columns, and between opposing ideologies. Although principles are often deemed absolute, their legal application is most often contextual … and therein lies the rub. The context often cited is that it’s illegal to yell “fire” in a crowded theater unless there’s a fire.

In his 1944 book Anti-Semite and Jew French Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre wrote that we should “never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves," he concludes, "for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words.”

UVM President Tom Sullivan at a 2013 news conference. Sullivan has led the university since 2012.
Toby Talbot / AP

Colleges and universities have been at the center of some controversial issues lately. We're talking with University of Vermont President  Tom Sullivan about these issues and how they play out at Vermont’s largest public university. 

The state wants to recognize important sites that contributed to the history of the equal rights movement.

Beaupre: Racist Threat

Aug 18, 2017

The Klan is no longer hiding under cover of darkness. The group now includes women, and they go out in daylight uncovered to assert their right to believe in their supremacy over everyone else – leading me to wonder if we’re losing our hard-won progress toward inclusiveness and tolerance.

The white supremacist events in Charlottesville are terrifying, especially for African Americans, Latinxs, Asians, American Indians and all people of color.

After this past weekend's protests by white nationalist and neo-nazi groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, attention has turned to whether those groups exist here in Vermont.

Members of Black Lives Matter have suggested that stemming the rising tide of racism in this country cannot be led by people of color. Ebony Nyoni, co-founder of the Vermont chapter of the organization said recently, “This isn’t our battle anymore; it’s yours and we can’t forgive you if you don’t ask for forgiveness.”

Nina Keck / VPR

Nearly 200 people gathered in Rutland Monday night to publicly condemn the racism and violence that erupted during Saturday’s white supremacists rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one woman dead and many others injured.

Brittany Caine-Conley, Congregate Charlottesville's lead organizer, speaks to those gathered at a vigil on Sunday, Aug. 13 at the site where the day before a car crashed into people protesting a white nationalist rally in the city.
Steve Helber / Associated Press

White supremacy, violence and even death played out in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. On this Vermont Edition, we'll discuss how we talk about these recent events and also look at what we can do here to address the issues raised.

Don Shall / flickr

The head of Burlington's Fletcher Free Library is condemning hateful graffiti found in a library bathroom.

The Vermont Pride Theater Festival will be running the next two weekends at Randolph's Chandler Center for the Arts. After seven years, the Pride Theater Festival is an established part of the cultural life of Randolph.
Steve Zind / VPR

A small central Vermont community might seem an unlikely venue for the Vermont Pride Theater Festival, but organizers say it's the perfect place to present a series of plays focused on LGBTQ themes.

Worshippers at the Islamic Society of Vermont in Colchester.
Oliver Parini

Earlier in July, Imam Islam Hassan assumed his new position as the imam of the Islamic Center of Cleveland. That's only of interest to us here because Hassan leaves behind the Islamic Society of Vermont in Colchester, where he was the first imam for a growing Vermont Islamic community.

Implicit or unconscious bias is increasingly used to explain and address racist behavior in this country, like the disproportionate use of deadly physical force against Blacks by the police. In Vermont, Act 147 establishes deadlines for completing fair and impartial policing initiatives, and the Legislature is seeking funds to implement its own training on implicit bias.

Update at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday: Iranian cancer researcher Dr. Sayed Mohsen Dehnavi and his family were put on a flight back to Iran Tuesday night, per U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Original story:

An Iranian researcher coming to work at Boston Children’s Hospital as a visiting scholar has been denied entry to the United States.

Faisal Gill, the chairman of the Vermont Democratic Party, received racially charged emails in May telling him to "get out of my Green Mountains."
Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Just four months into his tenure as the nation’s first-ever Muslim chairperson of a state political party, Faisal Gill has become the target of an alleged hate crime.

I’ve done a little time traveling, courtesy of The New York Times. The paper recently crunched age and diversity data from the US Census Bureau, combined the result with population projections, and compared 3,000 counties with the country as a whole, over time.

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