Race & Identity

Rebecca Sananes / VPR

For the 5 percent of Vermonters who do not identify as white, finding a barber who has experience with a diversity of hair textures is challenging. But a barber contracted by Dartmouth College to cut hair for students of color is making a difference.

Earlier this year, James Duff Lyall of Tucson, Arizona, was named the new executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont. He succeeded Allen Gilbert, who had led the organization for 12 years.

A nationally recognized expert on issues of race, public policy and the criminal justice system will be at St. Michael's College to speak about racism and the culture of policing on September 7.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

A reporter who recently came out as transgender had to a cover a transgender issue when the local high school found itself in the center of a national debate over the rights of students who want to use the bathroom of their choice.

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When you think of sketch comedy, the Mormon Church may not be the first thing that springs to mind. With the huge popularity of the play The Book of Mormon, you might think of the church as more of a punch line. A new documentary is changing that by following a sketch group called “Studio C” based in Provo, Utah. It's made up of practicing Mormons, with oversight from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Icon_Craft_Studios / iStock

Data collected by the state police point to racial disparities in traffic stops – and apparently the number of incidents is rising — in spite of increased attention to the issue.

John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

As debate continues over Syrian refugees resettling in Rutland, we're taking a look at the history of immigration into Vermont. We'll look at waves of immigration into the state throughout the past centuries, and how the pre-existing population has received new Vermonters: Irish, French Canadians, Jews, and more.  And we'll talk about how immigration is tied to internal debates about our identity as a state.

Nina Keck / VPR File

Those who have lived nearly exclusively in Vermont are less likely to support refugee resettlement in their community than those who have lived a significant part of their lives elsewhere.

Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

Much of the news coming out of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week has focused on the convention hall — the speeches, the crowds and the tension between Sen. Bernie Sanders' supporters and supporters of Hillary Clinton. But just outside the convention bubble, there's a different approach to political engagement underway.

Nina Keck / VPR file

A new VPR poll shows Vermonters are divided over resettling refugees here, with significant numbers on both sides of the issue. It's the first time a VPR poll has surveyed residents on the issue.

What shook me most about the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by the police was their execution-style. Then, to complicate the violence, five police officers were killed in a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration a few days later.

Nina Keck / VPR

Efforts to create a new refugee resettlement community in Rutland have stirred up passionate debate. While many want to welcome Syrians into the city, others fear Muslim refugees won’t assimilate, will become a threat or burden taxpayers.

For a Syrian couple who are raising their children in Rutland this debate has hit especially close to home.

Annie Russell / VPR

A spotlight has been put on discussions of race and racism in our country as headlines fill with news of more violence - killings of black men by police, and recently the killing of police officers themselves in Dallas and Baton Rouge. We're focusing in on the conversations we need to have about race here in our own state, and how we can move forward.

One hundred years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous speech saying, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

A pair of hands, black and covered with soot, bound together with rusty iron chains and chiseled by decades of inhumane treatment, represents the injustice of racism in our nation. Sadly, the remnants of the chains remain to this day.

In 1930 in Marion, Indiana, two lifeless black bodies in ragged and tattered clothes hung from separate tree branches, their faces and bodies beaten and bloody. Below them, a separate crowd of well-dressed white men and women stood smiling and looking at the corpses. Not one person had an expression of sorrow or remorse – not a single hint of regret.

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.

Mark Washburn / Dartmouth Hitchcock

When I was sixteen, I stuffed myself in a car with 14 friends to go for ice cream. When we were stopped by the police, half of us had to get out just to roll down the window.

The existential threat facing America today is not from Russia, which has a smaller defense budget than France and a crumbling economy, but from the continuing cleavage in America between blacks and whites, between the haves and have nots, between those who understand the importance of America's democratic institutions and those who want to tear the fabric of America apart by shredding the compact that has held this Republic together for two centuries.

An acre-and-a-half block is available in downtown Rutland, and that got us thinking: What would people in the area like to see fill the space?
Nina Keck / VPR file

Refugees from war-torn Syria wait in camps for permanent homes. One of the places being consider is Rutland, Vermont.

But the debate over whether to accept 100 Syrian refugees there has divided the city between those ready to welcome them and those who have serious misgivings about the move.

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