Race & Identity

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.

From Bagdhad to Istanbul to Bangladesh, attacks being associated with ISIS have terrorized the world over the past week. 

Terrorists in Dhaka, Bangladesh slaughtered 28 people at a restaurant over the weekend.

Melody Bodette / VPR

Vermont's immigrant farm workers experience hunger and food insecurity at a higher rate than the rest of the population. That’s especially true in Franklin County near the Canadian border, where many still avoid leaving their farms because of the presence of federal immigration enforcement agents.

Steve Zind / VPR

A committee charged with addressing bias in the state police is taking its first steps to respond to the racial discrepancies revealed in data on traffic stops.

Toby Talbot / Associated Press

Somewhat buried in an avalanche of big recent news stories was a U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the affirmative action admissions policies at the University of Texas.


James Lyall, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union in Arizona, has been named the new executive director of the ACLU of Vermont.

My father was a difficult man – hard working all his life and hard drinking for much of my youth. We were estranged for many years, until his cancer diagnosis.

With the urging of my sister, I went home. He was in his seventies, me in my forties. Greeting me at the door, he asked, “Why have you come?” I answered, “Because you’re dying.” He let me in, and we began to navigate through a lifetime of hurt.

Redjar / Flickr

Beginning July 1, Vermont law enforcement agencies will operate under a new bias-free policing policy. Those involved in writing it say it represents a step forward in the effort to reduce ethnic and racial bias in policing.

NPS Archives

Though the national parks have famously been called “America’s best idea," this sentiment is not universally accepted.

After the horrifying massacre in Orlando - we search for answers. “Why? Why?” We listen to the radio, turn to social media, and watch TV and see the backs of two men, two women, and a man and woman with their arms around each other. We catch sight of a middle aged woman standing alone, stupefied. Perhaps she is somebody’s mother. What happened in Orlando make us want to embrace one another, to stand together, to march together, each of us attempting to give comfort and to receive comfort as we share our grief.

The news bulletin that flashed across my laptop screen seemed all too familiar except for the number involved: an armed gunman killed 50 people in a crowded LGBT night club in Orlando early Sunday morning, making it the largest mass gun massacre in the history of the United States. Armed with an assault rifle and handgun, the killer called 911 to declare his allegiance to ISIS.

The Grand Isle County Sheriff's Department recently paid a nearly $30,000 payment to settle an instance involving illegal discrimination against a Mexican national working in Vermont.

Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

On Monday night, supporters of the LGBTQ community held vigils around the state and across the country to pay respect to victims of the mass shooting in Orlando. In Burlington, officials estimated between 1,500 and 2,000 people turned out for the march down Church Street and a vigil held in City Hall Park.

Nina Keck / VPR

Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras says his efforts to create a refugee resettlement community in Rutland are morally and economically based. Rutland's population is declining and aging and Louras says young refugee families are hard working, entrepreneurial and will bring much needed diversity to the city.  

Critics aren't convinced and many worry that refugees will end up being a burden on taxpayers. A good place to examine those concerns is Winooski, which has a large concentration of foreign-born residents.

Phelan M. Ebenhack / AP

The Pride Center of Vermont is organizing a Monday vigil in Burlington response to the mass shootings at a gay nightclub early Sunday morning in Orlando, Florida. Vermonters are also planning vigils in Montpelier Monday evening and in Middlebury on Tuesday.

A gunman opened fire on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., early Sunday morning, killing at least 50 people in the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history before being shot dead by police.