Our country is at a boiling point. The murder of George Floyd by a white police officer has unleashed the frustrations of a nation that has waited far too long to see racial justice. People have braved a pandemic to fight for change, for the most part trying to do so safely. That same pandemic shines a bright light on the ways systemic racism hurts people of color in this country. Black people are dying three to four times as much as whites from COVID 19. https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/05/health/coronavirus-african-americans-study/index.html Blacks are disproportionately affected by unemployment during this crisis. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/01/coronavirus-impact-black-communities-protests/ And we have far too many narratives of unarmed black men, women and even children being killed by police.
As Vermonters, the majority of our VPO membership is white. Some of us might not see the violence or discrimination that others of us experience. The majority of our membership is female, so many of us understand sexism. A number of our members are in same sex relationships and understand discrimination. While some of us may not experience racism directly, we can understand our common humanity and we can identify inequality and bias when we see it.
All of us work in a profession that fights for justice. While we do it in different ways, justice is a core value we share. How do we work for justice in a world that seems so broken in so many ways? The answer to that is different for every one of us. Because racism is systemic, there are many points of entry to effect change. Protests, prison reform, food insecurity, discriminatory housing practices, discriminatory employment practices – there are many potential points of entry to effect change in our systems. Writing letters to editors or politicians, volunteering at legal clinics, boycotting businesses with unfair practices or intentionally seeking out minority owned business are other ways to make a difference. Whatever it is for you, I’d encourage you to find your path. Our country has been on this journey for far too long.
The VPO Board