OPINION: Racial Justice

by Madeline Sharrow, Northfield

Central Vermont chapter of the national group, Showing Up for Racial Justice came out in support this week of new racial justice reform bills H.492 and S.116. Showing Up for Racial Justice Central Vermont is a local racial justice community organization and has signed onto the H.492 and S.116 bill in a large coalition of local Vermont organizations led by Justice For All.

The bill H492 is exciting because it provides a much needed racial justice reform board which would address issues of institutionalized racism within the criminal justice system. This board is crucial because although there are a variety of important racial justice measures taking place across the state, there is no centralized independent oversight to provide accountability between residents and the public institutions that serve Vermont. The racial justice reform board created under this bill would provide third party oversight of the implementation of model policy, training and data collection in all components of the criminal justice system.

According to Northfield resident, Sarah Lowry of Central Vermont Showing Up for Racial Justice “This bill is long overdue. We need to address the foundational racism that is embedded in our criminal justice system and it is not enough to just train cops. In order to begin to build relationships of accountability and trust between community and law enforcement, we need to have a team of people who can bring this conversation into every aspect of the criminal justice system. These bills will increase safety and security for all Vermonters.”

Central Vermont Showing Up for Racial Justice is excited to see these bills making their way through the house and the senate and is committed to working hard to help them make crossover by March 17!

For more information, updates and how to get involved:

http://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2018/H.492

https://racialjusticereformomnibusbillvt.wordpress.com/

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