Last week, racism reared its head in Burlington, when two people of color found fliers promoting the Ku Klux Klan posted to their doors. This was a horrific attempt at intimidation, yet it is not an isolated incident. In the 1980s a cross was burned on the lawn of a black family in Putney, andin 1997 on the lawn of a black resident of Concord.
Residents of Burlington have held two community rallies since this despicable event came to light. In Brattleboro we are holding a solidarity rally on Nov. 5, starting at 5 p.m. at The Root Social Justice Center. We will be marching to Pliny Park, arriving at 6 p.m., and hearing from community leaders who are calling for racial justice. The solidarity rally is organized by The Root Social Justice Center and we are asking for supporting, individuals, businesses and organizations to sign on to the statement below.
"We are rallying in solidarity with the targeted individuals and the people of Burlington by calling on our communities in Brattleboro to take action to ensure that people of color feel safe in their homes, in the streets, and in the community. We know that Brattleboro has had, and continues to have, its own share of racism, whether that is anonymous graffiti, discrimination in housing, work and school, or profiling of people of color on the streets and in shops.
"We are here to say that racism in all forms has no place in our town and in our state. No to the KKK. No to all expressions of racism. Yes to racial justice.
"Racism thrives on fear. It uses tactics of intimidation like posting those fliers on people's homes — the one place you are supposed to feel safe. That's why it is important that the targeted individuals in Burlington know that there are people around the state who are stating publicly that acts of racist terror are unacceptable. Period.
Racial justice is a daily issue — 365 days a year, 24/7. Yes, we need to respond to the extreme incidents, such as what happened in Burlington. Just as importantly, we need to be proactive in taking action in support of racial justice. That's how we get to set a racial justice agenda.
"There is no one way to participate in working towards racial justice. We encourage folks to engage on various levels: educate ourselves with what racial justice organizing has looked like in the past; seek out news coming from communities of color; hold conversations with our neighbors and family; engage and support campaigns that seek to change racist policies; uplift the voices and experiences of communities of color."