To the editor: In light of recent events downtown, the Brattleboro Representative Town Meeting passed a resolution on a vote of 70 to 8, stating the following:
WHEREAS the proceedings of the Representative Town Meeting of Saturday, March 20, 2021 were disrupted by news of a white nationalist rally in downtown Brattleboro; and
WHEREAS this rally caused members of this body to become concerned both for their own immediate safety and that of their Black, Brown, Asian, Indigenous, Jewish, Queer and politically active friends and family; and
WHEREAS the Representative Town Meeting as a public body believes that, while the freedom to express those views is respected, it also requires a direct and timely response from this body in order to clearly articulate this body’s opposition to those views; now, therefore
BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED that the Representative Town Meeting members reiterate the acknowledgment of harm to those communities referenced above made by the Town Manager in the Select Board meeting on March 2, 2021, namely:
"We acknowledge that centuries of white people holding power in our country (including here in Vermont and in Brattleboro) has perpetuated systemic racism that has caused and still causes harm to people of color throughout our country (including here in Vermont and in Brattleboro).
"We acknowledge that this harm is caused not only by overt acts of personal and systemic racism, but also more insidiously by the unintentional impacts of unconscious bias. We acknowledge that the harm caused by systemic oppression (both intended and unintended) extends beyond people of color to include LGBTQIA+ people, people living with disabilities, psychiatrically labelled people, and other individuals and groups who carry historically marginalized identities.
"We acknowledge that, as documented in the Community Safety Review Team's report, people here in our community have experienced harm from the existing systems in our community.
"Finally, we acknowledge that as people in positions of authority today we have an obligation to develop a more complete understanding of the harm that is being experienced and to take action to reduce and prevent such harm as we move forward from this time.
"Therefore, we commit ourselves to an ongoing process of reckoning with the harm caused by existing systems in Brattleboro and with our roles and actions within those systems. We further commit ourselves to approaching this work and future corrective actions with humility and reflection in collaboration with individuals and groups who have been negatively impacted by these systems,"; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Representative Town Meeting members do hereby condemn white supremacist and fascist views expressed by those neo-Nazis and express solidarity and support for all threatened, marginalized, and oppressed communities in Brattleboro who stand opposed to those views ; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Representative Town Meeting actively seeks to redress these harms and supports the work of the Community Safety Review Committee and the Town’s implementation of the recommendations that will make Brattleboro safer and more welcoming to all.
Brattleboro, March 21