Letter: Commit yourself to supporting equality

Editor of the Reformer:

From Charlottesville to Keene and Claremont in New Hampshire, to right here in southern Vermont to the Oval Office, white supremacists, white nationalists and other violently racist individuals and groups are emboldened not to a new level in this country, but to a level of terror and horror that has existed before. And has continued to exist in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways. For many of us, the hoods are being taken off and we are seeing the ugly truth of just how deep white supremacy is enmeshed in our country.

We send condolences and deep love to those whose lives were lost in Charlottesville, their families and those who were physically injured and emotionally traumatized. We also acknowledge that the rally in Charlottesville was one of the largest white supremacist gatherings in decades. This kind of gathering did not happen overnight. It has been gathering momentum, waiting for the time to come out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

For many in our communities — people of color, queer and trans folks, Muslims, Jews, folks with disabilities, poor folks, and especially those that hold many of these identities at once — this kind of violence is not new. The daily threat by white supremacists has never gone away, it has only taken a different form than it did during the era of colonialism and land theft, of slavery and Japanese internment, during the era of Jim Crow and red-lining, during the rise of mass incarceration and the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, the War on Muslims and the War on Trans Bodies.

We knew Charlottesville was coming. We knew Trump was elected based on decades of right wing and white supremacist gains in political power. This level of organized violence did not happen because of a presidential election. It is larger and more deeply rooted history of white supremacy that this country has never addressed and never healed from.

We at The Root continue our work for racial justice. We remain committed to our mission of being a hub for racial justice organizing, prioritizing People of Color leadership and shifting resources to People of Color-led organizing.

After the election results came in, we called for a wide coalition of social justice organizations to come together resulting in the WeCAN communication network because we knew we needed to create a powerful and unified movement locally. When we started Soul Food Sundays and the I Am Vermont Too project, we knew that we needed to create safe spaces for People of Color to come together, to heal and to build relationships. We support our youth through Youth 4 Change because we know we need to lift up the next generation of organizers and leaders, as this struggle will not be over any time soon.

We are committed to our work. We are committed to building vibrant and healthy communities that name racism and white supremacy as root causes of violence and injustice. In the face of the recent atrocities, we are here and we are as strong as ever. Because we know that this work must be done.

Thank you to our donors, our volunteers, and our community for supporting us. We are in this together.

Join us in celebrating this racial justice work for our fourth birthday party on Sept. 23 starting at 3 p.m. at The Root at 28 Williams St.

The Root Collective,

Brattleboro, Sept. 8


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