Letter: Out of sight, not out of mind
Editor of the Reformer,
The May 10 article, "Police enforce no camping on The Island," reminds me of several moments in history in which people have been forcibly relocated in order to satisfy the interests of the wealthy. The two foremost in my mind are the forced removal of indigenous people in this very same geographic location, and the forced removal of Palestinians from their homeland (the anniversary of the Nakba is today, May 15).
The now-defamed Dorothy Canfield Fisher wrote in her 1934 open letter, "Vermont Summer Homes," that only "superior, interesting families of character, cultivation, and good breeding" should be invited to summer in Vermont. Is that any different than what we are saying now, when we evict people without homes and encourage, as Hinsdale Police Chief Todd Faulkner said in the article, only "the right people" to "come down here"?
Poverty exists even if we try to invisibilize people who struggle to meet their basic needs. We must decide if we support or oppose systemic injustice. Do we, like Groundworks, believe that shelter is a basic human need? We should be for the people, but against the inhumane conditions in which some are forced to live.
I encourage you to join Brattleboro Solidarity this Saturday, May 18, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Root Social Justice Center, to investigate Brattleboro's land and labor history. We will draw connections between past and present, and work together to decide how we confront the dehumanization of the poor, and how we stay on the right side of history and stand with justice.
A final note of irony. The writer describes complaints about "detritus." The scientific definition of "detritus" is "loose material (such as rock fragments or organic particles) that results directly from disintegration." When we try to push people out sight, we are aiding in the disintegration of our humanity.
Brattleboro, May 15
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