Tonight, over 2000+ Vermonters converged on the Burlington Police Department in protest of the racist murder of unarmed Black man George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis PD. Over the last 48 hours, rebellions & demonstrations have broke out in a multitude of US cities. In Minneapolis citizens overran the police department building where the officers responsible for the killing were based. Violent confrontations have flared between protesters and law enforcement in many urban centers outside Vermont. President Trump has called for looters to be shot, and has threated to mobilize the U.S. military.
In Burlington, the demonstrations were lead by Black Lives Matter. Amongst the many protesters were VT AFL-CIO District Vice President Dwight Brown, AFSCME Local 1343 President Damion Gilbert, and Progressive State Representative Brian Cina (who is also a member of DSA).
In front of the Police Station, standing on the bed of a pickup, lead organizer Harmony Edosomwan, through a blowhorn, localized grievances felt by Burlington communities when it comes to the PD’s recent use of force and the targeting of minority communities. “Their blood is on your hands, if you don’t do anything to fix this motherfucking department!… If another motherfucking black person, brown person — or even a motherfucking white person — dies on one of y’all’s … hands, that building is going motherfucking down… Do you understand that?… I’m going to give y’all grace today, because I believe in people sometimes… I’m angry as fuck. We could easily turn this shit up right now,” bellowed Edosomwan through a blowhorn.
The Burlington protests resulting in a window being smashed and graffiti at the Police Department. In Montpelier, the State Capital, a satellite rally was organized involving 100+ protesters, many holding Black Lives Matters signs. Another demonstration is being called for in Brattleboro tomorrow (5/31/20).
The Vermont AFL-CIO stands in solidarity with Black communities across the United States, and all People of Color (in Vermont and beyond) who refuse to acquiesce to racist state violence and economic exploitation. People have a moral & political right & responsibility to engage in self defense, protest, and rebellion when faced with oppression. The racist murders of Black men, POC, and working people at the hands of the State must be brought to an end by any effective means necessary.
David Van Deusen
President of the Vermont AFL-CIO