The other day David Schoales included, in the context of a discussion group, a link to a June 2 statement issued by the Vermont Agency of Education director Daniel French. Following are the first two paragraphs of that statement:
“In light of the killing of George Floyd, another instance of police violence against a person of
color, we write to reaffirm the Agency of Education’s commitment to social justice and equity
literacy statewide. We firmly believe in our collective responsibility to create an anti-racist
education system and commit to supporting districts and schools in Vermont in their own
efforts to confront racism and create learning environments that are just, inclusive and
June 28, 2020, Montpelier, VT – Black Lives Matter. The Vermont AFL-CIO understands and recognizes that the United States of America is a nation which has long been governed by a ruling class whose power (social and economic) is rooted in slavery, racism, inequity, and oppression. We further see with clear eyes that Black people, whose ancestors were brought to this country in chains, have suffered (and continue to suffer) oppression on a massive and inexcusable scale. Such facts are made plain by not only looking at history, but also by looking at contemporary unemployment figures, poverty rates, average household income, incarceration rates, and through policing data. People who are Black are also murdered by American police officers with sickening regularity. George Floyd was not an exception. He, like Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Terence Crutcher, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray (to name but a few), was one of the latest in a long line of martyrs going back hundreds of years (and accounting for thousands of taken lives). We must not become numb to these murders. We cannot accept that Black families must educate their children on how to not become the target of unprovoked police violence. We cannot allow systematic racism and police violence against Black people to continue as the regularity that it has always been. Rather, we must resist.