About

VT PoC group photo at a Burlington Park on a summer day
Photo by Isora Lithgow Creations

Land Acknowledgment

The Vermont Professionals of Color Network (VT PoC) acknowledges that the space we take up is on lands that have been a site of convergence and cultural exchange, nurtured and stewarded by ongoing generations of Indigenous communities, including the Western Abenaki.

The Western Abenaki refer to this land as Ndakinna [in-DAH-kee-NAH], which translates to “homeland.” We recognize the trauma caused by the violence and forced displacement inflicted upon these communities due to colonization.

With humility, we understand ourselves as guests on this land. We hold deep reverence for the profound Indigenous knowledge ingrained in this space. Our commitment lies in uplifting and honoring the presence of Indigenous voices, histories, peoples, and cultures within our community. We express gratitude for the opportunity of enjoying this beautiful land and are dedicated to its protection and preservation.

Redefining Professionalism

Traditionally, the idea of “professionalism” has become coded language that privileges the values and standards set by white employers. This form of white professionalism has established a standard of conduct that doesn’t apply equally to everyone, perpetuating systematic disparities. It has fostered a system where appearance often takes precedence over skill and expertise, and where white-centric norms take priority over the diverse talents and skill sets that individuals from all racial and ethnic backgrounds have to offer.

At VT PoC, we’ve redefined the term professionalism to transcend its associations with white favoritism. Our definition of professionalism celebrates inclusivity and equitable opportunities for all who desire to gain skills in any workplace or entrepreneurial setting. 

VT PoC defines a professional as an individual dedicated to developing expertise in a skill or craft that contributes to personal growth and/or societal improvement.

In this spirit, professionalism at VT PoC prioritizes:

  • Recognizing Skills With Compensation: People should be acknowledged and compensated fairly for their valuable skill sets. Period.
  • Emphasizing Expertise: Our perspective on expertise extends to cultural knowledge and practices shaped by various identities that may differ from conventional or traditional (read: white) approaches.
  • Empowering Growth: We endorse a culture of ongoing learning and personal development. Professionalism isn’t measured by a position or a profession; it embodies the pursuit of opportunities and personal career goals.

As we navigate this path, we uphold the belief that we are not free until we are all free, and that our approach to professionalism goes beyond superficial attributes such as appearances, place of birth, level of formal education, occupational sector, or skin color.

Whether you spend your days caring for young people or elders, building physical or visual creations, working third shift and spending time to build your own business on “off-hours,” or in an office between the hours of 9 AM to 5 PM, VT PoC welcomes you to the Fam. We’re building a professional community that thrives on the rich tapestry of skills, experiences, and aspirations that each one of us brings to the table.

Our Vision

At Vermont Professionals of Color Network, we serve:

Youth

Build capacity for youth (16-22) of color to access educational and experiential opportunities, menteeship, college and early career opportunities.

Professionals

Facilitate networking and career development, expose employment opportunities, and increase knowledge and civic engagement in the BIPOC community.

Tenured Professionals

Create opportunities for thought leaders / cultural and professional competence councilors to become advocates and ambassadors for the next generations of leaders of Color.

Organizations / Businesses / Entrepreneurs

Empower BIPOC organizations, businesses and entrepreneurs with the resources, community and talent to stimulate and sustain economic and social growth.

Supporters

The VT PoC Network invites all BIPOC and non-BIPOC individuals and organizations to support our mission through sponsorship of networking opportunities, civic engagement, and career advancement opportunities, sustaining financial support and spreading the word about our mission.

Core Values

Community

Creating opportunities to provide structure, relationships, affinity, safety, and openness resulting in a network all to advance the prosperity of BIPOC in the state of Vermont.

Growth

Growing relationships with community members and organizations by engaging in mutual learning, challenges, risks, and personal development all to advance the prosperity of BIPOC in the state of Vermont.

Leadership

Using what we learn to advocate and lead by example, foster respect, and earn trust from the community all to advance the prosperity of BIPOC in the state of Vermont.

Equity

Disrupting traditional norms to build and dismantle oppressive systems because we are not free until we are all free.

Service

Meeting the needs of the community with care, joy, respect, and humility all to advance the prosperity of BIPOC in the state of Vermont.