AN OPEN LETTER FROM A COMMUNITY MEMBER
Every month, VT PoC shines a spotlight on a member of the community. These usually take the form of an interview where they are asked a variety of questions related to the member’s personal history, professional history, and if relevant, their thoughts on our newsletter topic for that month.
We’re doing things a bit different for September. A few weeks ago we received an open letter from Jacq Posley, an advocate and resident of Vermont for 5 years. The letter precedes her upcoming departure from the state and recounts the experiences that led her to leave.
The last thing VT PoC members want to see is a Vermonter of Color being pushed away from the state due to racism. However, in her letter, Jacq offers a candid and unfiltered perspective of just that. She courageously addresses the challenges she’s faced, including the painful reality of racism and inequity that she and others have encountered during her time in Vermont. Jacq’s account speaks to the intricacies of her identity as a Black individual navigating a landscape that has presented so many deeply disheartening moments.
Jacq Posley’s letter serves as a catalyst for introspection and growth, prompting us to examine the dynamics that shape our community and our shared journey towards a more inclusive Vermont.
An excerpt of the letter can be found below. To read the full blog post, click here.
My Last Plea as a Black Vermonter – A Very Open Letter
Jacq Posley – August 09, 2023
I write this note feeling simultaneously heavy-hearted and freed. September 16, 2023 would have been five years that I have lived in this state.
Five years since I left my life in Mississippi thinking NO PLACE could be more racist (tuh). Five years of serving on multiple civic boards that claim they want equity, but build walls in the face of progression. Five years of being called racial slurs with no one to protect me from it and no one to check their white supremacist friends. Five years of confederate flags, don’t tread on me flags, and strategically placed Donald Dump paraphernalia. Five years of watching MANY of my friends and their very young Black children suffer from the same mental anguish I have experienced while existing as a Black person in Vermont. September 16, 2023 should be a time for celebration. Instead, it is a time for reflection as I leave the state to pursue equity work in a place that actually wants it.
You may note that within this introduction I have not referenced any of us as “Vermonters” or “Black Vermonters”. This is undoubtedly because I have spent the last five years being told by numerous self-proclaimed “Real Vermonters” that I could never have the title. It was actually only my first week here when a former friend explained how to tread lightly when calling myself “A Vermonter”. Truthfully, that should have been my sign that Vermont doesn’t actually want Black people to exist peacefully here; but of course: I persisted with hope that only a naïve 23-year old could muster.
September 6 – VT PoC x Money Matters
VT PoC is excited to partner with Shanda Williams of SDCMCG to offer VT PoC x Money Matters workshops! The next session on Credit & Debt Management is on September 6 from 10:00 AM to 12 PM and 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM.
This series is FREE to VT PoC members and is a continuation of VT PoC’s Financial Literacy Series.
September 7 – Financial Literacy Series with Commonwealth Financial Group
Our next financial literacy series webinar is coming back with a session on holistic financial planning!
September 30 – North by Northeast: Navigating Your Small Business
Whether you are a small business owner, a solo-preneur, someone thinking about starting a business, a resource provider, or a community partner, we hope you will join us!
This event is made possible by our generous sponsors and the Community Navigator Pilot Program funded (in part) by a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Registration closes September 6 at 9:00 AM – Growing Resilience: Being Trauma-Informed – 12 Week Professional Development Course
The prevalence of trauma and its effects are astounding. Knowing the body holds the experiences of our lives, and given the complexity of the world, many professionals witness the effects of trauma on a daily basis. Join a community of professionals and other dedicated change makers to learn and receive support in creating accessible and trauma informed spaces, classes and private practices.
September 7 – VT Racial Justice Alliance – Black Artist Showcase (6:00 – 8:00 PM)
The Black Artist Showcase will be held at The Richard Kemp Center. Enjoy music and spoken word from local Black artists.
September 8 – Safe Spaces – BIPoC Game Night (7:00 PM – 10:00 PM)
Sometimes we just need a night out without going out. So throw on something comfy and let’s have a game night! Donations welcome and help cover the cost of childcare, food and drinks. Feel free to BYO drink, snack or something to share.
September 8 – The Flynn Presents: Audra McDonald (7:30 PM)
Get to Know Audra McDonald appearing onstage at The Flynn on September 8. Don’t miss this Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winning artist.
September 8, 22 – The Richard Kemp Center’s Youth Movie Night with VT Racial Justice Alliance (6:00 PM)
Join us for Youth Movie Night. Parents are more than welcomed to stay with their kids or drop them off and have an evening to yourselves. Food, Snack and Beverages will be provided. Doors open at 6:00 p.m.
September 9 – Fletcher Free Library Presents: The Poetry Experience ft. Rajnii Eddins (1:00 PM – 10:00 PM)
Check out this local writing/sharing circle (held every 2nd and 4th Saturday). The Poetry Experience is hosted by Rajnii Eddins! Please spread the word and feel free to invite poets, writers, teachers, emcees, creative people and arts enthusiasts of all ages!!!!
September 15 – VT Racial Justice Alliance Monthly Game Night (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM)
Join us for our monthly game night where there will be Spades, Charades, Dominos, and more! Food will also be provided.
September 20, 21 – VT Comedy Club Presents: Aparna Nancherla – Standup And Book Tour! (7:00 PM)
Despite being shy and modest (her actual words), Aparna Nancherla has a lot to say. So much so that she wrote a whole dang book about how shy and modest she is. But that wasn’t enough for her. Oh no no no. When asked to do a book tour, she said, “Actually, what if I just do standup? And sort of throw books at people as they’re trying to leave?” And honestly, all her stuffed animals agents got so excited about it they threw a bunch of papers in the air like at NASA when the rocket is safe. And so, here it is. A book tour featuring mostly standup.
September 23 – New Suns Equinox Festival (12:00 – 10:30 PM)
We are incredibly excited to invite you to the New Suns Equinox Festival, a celebration that is the culmination of a collaboration between RELEAF and Every Town. The Equinox Festival will celebrate the seasons transitioning from summer to Fall while centering BIPOC folks of the Global majority in and from Vermont. We will have skill shares, communal food, stories, and laughter. We will then end the day with a concert led by an array of Black, Brown, and Indigenous musical artists.
October 4 – The Thrive Ball: Zodiac Haus (7:00 PM)
It was written in the stars, it’s time to bring vogue and ballroom to the green mountain state, with The THRIVE Ball: Zodiac Haus! THIS IS A QT/POC FOCUSED EVENT AND SPACE. QT/POC HAVE PRIORITY IN ATTENDING THE EVENT. ALL ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND AND PARTICIPATE! Free entry for BIPOC attendees, DM thrivepcvt on Instagram for details!
3rd Annual August Kickback – Thank You!
From scrumptious bites to great music and the warmth of amazing company, we had it all! Thank you to all those who could join us at our 3rd Annual August Kickback, and for those who made this event possible:
Our lovely, accommodating host: The Alchemist Brewery in Stowe
Our amazing BIPOC contributors: Healthy Kingdom Life, Sarom’s Cafe, Café Mamajuana, Thingz from Yaad, Tiny Thai, Soul Simone, Queen City Yoga & Fitness, Kay Chèf Tèl, DJ King Crouch
Our gracious donors: Skinny Pancake, the EDGE, 95 Triple X, the Flynn, Starbucks
Our wonderful community partners: Vermont Law & Graduate School, Capstone Community Action, Vermont Releaf Collective, Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC), Efficiency Vermont
Here’s an amazing recap video created by Nyasha, one of our summer interns:
Data security breach compromises 42,000 Vermonters’ personal information
The Vermont Department of Financial Regulation announced that a large-scale data security breach has “compromised the personally identifiable information” of an estimated 42,000 Vermonters and over 38 million people across the country. Learn which companies were affected here.
New leader takes the reins at Vermont Legal Aid
Yasmin Dwedar has taken over as the new executive director of Vermont Legal Aid, a nonprofit offering free legal assistance to historically underserved groups in VT. She mentions in an interview with VTDigger that she plans on making Vermont Legal Aid’s services available to more people who need legal representation. Read more here.
Vermont Conversation: Champlain College President Alex Hernandez on the transformative power of an education
Alejandro “Alex” Hernandez, the President of Champlain College faces the challenge of promoting diversity while adhering to legal boundaries after the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action. Listen to the full conversation here.
Magic Chopsticks to Open in Burlington
After almost five years of anticipation, Magic Chopsticks is finally opening its doors at 194 St. Paul Street in Burlington. The noodle bar will serve traditional Asian dishes like ‘crossing the bridge’ rice noodle soup, Lanzhou ramen, and Vietnamese pho. Read more here.
Vermont immigrant dairy farmworkers face unique safety risks. Research shows this hotline helps
Vermont immigrant dairy farmworkers face unsafe conditions and unfair treatment. Assault incidents and injuries are common, compounded by language barriers, fear of deportation, and lack of safety training. Advocacy by Migrant Justice and its Milk With Dignity program addresses issues, but limited corporate participation poses challenges. Click here to learn more.
From flood info to apartment appliance guides, Vermont Language Justice Project aims to translate it all
After the July flooding, the Vermont Language Justice Project released videos about the risks of contaminated drinking water, floodwater making garden foods inedible, where to get help with flooded buildings, and more. Read about the work they’re doing here.