Advocates urge Vermont legislators to proactively address equity issues in COVID-19 response and recovery

Montpelier, VT –– This week a group of organizations fighting for a clean and healthy environment, social and racial justice, programs that support our children, and other intersecting issues called on Vermont legislators to proactively address equity issues while making decisions on how to spend federal funds, create a state budget, and develop COVID-19 response and recovery policies. Read the letter here.

Acknowledging that the COVID-19 crisis has severely exacerbated all of the existing disparities across housing, education, employment, health services access, and the justice system, the advocates write:

We know that you are working diligently to protect the immediate safety and health of our state. As you do, we ask that you take stock of our systems to ensure that no Vermonters are left behind… structural and intersectional barriers restrict marginalized people from getting ahead in Vermont. The influence of these systems of inequity have become even more evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The letter urges Vermont lawmakers to take a list of questions into consideration when making important policy decisions, such as: “Am I unintentionally reinforcing systems of inequity?” and “Did I get enough community input on this policy – are there other stakeholders I should engage?”

Earlier this year, the same group of organizations released a 2020 Vision for Vermont. It laid out a plan to invest in Vermont’s future: in a clean, toxic-free environment and affordable energy; access to housing, health care, child care, and healthy food for all; an equitable, effective and restorative criminal justice system; and more.

The collaboration behind the Vision stemmed from the organizations’ hope to elevate and demonstrate the connections between the myriad issues they work on as they advocate for policies that nurture a more resilient, inclusive, and diverse Vermont. View the Vision here.

Contacts: 
Lauren Hierl – Executive Director, Vermont Conservation Voters – lhierl@vermontconservationvoters.org – 860-670-2629 (cell)

Charlie Gliserman – Public Engagement Director, VT Early Childhood Advocacy Alliance – charlie@vecaa.org – 802-595-9913

Morgan Nichols – VT State Director, Main Street Alliance of Vermont, morgan@mainstreetalliance.org, 802-233-7800

###