VCDR 2021 Legislative Platform
Justice and Access for All: More Important Now Than Ever
Since last March, our state and the nation we share have been hit by a pandemic that has exposed the fragility of our health and civic protections and our sense of unity. In this new year, with a new administration in Washington and a growing recognition of the need for a renewed commitment to equity and justice here in Vermont, VCDR members and allies say: Justice and Access for All: More Important Now Than Ever.
In the midst of crisis and uncertainty last year, Vermonters discovered unexpected solutions and acts of creativity, justice and kindness that continue to show us the way forward. Let us carry the best of these acts into and beyond 2021, so that all Vermonters, including Vermonters with disabilities, are part of a safer, more accessible and more just world.
A recent disability report from the Vermont Department of Health shows that about 110,000 (22%) of adults in Vermont have one or more disabilities. This is an average; county rates range from highs of 36%, 32% and 30% in Essex, Grand Isle, and Bennington and a low of 18% in Chittenden. The experience of disability rises sharply as people age: 8% of Vermont children have disabilities compared to 31% of adults who are 65 and older. Ethnic and social equity are daily concerns for many Vermonters with disabilities and their families. One third of people of color in Vermont have disabilities, as do 35% of LGBTQ Vermonters. Over half of adults with disabilities are part of very low or low-income households (earning less than $24,000 a year). The remaining 46% live in middle- or upper-income households ($25,000-$75,000 a year).
VCDR celebrates Vermont’s diversity. Because of our own diversity we know that Black lives matter. Disability justice matters. Now, more than ever, we need Vermont to be a place that respects and honors the diversity of disability and human experience. Equity and justice must increasingly shape how we handle this pandemic and inform the decisions made by and for Vermonters.