The Vermont Center for Independent Living condemns the police violence and systemic racism that pulses through our country. We are in solidarity with a Statement on Police Violence that the National Council on Independent Living released in May.
Racism, police brutality, communal grief and trauma have been magnified in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, but these issues are not new and cannot be tolerated. These types of atrocities create vicarious trauma for most people of color and therefore lead them to other disabling, critical conditions.
We recognize that providing a statement of condemnation is not enough and the issue of systemic racism goes far deeper than the systems of policing. While we are in solidarity with working to dismantle systemic racism, disability rights advocates in Vermont must learn, talk about and dismantle our own systems of oppression, especially those in leadership positions.
We commit to broader education of our community. We commit to hiring racial justice organizations to help us learn further about white privilege, white supremacy, bias and systemic racism.
We commit to reviewing and revising VCIL policies and procedures to ensure that the way our system is structured and the way we provide services to Vermonters with disabilities is equitable and anti-racist.
We will continue to work on racial justice in collaboration with all our partners on advocacy issues, including policing, criminal justice, voting, healthcare, employment, education, housing and economic development.
On behalf of the board and staff of VCIL, we express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd.