Anti-Racism Resources

“It is not enough to be non-racist, we must be antiracist.” – Angela Davis

George Floyd, the black man who died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer handcuffed him and pinned him to the ground for several minutes, is one of countless black people who have died during an encounter with police. Many who have been speaking out and taking to the streets over the past several days are doing so to demand justice for victims, and to call for the dismantling of systemic racism and all the ways in which it manifests itself.

In recent months, studies have shown that the coronavirus pandemic is disproportionately killing black Americans, which researchers attribute to “social conditions, structural racism, and other factors.” Decades of policy making have cycled brown and black people in and out of prison at startlingly disproportionate rates, much of it under the facade of a war on drugs. Many policies in the criminal justice system, like stop and frisk, no-knock warrants, use of chokeholds, mandatory minimums and asset forfeiture have disproportionately impacted people of color and been enforced under the guise of the Drug War.

It will take more than voting, or the actions of elected officials, for America to recover from the violent, sinister history and reality of racism embedded in its collective consciousness.

As Black Lives Matter protests continue across the country and the globe, the questions on millions of minds are: How can we do better, as a society, and how can I help?

All these stories require not only our attention but a deeper understanding of systemic racism and implicit bias. We have pulled together some resources that we believe will be helpful during these frightening and frustrating times. Understanding begins with all of us looking inward, reflecting on our own attitudes, engaging in allyship, and of course, having difficult conversations with family and friends. Keep scrolling for kid-friendly resources.

Individual Actions: What YOU Can Do

  • Silence is complicit. As yourself, what are you doing on a daily basis to make change happen, however incremental? Do you speak up when you see something? Are your actions mindful and are you conscious of your white privilege in your daily life?
  • Demand police accountability from your legislators. Make ending police brutality a litmus test for your political support. Familiarize yourself with laws in your area, and contact your representatives — at the local, state, and national level — to press them for their plans on ending discrimination in law enforcement.
  • Join a protest, if you feel you can do so safely. If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, have been exposed, or regularly come in contact people who are at high risk of contracting the virus, the best thing to do is to isolate yourself. If you decide to participate in a local protest, wear a mask. Bring hand sanitizer, and if you can, maybe pack a few extra water bottles, for yourself and for others who might need them. Try to maintain as much distance from others as possible, and not to touch anyone else if you can.
  • Offer resources to communities and affected protestors in your area. If you have the means, you might consider picking up some extra bottles of water, food, masks, hand sanitizer, and other supplies ahead of protests in your area. Providing these basics is one way to help support the cause, even if you don’t feel like you can safely join in yourself.
  • Pledge to vote. Make sure you are registered to vote and participate in upcoming local and federal elections.
  • Make a donation. If you have money to spare right now, consider making a donation, however small it might seem to you. You can donate to the Vermont Justice & Equity GoFundMe or check out more local and national organizations below in our Resources area.
  • Call out bigotry and hate speech. If you overhear someone, say, tell a racist joke, speak up and let them know stereotyping isn’t harmless. Let your children know they should feel free do the same.
  • Report suspicious sites, stories, ads, social accounts, and posts that actively promote and share disinformation that inflames and deepens racial and social divides. 
  • Create discourse and restorative dialogue with friends, family, neighbors and community members. However uncomfortable some of those conversations may be, they are essential.
  • Teach children kindness and how to talk about differences. Prejudice and hate are not innate. They are learned behaviors — and they can be unlearned. Although parents may find these conversations painful and complicated, it’s important talk to your kids about what’s happening right now — even if your kids are young. White parents of white children can help their children understand racial injustice, and the concept of privilege, early on.

What Businesses Can Do

  • Reaffirm your organization’s commitment to justice and equity and actively develop, implement, and regularly evaluate policies and processes to ensure that racism is not systematically embedded.
  • Take a hard look at your mission and your company values – do you champion and embed inclusion within your organization? Do you commit resources, engagement and fundraising, however incremental, that help build racial equity and implement forward moving change?
  • Strive to engage stakeholders who have active and authentic connections to their respective communities. It is important to ensure meaningful participation, voice and ownership.
  • Commit to not only hiring a diverse workforce, but engaging and partnering with diverse businesses and organizations wherever possible.
  • Consider the branding, imagery and language used in your marketing and social media, and whether your overall brand is reflective of diversity and racial inclusion. It matters!
  • Conduct racial equity impact assessments. These assessments allow a systematic examination of how a proposed action or decision will likely affect different racial and ethnic groups. It is a useful tool for assessing the actual or anticipated effect of proposed policies, institutional practices, programs, plans and budgetary decisions.

Resource Compilations

Articles to Read

Organizations to Support

  • The Bail Project works with public defenders and community organizations to provide assistance paying bail, court date reminders, transportation, and other support to low-income individuals.
  • Justice for All pursues racial justice within Vermont’s criminal justice system and beyond through advocacy, education, and relationship-building.
  • The Rutland (Vermont) Area NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, works to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race.
  • Migrant Justice, a Vermont nonprofit whose mission is to build the voice, capacity, and power of the farmworker community and engage community partners to organize for economic justice and human rights.
  • The AALV helps New Americans in Vermont gain independence in new communities.
  • Black Lives Matter, which has chapters all over the United States, including Boston.
  • The Black Alliance for Just Immigration works toward racial, social, and economic justice locally and regionally by engaging with community partners to boost awareness about race, racism, identities, migration, and globalization.
  • The UndocuBlack Network provides resources and community, along with advancing policy, immigrant rights, and racial justice to benefit black undocumented individuals.
  • African Communities Together is an organization of African immigrants fighting for civil rights, opportunity, and a better life for our families here in the U.S. and worldwide.
  • The Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective is a nonprofit “collective of advocates, yoga teachers, artists, therapists, lawyers, religious leaders, teachers, psychologists, and activists.”
  • Know Your Rights Camp: A campaign and series of camps held in various U.S. cities to empower black youth and instruct them on how to interact with law enforcement, founded by professional football player Colin Kaepernick.
  • National Black Arts’ Forward Artist Project Relief Fund: A fund to support black artists in need, enabling them to continue creating and featuring their art during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Books to Read and Discuss

What to Watch

  • The Hate U Give, a film based on the YA novel offering an intimate portrait of race in America
  • LA 92, where stark footage traces decades of police brutality and public uprising leading up to the 1992 acquittal of four LAPD officers filmed beating Rodney King.
  • Just Mercy, a film based on civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson’s work on death row in Alabama
  • The 1965 debate between James Baldwin and William F. Buckley
  • My hour on the history of Confederate statues in Nat Geo’s America Inside Out
  • Becoming, a Netflix documentary following Michelle Obama on her book tour
  • Let It Falla documentary looking at racial tensions in Los Angeles and the 1992 riots over LAPD officers’ brutal assault on Rodney King
  • When They See Us, a Netflix miniseries from Ava DuVernay about the Central Park Five
  • 13th, a Netflix documentary exposing racial inequality within the criminal justice system
  • I Am Not Your Negro, a documentary envisioning the book James Baldwin was never able to finish
  • Selma, a film that chronicles the marches of the Civil Rights Movement
  • Whose Streets?a documentary about the uprising in Ferguson
  • Fruitvale Station, a film with Michael B. Jordan about the killing of Oscar Grant
  • American Son, a film with Kerry Washington about an estranged interracial couple waiting for their missing son
  • The Central Park Five, a documentary from Ken Burns

Resources for Kids & Teens

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