State News

Vermont Senate takes up suite of resolutions related to racial justice 

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MONTPELIER, VT – Today, the Vermont Senate passed J.R.H. 6, a joint resolution declaring racism as a public health emergency. The Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing & General Affairs also voted favorably to pass out S.R. 10 a resolution condemning anti-Asian and anti-Pacific Islander hate in the United States and recognizing May 2021 as Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in Vermont, and S.R. 11 resolution honoring the memory of George Floyd by designating May 25, 2021 as a Day of Remembrance and Action. These two resolutions will be up for debate on the Senate floor tomorrow. S.R. 10 had 21 co-sponsors and S.R. 11 had 30 co-sponsors.


“The racial reckoning and coronavirus pandemic both took a deep toll on Black and Asian Americans this past year,” said Sen. Kesha Ram, lead sponsor of S.R. 10 and S.R. 11. “As Vermonters, we have much to reflect on, to celebrate, and to work toward on our journey to root out racism in our state. These resolutions honor where we are on that journey and how much further we have to go. As the first Asian-American person in the State Senate, I am grateful they are resoundingly supported by my Senate colleagues.”


“We use resolutions to express the sentiments of the Senate and the General Assembly,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint. “While much more work lies ahead of us to address systemic racism in Vermont, and to celebrate the contributions Black and Asian American Vermonters and all people of color in our state, these three resolutions show our intent to continue efforts to end racism and oppression.”


“We are moving forward quickly with J.R.H. 6 due to the urgency of the problem, while also acknowledging that more work needs to be done to ensure the full inclusion of all Vermonters of color,” said Sen. Ruth Hardy who reported the resolution on the Senate floor today. “The Senate did important work on H.210, which the Governor signed into law on Tuesday, addressing disparities and promoting equity in the health care system. We worked to ensure that bill was more inclusive of all racial and ethnic groups, including indigenous Vermonters; required work to better align data with acceptable racial and ethnic identities; and expanded definitions of cultural competency and cultural humility. This legislation is directly in line with the action demanded in J.R.H 6 and we remain committed to returning to this important work next session, further advancing the goals of this resolution.”


The text of the resolutions can be found at the links below:

S.10 and S.11 will be discussed during the 9:30 Senate floor session tomorrow, Friday, May 21st. The streaming link can be found here.


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