Four years after its charter, the Rutland area branch of the NAACP is poised to welcome a new president. Founding president Tabitha Moore is moving on to new ventures, and nominated Bennington community organizer and advocate, Mia Schultz for the position. Ms. Schultz brings a history of advocacy in education and in the community that began after the NAACP helped her family. Many of the other executive committee positions were filled by current committee members, creating a strong leadership team to move into the new year.
“It is a profound honor to be chosen as the next Rutland Area NAACP chapter president,” says Ms. Schutlz. “I will be driven by the guidance and the knowledge of Tabitha and the members who have built this organization from the beginning. It is a collaborative effort to make a change in our communities and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve.”
Outgoing president Ms. Moore comments, “It has been an honor to work with an outstanding crew of racial justice advocates and activists over the past five years (have to include the year before we were officially chartered). Along with so many community partners and leaders who share the vision of a racially just Vermont, we have established a network of anti-racist partners, practices, and programming that will continue to serve our most disenfranchised Vermonters.
When I decided to form the Branch, I didn’t know what would happen or how we would be received or how we would fit into the community, but the talent of so many and willingness to do the difficult work has yielded incredible results. It was a difficult decision choosing not to run again, but Mia is incredible and has a much-needed perspective, vision, and skill set that will take the Branch to the next level. I am grateful to her and the other Branch leaders whom I have had the privilege of working with and look forward to supporting future leaders as I am a lifetime member of the Rutland Area Branch.”
The second-largest branch in New England with over 550 members, the Rutland Area NAACP serves people from Bennington to Addison counties and works with its sister branch in Windham to serve the broader Vermont community. The branch has become a community touchstone and a statewide leader in racial justice, addressing local incidents of hate and descrimination as well as advocating for legislation and testifying at the statehouse. The group has held dozens of events, including potluck dinners, educational trainings, memorial vigils, movie screenings, and political candidate panels. In addition, they have provided one-on-one advocacy and support to individuals experiencing discrimination and helped connect local businesses to resources to improve their diversity and inclusion practices. Since the start of the pandemic, they have organized several online workshops and other events, including cosponsoring a forum with the Orange County sheriff’s office in which community members were able to question law enforcement leadership about their racial justice policies and practices.
Ms. Schultz steps into a dedicated group well-positioned to continue to address racism and make change in the Rutland area and beyond.