Families impacted by police violence to speak in Montpelier

In the wake of another brutal police murder in the headlines, the NAACP of Rutland Area & Windham County and the ACLU of Vermont are bringing to Montpelier a panel of five family members whose loved ones were lost to police violence. “Voices from the Front: Structural Racism & Policing” will take place on Thursday, February 9 at 6pm in the Pavilion Auditorium at 109 State Street in Montpelier, VT and will be live-streamed via Zoom.

The participants are affiliated with the Love Not Blood Campaign, which seeks to support and embrace every family impacted by violence and build a political movement to eliminate police violence, community violence, and institutional racism. It will be moderated by Mia Schultz, president of the Rutland Area NAACP and Dr. Steffen Gillom, president of the Windham County NAACP. This event is an opportunity for lawmakers and the public to hear directly from impacted families about the repercussions of police violence.

“Our current policing system has placed a heavy psychological burden on the backs of Black and Brown people across this country, including Vermont, “ says Dr. Gillom. “Like everyone else, we have a duty to highlight the voices here too.”

Vermont’s criminal legal system has some of the worst racial disparities in the country, with rampant over-policing of our communities, and especially of community members of color. As our state considers ways to enhance police accountability and reimagine the role that police play in our towns and cities, it is imperative that we center the voices of those who have been impacted by unjust policing practices and prioritize correcting racial injustices within our state. 

“We all deserve to feel safe in our communities, and true public safety requires that we reimagine the role of police in our towns and cities so the people of Vermont can live without fear of state-sanctioned violence and harassment,” adds Falko Schilling, Advocacy Director at ACLU of Vermont. “Vermont communities–especially Black and Brown Vermonters–have endured rampant over-policing for too long. It is past time to remedy this injustice.””

Panelists include Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson, Co-Founder and CEO of the Love Not Blood Campaign, whose nephew, Oscar Grant was murdered by a police officer in 2009; Michael Brown Sr., founder of the Chosen for Change foundation, whose son Michael Brown Jr. was murdered by police in 2014; Andrew Joseph, Jr., and Deanna Joseph, co-founders of The Andrew Joseph Foundation, whose son Andrew Joseph, III died due to police negligence in 2014; and Beatrice X Johnson, aka Auntie Bee, co-founder of the Love Not Blood Campaign. 

Recording available: https://www.acluvt.org/en/voices-front-structural-racism-policing.

2 thoughts on “Families impacted by police violence to speak in Montpelier

  1. This was a very powerful and moving program. I would love to ask our local police chief to watch it. Is it avail to stream? thank you.


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