At the Black Lives Matter forum held at the Rokeby Museum on Sunday, four panelists discussed implicit bias against the black community in Vermont. Since last summer, the museum, which was a temporary home for several freed slaves on the Underground Railroad in the 1830s, has faced unexpected opposition from the community to the display of a Black Lives Matter sign on their property, in the form of 10 separate sign thefts, angry phone calls, and emails.
The event attempted to address the racial tensions in an open discussion on race in Vermont. At the event, panelist Ebony Nyoni, an organizer with Black Lives Matter, discussed the Vermont chapter’s latest organization efforts. Historian Jim Ralph placed the Black Lives Matter movement in the context of the 20th century civil rights movement and economist Stephanie Seguino discussed her most recent research on racial disparities in policing. Vermont State Police Lieutenant Garry Scott then discussed the Vermont State Police’s efforts to safeguard against racial bias in policing.