Editor’s note: In response to an increase in hate crimes reported in Vermont, more than 80 cultural organizations in the state have signed a statement promoting inclusion, respect, and change in their communities. This is their statement.
Last month, the FBI reported that hate crimes in Vermont increased for the second year in a row, and are now at their highest level since 1995. The evidence of escalating hatred and bigotry is right here in Vermont. There are dozens of examples from Burlington to Brattleboro, St. Johnsbury to Bennington. As cultural leaders, we stand against hate and violence and we will take action.
We have come together to commit our cultural organizations to the vital work of promoting inclusion, respect and change in Vermont communities. We know that the arts and humanities have the power to create and nurture empathy, promote critical thinking and thoughtful reflection, offer healing strategies and advance understanding across differences such as race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability and age.
In 2019, each of our organizations will undertake programming that advances dialogue and healing in our communities. We invite other cultural organizations across the state to join us to reject bigotry, work for a kinder and more thoughtful Vermont, and build creative, healthy, welcoming communities for all.
This statement was signed by representatives of Clemmons Family Farm, Shelburne Museum, Rokeby Museum, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Vermont Folklife Center and the Vermont Community Foundation among many others. The complete list is on the Vermont Humanities Council website: online at vermonthumanities.org.