New coalition created for racial equity in Vermont | Local News

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MONTPELIER—Governor. Phil Scott announced a new coalition to help increase racial equity in the state.

At his weekly press conference, the Governor introduced IDEAL Vermont, a new effort that represents inclusion, diversity, equity, action and leadership.

The coalition was created to help municipalities increase racial equity at the local level, Scott said. It started last month, with 14 communities joining from the start, including Bennington and Brattleboro.

It’s a grassroots, grassroots approach to equity, the governor said. The coalition’s goal is “to take concrete action for a more equitable, more diverse, more welcoming, and ultimately more inclusive Vermont.”

IDEAL’s website states, “IDEAL Vermont was created to connect the efforts of individual cities and counties across the state to build cohesion, motivation, and success.” IDEAL will be guided by a team of state agencies to help local leaders advance equity in their local communities.

IDEAL and the Office of Racial Equity will help communities do the “work of reflection and soul-searching,” said Xusana Davis, executive director of racial equity for the state of Vermont. The coalition also provides a space for different municipalities to talk about what works and doesn’t work when it comes to racial equity.

The coalition will also collect and verify information that adheres to the equity goal so that the information is easier for municipalities to access. Communities will also have access to grants that provide additional support for their equity efforts, Davis said.

IDEAL will help each municipality with its specific needs at the local level. These needs could include redlining, zoning and education issues. These are all examples of areas of potential injustice at the local level, and while the state can help, they must be addressed locally, Davis said.

“Vermont is an eclectic and unique place, and we need to see that reflected in” the coalition, Davis said. Municipalities need to invest in projects that improve equity, such as making community activities and programs more accessible.

IDEAL is funded by $220,000 from the state and supplemented by Vermont Community Foundation funds that are available to municipalities.

When asked if the equity initiative would ever expand to other marginalized communities like the LGBTQIA+ community, especially in light of the Colorado shooting, Scott said, “We can always do better, but we are moving in the right direction.”

New coalition created for racial equity in Vermont | Local News

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