by Calvin Cutler, WCAX, April 21st, 2021.
And though Vermont is making progress in advancing policy and reform, some say we aren’t isolated from the national discourse. Vt. Public Safety Commissioner Michael Schirling says he’s concerned about the national message affecting recruitment and retention of police officers. “What we don’t want is a self-fulfilling prophecy that we criticize the folks doing this work so intensely that only those who don’t care about the criticism are doing the work,” he said.
Others say reforming policing is just the start, and that eradicating systemic racism takes an all-in approach that addresses issues including prison reform, BIPOC homeownership, health care, and other inequalities laid bare during the pandemic. “The numbers keep getting disproportionate, so we all have to be sounding the alarm that this isn’t a welcoming place for Black and brown Americans. And unless we make it a more welcoming place, our disparities will grow and our ability to have a future as a state will be limited,” said Sen. Kesha Ram, D-Chittenden County.