It’s been three months since police killed George Floyd in Minneapolis and just weeks since law enforcement shot Jacob Blake in the back in Wisconsin. VPR has been processing these tragedies, plus COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on communities of color, and the resounding calls for all—but especially those in positions of power—to stand up against, and dismantle, white supremacy.
As a media organization and cultural influencer in Vermont, we want to be especially clear about our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. (Read our Diversity Statement here). Only by elevating these tenets can we be effective journalists who bear witness, present facts, deepen understanding, amplify suppressed voices and hold power to account. These principles are foundations for achieving our vision to explore the whole Vermont story, together.
Given our commitment to these values, where do we fall short? Unfortunately we aren't doing enough to recruit or create opportunities for those who identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Currently we estimate that all of VPR's full-time news staff, as well as the station’s leadership team, identify as white.
To change this, VPR has committed to several concrete steps over the next year, including:
- Work with an independent expert to audit, create and implement an improvement plan for our recruitment and hiring practices, as well as existing internal culture.
- Immediately boost BIPOC voices on all our platforms through freelance work, as we move to diversify our full- and part-time employees.
- Review our news and music content to determine how effectively it reflects our full community, and where we can improve.
- Expand VPR's Diverse Voices Fund to make sure the above efforts are adequately funded.
VPR must do more than check off a proverbial box. We must think critically, and humbly, and will not only improve our inclusiveness of BIPOC individuals, but of people expressing all forms of diversity.
In the meantime, we know our audience (you!) will continue to hold us accountable. So this is not a one-and-done statement—as we evolve and grow, we’ll continue to keep you informed and involved.