Race & Identity

Three people stand behind a podium with an ACLU banner on it.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

The Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union unveiled a legislative agenda Tuesday it says elected officials could use to cut the state’s prison population in half. Items on the agenda include the elimination of cash bail and the decriminalization of many drug crimes.

Two men stand next to each other.
Betty Smith / VPR

After author Toni Morrison died recently, one Vermont poet decided to honor her legacy by organizing a week-long series of meetings to talk about creativity, racism and the future of Vermont. 

Hands all put in.
Andrey Popov / iStock

Two Vermonters have started a group for professionals of color across the state to connect, mentor and recognize one another. And they're holding their second-ever event on Thursday, Sept. 26 in Burlington.

A man stands in a park against brick buildings.
Elodie Reed / VPR

Three years after placing himself in the center of Rutland's refugee resettlement debate and losing his mayoral seat, Christopher Louras only regrets the refugee families who never came.

Mark Hughes, founder of Justice for All, says a "bias-incident reporting system" launched earlier this year has done little to addressed the systemic racism affecting people of color in Vermont.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Racial justice advocates say they’re unimpressed by a reporting system launched earlier this year that changed the way police handle racial bias incidents in Vermont.

Joanna Schroeder started getting worried when her sons were coming to her with loaded questions.

"One of my kids said: If you can be trans and just decide what you are then how come you can't just decide to be a penguin?" said Schroeder, a writer and mother of two sons and a daughter, in an interview with NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday.

Listeners ask a lot of questions. And VPR's Brave Little State is there to find answers. 

Xusana Davis stands in front of a building
Courtesy of Xusana Davis / via Gov. Scott's office

Last year, Gov. Phil Scott signed legislation that created a litany of new efforts to combat racism in Vermont. That law also created a cabinet-level post in the executive branch to address the issue of racism in state government.  Now, Xusana Davis is Vermont's first-ever director of racial equity. 

A row of Hartford Selectboard members seated a table
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR File

The town of Hartford has become a testing ground of sorts for a new state law that gives municipalities broad authority to insulate undocumented residents from federal immigration authorities.

A view of a downtown.
Nina Keck / VPR file

A Facebook post by Rutland Alderman Paul Clifford has stirred up anger, frustration and heated debate about race relations in Rutland.

The transgender flag behind the caduceus staff of Hermes.
Wikimedia Commons

Vermont's health care rules could soon make it easier for trans and nonbinary youth under the age of 21 to get gender-affirming surgery. But for many, surgery may only come after months or even years of other treatments and therapies. Vermont Edition talks about health care options for trans and nonbinary Vermonters and what changes to state rules could mean for those seeking surgery. 

Income inequality in the U.S. has grown over the past several decades. And as the gap between rich and poor yawns, so does the gap in their health, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open Friday.

The Stonewall Inn is a sacred place for many in the LGBTQ community. Fifty years ago, a raid and series of riots outside the New York City bar helped launch a civil rights movement.

A woman holds up a coffee cup with an upside-down pink triangle on it.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

On the weekend marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, at least two Vermont towns will be holding their first-ever pride parades.

Four months after the United Methodist Church strengthened a ban on LGBTQ clergy and same-sex weddings, deep dissension over the move has brought the denomination closer to a formal split. Progressive and conservative church leaders alike are increasingly convinced that their differences are irreconcilable.

Poet, writer and musician Joy Harjo — a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation — often draws on Native American stories, languages and myths. But she says that she's not self-consciously trying to bring that material into her work. If anything, it's the other way around.

When you walk into a public bathroom, you expect it to be stocked with toilet paper, hand soap and paper towels or a hand dryer.

But tampons and pads?

Brookline, Mass., wants to make menstrual products as routine as those other bathroom staples, and in May voted to become what it says is the first municipality in the United States to offer free tampons and pads in all of its town-owned restrooms, in places like the town hall, libraries and the recreation center. The schools are expected to follow suit.

Challenges threatening the upcoming 2020 census could put more than 4 million people at risk of being undercounted in next year's national head count, according to new projections by the Urban Institute.

A years-long government inquiry says human rights abuses "perpetrated historically and maintained today by the Canadian state" has led to violence against Indigenous women and girls that amounts to genocide.

It's the conclusion of more than two years of research involving at least 2,380 people who shared their stories or artwork with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Early voters casts a ballot in Plainfield in 2008. "Vermont Edition" looks at the challenges around local control in Vermont.
Toby Talbot / AP

When Vermont towns want to add sidewalks, change traffic patterns or add a "rooms and meals" tax, they usually have to go to Montpelier for permission. It's one way "local control" may be less local, and offer less control, than many might think. We're talking about Vermont's tradition of local control, it's limits in 2019 and efforts to bring more decisions back to the local level.