As white people begin to recognize the pervasiveness of systemic white supremacy and the impact on people of color, it is critical that we work together to address these challenges. What are the top three issues that you believe Vermonters of color are facing right now? Being discriminated against. Being stereotyped. Being ostracized.
[I can’t see now which question this was in response to but it was a response to a question.] I am not running for a legislative office but this is a great question – under-represented and marginalized groups must be at the decision making table as well.
What needs to happen to address the top three issues facing Vermonters of color right now? Understanding needs to be met. They need to be respected for their voice. They need to have equal opportunities.
What is your role in addressing the top issues facing Vermonters of color whether or not you are elected? If there is no bad intent from either party, my role is partly translation. If bad intent is involved, my role is to stand for justice. And my role is to offer opportunities if I am able.
The Constitution guarantees the right to vote for all Vermonters. But access to the polls is still restricted due to issues related to lack of transportation as well as illness, disabilities, and poverty. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, exposure to the virus and risk of safety is particularly threatening. What is your stance on Vermont’s current universal vote-by-mail option and why? I think Vermont’s current vote-by-mail option is a great way to offer voting for multiple reasons. I also think that we need to remain vigilant that it serves purposes that it is meant to serve – universal, secure, informed, and accessible voting.
What would you do to ensure vote-by-mail access for residents who don’t have a permanent address? I don’t know but that’s a great question. I haven’t yet seen what has been said about this – I haven’t seen ideas that have been proffered. They need to have a way to easily and safely vote.
Vermont has a disproportionately high COVID-19 infection rate for certain groups of people of color. What is your understanding of this trend? I do not know why this trend exists.
What steps would you take to address the disproportionately high COVID-19 infection rate for certain groups of people of color? At present, I am imagining that if there were steps that I could take regarding disproportionate infection rates in the role of Secretary of State that these would be a result of Executive or Legislative directives.
What is your stance on providing COVID-19 relief to undocumented immigrants? I do not think that undocumented immigrants should be treated any differently regarding health issues/services.
The Black Lives Matter movement is the largest international civil rights movement in history. Youth leadership is a primary focus of the Black Lives Matter movement. How do you engage youth in civic decision-making? I think youth have insight that we cannot live without.
How would you explain the Black Lives Matter to someone who doesn’t understand it? I would say something like: Rich movements advancing the position of African Americans in society have involved many thoughtful and intelligent individuals embodying hard work and caring for their loved ones and for society as a whole. They shouldn’t have to do this anymore.
What is your understanding of the movement to defund police? My understanding of the movement to defund police is that when institutions develop that refuse to do anything but self-perpetuate themselves, it is already decided that there will be no change. This is the reason that some people think that this is the only remaining option.
What would you do to address Vermonter’s concerns about policing and racial disparities in the criminal and juvenile justice system? Again, at present, I’m not seeing much of a role for the Secretary of State in this regard. However, as a society I think that we (the public) need to have a better eye inside these systems. I think this should be a priority. Otherwise, it is torture.