“We who believe in freedom cannot rest.”
“Until the killing of Black men, Black mothers’ sons
Is as important as the killing of white men, white mothers’ sons,
We who believe in freedom cannot rest.”
– Ella Baker, as quoted by Bernice Johnson Reagon in Ella’s Song
The events of this last week precipitated by the horrific murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis are now seared into our collective conscience as Americans. Our hearts go out to Mr. Floyd’s family and friends, the people of Minneapolis, and all who are afflicted by deadly racism.
All of us at Vermont Humanities are determined to respond. As our friend Rep. John Lewis says, “Just as people of all faiths and no faiths, and all backgrounds, creeds, and colors banded together decades ago to fight for equality and justice in a peaceful, orderly, non-violent fashion, we must do so again.”
Our Statement about the Death of George Floyd
We’re determined to find ways to help and ways to communicate through the lens of the humanities.
Opportunities to Help
Suggestions on actions you can take in response to the horrific murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Please send us your ideas so we can add them to the list.
In response to the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery, Dr. Matthew Evan Taylor from Middlebury College created a musical composition. This video features selections from that recording as Dr. Taylor discusses his journey towards using music as an avenue for advocacy and activism.
Video: Rajnii Eddins shares his poetry and discusses how our stories can be used to confront racism and other injustices, affirm diversity and equity, and initiate community dialogue.
Video: Join Jarvis Green, producing artistic director at JAG Productions, as he leads a discussion with poet Major Jackson, choreographer Felicia Swoope, and writer Desmond Peeples about being Black culture bearers in Vermont during this time of protest and pandemic.
Video: a conversation on the condition of Black theatre during a time of death, betrayal, and global pandemic. Jarvis Green, producing artistic director at JAG Productions, leads a discussion with award-winning playwrights Keelay Gipson and Stacey Rose.
Video: Drawing from his documentary film “Man on Fire,” Middlebury professor James Sanchez discusses the rhetoric of white supremacy and suggests ways communities might address bigotry.
Video: Yale historian David Blight, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in History for his biography “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom,” tells Douglass’s story: an escaped slave who became one of the leading abolitionists, orators, and writers of his era.
Many Vermonters know Reuben Jackson as the host of Vermont Public Radio’s Friday Night Jazz. In this episode, Jackson shares some evocative Duke Ellington recordings, and discusses Ellington’s love for trains. He also describes the Ellington orchestra’s work in the segregated United States.
In the early 20th century, black southerners fled racial violence and sharecropping for steady work in northern cities like New York and Chicago. But these migrants still faced challenges once they arrived. In this talk, Dr. Harvey Amani Whitfield explores the Great Migration and its great influence on American history.
It’s well-known that Vermont is one of the whitest states in the Union. And so the stories of African American Vermonters can sometimes get forgotten, no matter how important they have been to our state’s and our nation’s history.
Many different groups of people, from many different continents, have helped build our state. But from the 19th century through 2019, the stories of immigrants have largely been excluded from the popular image of Vermont.