by Taylor Cook and Sarah Vukelich
Many roadblocks on the path to justice share the same underlying systemic causes. A just future is a future free from racism, sexism, classism, environmental destruction, patriarchy, white supremacy, transphobia, ableism, heterosexism, and all other forms of oppression. Acknowledging the need for collaboration to address these systems and the strength of their intersections, 350Vermont, Green Mountain Self-Advocates, Migrant Justice/Justicia Migrante, Rising Tide Vermont, Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform, Vermont Center for Independent Living, Vermont Workers’ Center, together comprising the Vermont Human Rights Council, have come together with a shared vision for a future of justice, equity, and liberation and have launched the Summer of Solidarity Week of Action.
Yesterday, nurses at the UVM medical center delivered a presentation at the Board of Trustees meeting demanding a fair contract and the respect they deserve as professionals on the front lines of patient care. Over 60 nurses and community members flooded the meeting room in support. Today their campaign continued with the “Honk and Wave for Safe Staffing” on Colchester Avenue across from the UVM Medical Center. UVM’s nurses worked 47,408 overtime hours last year. Changes must be made to in order for our nurses to safely provide excellent patient care.
On Saturday, Migrant Justice will have a national day of action at Ben and Jerry’s scoop shops in 14 cities across the country to demonstrate the support behind the grassroots movement Milk with Dignity. Vermont dairy workers face abominable working and housing conditions: 12-14 hour days, wage theft, and avoidable workplace injuries. The Milk with Dignity Program was created to ensure that dairy farms support the human rights of workers, and as pressure mounts, hopefully Ben and Jerry’s will become the first corporation to sign on to the campaign.
Both the nurses’ fight for a fair contract and Migrant Justice’s campaign are struggles for basic human dignity and justice, and we must consider them central to our struggle as people who care about climate justice.
Finally, on June 22-23 the campaign against the fracked gas pipeline reaches a critical moment, as the Vermont Public Service Board is about to hold the final technical hearings to decide whether to reevaluate Vermont Gas’s permits to build the pipeline. The pipeline poses a serious threat to communities across the state, and thousands of Vermonters–ratepayers, landowners, and concerned citizens–have fought, rallied, and organized for over two years to stop it. Our vision for the future does not include an industry that relies fundamentally on the unjust exploitation of people and our planet. The construction of the VT Gas pipeline would result in the largest build of fossil fuel infrastructure Vermont has seen in 50 years. Organized by a coalition that includes 350Vermont, Rising Tide Vermont, and Just Power, hundreds of protesters will gather in Montpelier on the days of the hearing, June 22-23, for a rally at 4 p.m. followed by speeches, performances, and an all-night vigil and encampment.
Tonight, June 19th from 8:30-10:00pm at the Unitarian Church on 152 Pearl Street in Burlington, there will a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Charleston massacre. https://www.facebook.com/events/900809646631216/
We are surrounded with constant reminders of the violent ways systems of oppression manifest. We can no longer ignore the systems that underlie the injustices we face. It is crucial that we all stand together now, and always, as we take action. This is bigger than any person, group, or cause: this is a movement. To make a difference, we must stand together in solidarity. We hope you join us!