Juneteenth resolution author responds

Original resolution was much stronger condemnation of Trump

Editor’s Note: Rep. Kevin “Coach” Christie (D-Hartford), the sponsor of the “Juneteenth” resolution to be considered today by the Vermont House of Representatives (see yesterday’s post) was asked yesterday by Vermont Daily to explain why the resolution mentions tweets by President Trump as “racist” and “inflammatory.”

As noted in yesterday’s post, President Trump’s presidency has seen unprecedented employment and earnings growth for black Americans. His administration’s support for opportunity zones and historically black colleges and universities has been high. Federal sentencing reform signed by Trump will give black inmates new opportunities to succeed on the outside. He supports school choice as a remedy to the chronic poor quality of non-choice public schools in our inner cities – most of which, by the way, are controlled by Democratic administrations. Recently his administration proposed sweeping policing reforms. Based on his decision-making record, therefore, it seems inaccurate to Vermont Daily to blame Trump for our nation’s racial problems.

This morning, Rep. Christie emailed the following response.

With regard to your question of the resolution –  there were two versions. The initial version was primarily about the murders and on the president’s reaction to them. The version that you saw was derived by adding Juneteenth to the combined resolution. The original one actually was much stronger. You have to speak truth to power. 

Systemic Racism is real and mitigating Systemic Racism is at the core of the unrest and protest nationally and actually internationally. I didn’t reach out to each party. I sent an email to all the members and asked for their support and we had a number of folks who signed on quickly.

When you see the list of cosponsors you will see very clearly that it is tri-partisan. There were at least between 5 and 7 that signed on. Coming together to do the work is what matters and negating the truth is not helpful. That’s what has gotten us where we are today as a country and state. 

Unless we start looking at ourselves and the things around us we’re not gonna be able to change and move forward. So I don’t think I would have been able to support dropping the language in reference to the president.

At this point you know that there’s a tough discussion coming.

When you’re living it directly, being the middle of it is different than being on the sidelines. And that’s probably the easiest metaphor to capture what and how Black and Brown Vermonters are feeling. 

I do realize it’s going to take a lot of work and it’s going to be difficult work by a lot of different folks, It has to start with introspection understanding not only the problem externally but internally as well. That’s where we’re at, at this point in time.

Photo: Rep. Kevin Christie (D-Hartford)