A coalition of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color) leaders, including Windham County NAACP President Steffen Gillom, tomorrow will announce one of the first bills in the Vermont State Legislature this upcoming biennium to address systemic racism and BIPOC land ownership – the Vermont BIPOC Land Access and Opportunity Act.
According to a Windham NAACP statement, “the bill intends to acknowledge and address systemic racism by creating new opportunities for individual and collective land ownership for Black, Indigenous and other People of Color in every town across the State of Vermont.”
If passed into law, it will create a BIPOC Land Access Opportunity Fund with a BIPOC-led board empowered to budget money as needed for down payments for single family homes, owner occupied rental units, and for land and farms through sliding scale grants. It will also institute a BIPOC-led “Every Town” committee to create permanent land access for BIPOC in every town in the state in collaboration with Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust.
Finally, it will expand financial education and resource management programs, provide mortgage assistance for BIPOC land owners, and fund anti-racist mutual aid organizations that support BIPOC or are BIPOC-led.
The statement does not address a funding mechanism.
The bill will be introduced through a virtual press conference on Wednesday, December 23 at 9:15AM.