by Guy Page
As Gov. Phil Scott faces pushback in Vermont and nationally for a vaccination program prioritizing BIPOC Vermonters, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger last night rejected the idea that “government should not bias any class or grouping of residents over others.”
During his State of the City Address yesterday, Weinberger asked “all Burlington residents to imagine a future where we have eliminated racial disparities and where everyone in the Burlington community feels true belonging.”
“Speaking directly to fellow white people,” according to a press release from the mayor’s office, Weinberger said: “I know that explicitly targeting government effort and resources toward BIPOC Vermonters causes discomfort for some. Much of this discomfort comes from a belief that the government should not bias any class or grouping of residents over others. However, this assessment ignores our history. For centuries, the policies and practices in this country explicitly discriminated on the basis of race in many aspects of our society. These policies created vast and enduring harm, and remained in place through much of the 20th Century. We are going to need to use strategies that are also race-based to address that harm. When we do that all Burlingtonians, not just Black and brown residents, will benefit.”
Weinberger pointed out to his “fellow white people” that discrimination harms the economy: “Last year, the financial services giant Citi released a report that puts a number to this cost, and found that $16 trillion has been erased from the U.S. GDP over the last two decades due to discrimination.”
Weinberger pledged to increase the Racial Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Department budget, hold a city Juneteenth celebration, develop a plan to eliminate homeowner disparity among black residents, and continue to “grapple with public safety transformation.” At present only 18 homeowners of the city’s 6,000 city owner-occupied homes are black, Weinberger said.
Cover photo: Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and Racial Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Dept. Director Tyeastia Green
Categories: Society & Culture