MIDDLEBURY | The Vermont Student Anti-Racism Network recently received a $1,000 grant from the Vermont Community Foundation’s Spark Connecting Community grant program.
The grant will help further the network’s mission of promoting anti-racism in schools through student leadership.
“We envision a Vermont that acknowledges how racism is historically and institutionally embedded and takes seriously our ethical obligation to end racism,” said Kyle Mitchell, a student member at Middlebury Union High School.
The Vermont Student Anti-Racism Network was founded during the summer “to bring a diverse group of students together from around the state to advocate for anti-racist educations.”
“We endeavor to make an impact by undertaking projects in schools, such as encouraging curriculum changes and changes in statewide school policies,” according to Addie Lentzner, another student member of the group. “One idea we have for using the VCF grant money is to purchase racially inclusive and anti-racist books that amplify diverse voices for elementary schools around Vermont. We then may go into schools via Zoom for a powerful activity and discussion based around the books, led by students in our network.”
Olivia Miller, a student member at Champlain Valley Union High School, has a plan on how racism can be addressed on the school level.
“Racism is driven by mindsets, unconscious biases, and how our brains are structured so if we can get young people into anti-racist habits early on, it is likely that these habits will stick with them into adulthood,” she said.
The Student Anti-Racism Network represents eight of the 14 counties in Vermont: Addison, Windsor, Chittenden, Washington, Rutland, Windham, Bennington, and Essex.
The high schools represented are Middlebury Union High School, Woodstock Union High School, Mount Mansfield Union High School, Champlain Valley Union High School, South Burlington High School, Harwood Union High School, West Rutland High School, Leland, and Gray Union Middle and High School, Vergennes Union High School, Proctor High School, White River Valley High School, Montpelier High School, Arlington Memorial High School, and Thetford Academy.
The goal is to have representatives from every county with an emphasis on students and teachers of color, Lentzner said in a news release.
Interested students or teachers or student groups interested in being involved in the network are invited to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was originally published in the Dec. 29 Addison Eagle.
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