BLM flag to fly over Hinesburg until June 21

By Tyler Lederer | Community News Service

The Black Lives Matter flag was raised over Hinesburg town hall on Feb. 1 after a resolution to display it was passed unanimously by the Select Board.

In a Jan. 26 meeting, members showed their support for the resolution, which proposed an annual raising of the flag from the beginning of Black History Month to the Monday following Juneteenth. Juneteenth is celebrated throughout the United States on June 19 to commemorate the anniversary of the emancipation of enslaved people.

The resolution was spearheaded by the Hinesburg Racial Equity Group, a “committee of concerned citizens who recognize the negative impact of racism and white supremacy culture on the lives of Black, Indigenous and People of Color who live in Hinesburg,” according to their mission statement. Their goal is “to make Hinesburg a welcoming, diverse and safe community for all.”

Only one member, Merrily Lovell, had reservations. In a written statement, she argued against the national Black Lives Matter movement’s call to defund the police, one of the organization’s seven stated demands. She praised the Hinesburg Community Police’s current initiatives of diversity training, de-escalation training and the hiring of social workers. Nonetheless, she expressed support for the movement and highlighted the flag raising as an important first step.

Lovell thanked those who helped her research the movement as she wasn’t originally sure she was going to support the resolution.

A short flag-raising ceremony took place on Feb. 1, streamed live on Facebook and Instagram, with a small in-person crowd. It featured speakers from the group as well as activists from the Racial Alliance Committee, a Champlain Valley Union High School student group promoting racial justice in the district.

Lovell’s notion that this was just the first step was repeated throughout the event.

Select Board member Phil Pouech called the flag raising “a symbolic action,” but reminded audience members that more discussions and actions are needed. He also said that those in charge of the status quo have the responsibility to change it and hoped that the flag would remind Hinesburg of its responsibilities.

“We have to listen to BIPOC voices while understanding that racism is a white problem,” said Hinesburg Racial Equity Group member and CVU student Nisha Hickok. “We always have to take action when we see something that requires changing.”

Hickok added, “This flag is completely performative and holds no substance if extensive adjustments to our community are not made.”

She told the audience to look out for more events in the future and check Facebook, Instagram or Front Page Forum for updates. The group already has several events scheduled including a virtual viewing party for the film “13” on Feb. 13 and a discussion of Ibram X. Kendi’s “How to Be an Antiracist” on Feb. 25.

This isn’t the first time a Black Lives Matter flag has flown in Hinesburg. CVU had raised the flag on its grounds three times before this, at the suggestion of the Racial Alliance Committee. This is the first time it has been raised at town hall.

The Black Lives Matter flag will fly until June 21 this year.

The flag-raising ceremony can be viewed on the Hinesburg Racial Equity Group’s Facebook page and Media Factory’s Youtube account.

The Community News Service is part of the Reporting and Documentary Storytelling Program at the University of Vermont.

Image courtesy of Public domain

10 thoughts on “BLM flag to fly over Hinesburg until June 21

  1. It’s been a week since this was published and the phrase: “We have to listen to BIPOC voices while understanding that racism is a white problem,” still bothers me.

    The ignorance in that statement is chilling. I’ve seen racism from young and old, black and white, yellow and brown, large and small. I’ve never seen so much of it as I see now but only from people attempting to tell me that I’m racist because of my skin color.

    I’d also like everyone to know that Williston raised it’s BLM flag yesterday (3/1) and per the meeting and the Williston Observer stated that the BLM flag is of no relation to the BLM organization even though the forwarded request for the flag contained the same “demands” made by the organization.

    The ignorance in that statement is also chilling, though less so as it was made by a lawyer.

  2. Quit pandering to blm. The more you do the more demands they will make and you will NEVER satisfy them. Just tell them adios.

  3. Why don’t they put up an ALL LIVES MATTER flag? But that’s too simple, isn’t it. Writing the BLM in the road in Montpelier is the biggest joke there is. but I have to consider where the idea came from.. From IDIOTS !!! These fools don’t realize that Vermont was the first state of the Union to disallow slavery. Slavery was not allowed in Vermont.

  4. Again, I always find it curious when certain privileged white people question the existence of racism, while others use their elite status to announce, for example, that ‘Black Lives Matter’, as if their presumptive pronouncements are sufficient to assuage the privilege of their whiteness. One can only hope and pray that those privileged whites, arguing amongst themselves as to who is more or less the racist, will one day only judge people by the content of their character.

    • But it’s a FEEL GOOD matter. Guess they think their souls are cleansed. They are pandering to someone. More Liberal; thinking. Seems Hinesburg was a once nice place now to move from. A bedroom community of Burlington in Chittenden County, can’t say more.

  5. Why does this bother me?

    I suppose because it’s my belief that we all know that black lives matter, we don’t need to be told. Are there prejudiced people around? Sure. But raising a flag isn’t going to change them. Let’s treat everyone with respect instead of virtue signaling.

    What bothers me is that it seems like this is becoming a litmus test for how enlightened one is. Comrade, are you down with BLM? Comrade, do you have any objections? Maybe if you do then instead of us saying that we’re going to be tolerant and respectful toward people, we’re going to be intolerant of you. Not for the color of your skin, but for your thoughts and opinions if you don’t agree with our signalling to you.

    Any problems with that?

    How about we treat each other with respect and decency and dispense with the tests and shows of ideological purity? BLM signs are an ostentatious show of ideological solidarity; their function isn’t to change anything– which they won’t– but to be an emblem of virtue. At the same time they serve to distract attention from the prejudicial attitudes toward, and the cancelling of, people who have views that are opposed to the mainstream’s left-leaning views. All of this moves us toward an unhealthy solidarity of opinion, the exact opposite of what’s necessary for a rational governance that considers and weighs and respects all views.

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