Brattleboro community shares bias, racism concerns at AG hosted forum

This article by Chris Mays originally appeared Oct. 20 in the Brattleboro Reformer.

BRATTLEBORO — Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan is hosting forums to grasp how communities feel about the response to hate crimes and bias incidents.

“The remarkable thing,” he said Thursday at Oak Grove School, “is we’re not here to speak. We’re not here to lecture. We’re here to listen and hear stories that are happening to folks that frankly we’re never going to hear about in Montpelier for a variety of reasons.”

He said he is trying to learn how widespread incidents of bias and racism are in Vermont.

More than 35 attendees came to Oak Grove for the fourth forum in a series. They were asked not to name anyone in particular episodes or make accusations.

One complaint involved a “thin blue line” flag that hung in front of the Brattleboro Fire Department station downtown. Seen as a way to honor law enforcement but also a response to the Black Lives Matter movement, some people deem the flag insensitive.

“I’m trying not to, forgive me for using this term, let little things get blown out of proportion if the conflict doesn’t involve someone behaving inappropriately,” Town Manager Peter Elwell said about the flag, which he said was taken down within an hour if not minutes of his hearing a complaint.

Read full article at the Brattleboro Reformer.

(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Löwenstein Center