Flemming: Legislature prioritizes economy over slavery reparations, so far

By David Flemming

On June 11, the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance held a webinar to discuss a bill “establish(ing) a task force to study and consider a State apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery. Vermont lawmakers remain SILENT on the matter, despite the national racial unrest.”

The alliance asked attendees of the webinar to read H.478, a bill aptly titled “An act relating to establishing a task force to study and consider a State apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery.” It has six sponsors: Rep. Brian Cina (P-Burlington), Rep. Kevin Christie (D-Hartford), Rep. Selene Colburn (D-Burlington), Rep. Harold “Hal” Colston (D-Winooski), Rep. Mari Cordes (D/P-Lincoln), and Rep. Diana Gonzalez (P-Winooski).

H.478 would recommend four appropriate remedies in consideration of the Task Force’s findings on the matters described in this section:

1. “How the injuries resulting from matters described in this section can be reversed and provide appropriate policies, programs, projects, and recommendations for the purpose of reversing the injuries.”

2. “How, in consideration of the Task Force’s findings, any form of compensation to the descendants of enslaved Africans is calculated.”

3. “What form of compensation should be awarded, through what instrumentalities, and who should be eligible for such compensation.”

4. “How, in consideration of the Task Force’s findings, any other forms of rehabilitation or restitution to African descendants is warranted and what the form and scope of those measures should take.”

The Task Force would consist of 11 members, three appointed by the governor, four by the Senate Committee on Committees, and four by the Speaker of the House. “At minimum, 4 appointees shall represent major civil society and reparations organizations that have historically championed the cause of reparatory justice, including the NAACP, Justice For All, and Black Lives Matter.”

It’s no surprise that legislators have “remained silent” on the bill, letting it languish in the Government Operations Committee since Feb. 27. After all, Gov. Phil Scott declared a state of emergency on March 13. Even before Covid-19 wrecked Vermont’s economy, the idea had questionable merit. Now that Black Lives Matter has become a lead headline, the bill is likely to receive renewed consideration.

David Flemming is a policy analyst for the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Public domain

17 thoughts on “Flemming: Legislature prioritizes economy over slavery reparations, so far

  1. Good luck guys and gals fighting the carpetbaggers. Set the tone, take back your state the rest of the country will be watching.
    Other states are in the same boat, out of staters move in for a better life then vote in the same morons they moved awY from!!!

  2. Ok, I’m half Irish, my people were brought over here by the English as slaves. Does this mean I’m entitled to some of the money too? I don’t think so. I don’t want it and I don’t expect and don’t want anyone to say I’m sorry for your people. It happened in the past, it can stay there.

  3. I think these rabid legislators need a swift lesson in the Vermont Constitution. Slavery was outlawed here since day one. Reparations for what has been constitutionally illegal since 1791….I don’t think so!

  4. Please, remember this when you vote. If you don’t like this, it would serve well to support your local candidates who oppose stuff like this. If you don’t, it’s only going to get worse.

  5. First, t’s a carbon tax and now the folks in Montpelier are looking at reparations which most certainly will lead to another tax. First off, Vermont’s contribution to global warming is so minimal, it amounts to zero, then on reparations, there aren’t enough tax dollars to provide enough funds to make even the tiniest bit of difference. Let’s move on to dealing with issues which are a far more important and manageable.

  6. What in the hell is the matter with you people???? Reparations for slavery???? He’ll no!!! I never had any slaves nor did anyone in my family history as far back as I can trace it. In fact I never had a racist thought until some imbecile invented the word/idea and started shoving it down my throat and up my ass to make himself feel better, I guess? Always looked at all people, black or not, as either being pleasant and respectful and deserving same, or as jerks that I wouldn’t give the time of day to. So…no to reparations! Not my fault what some people did before I was even born. Not going to jump on the BLM bandwagon or any other guilt trip you,re trying to sell. Enough of this crap!!

  7. I will not allow one cent of my tax dollars to be diverted to any disgustingly misguided ‘reparations’ for people who were never slaves, and who never had relatives who were slaves in this State.

    Push it and watch what happens to ‘race relations’ in the State of Vermont. Our Representatives and Senators best grow a spine right quick before this garbage advances any further.

    • I agree with you. I don’t even mind marching right into that room and grabbing the bill and tearing it up. Also, why should Vermont even have to apologize? We were a state free of slaves. Wtf seriously.

  8. Perhaps these people need to read a little more Vermont history. Vermont was the first state in the Union to abolish slavery and also had many abolitionists who helped get rid of slavery elsewhere and helped runaway slaves before and during the Civil War. Vermonters also contributed a LOT of Union soldiers to the fight to rid the country of slavery. Further, as long as I can remember, African Americans have always been treated equally in the state even when there were few living there.. I grew up in Vermont in the 50’s and 60’s, and . I don’t remember any discrimination ever occurring in Montpelier. Thus, why reparations? Especially since many Vermonters are descendants of those who fought very hard to get rid of slavery.

  9. How absolutely disgusting!!! Ancestors on both sides of my family fought in the Civil War to free slaves and this is the thanks they get from a bunch of damned transplanted flatlanders who now are in positions of power. Tell me Kevin Christie, were you mistreated as a POC when you transplanted your butt from Connecticut to VT? If so, why didn’t you go back to CT and stay there? No member of my family ever owned slaves or participated in any aspect of slavery other than working to free them. On the other hand, when my white ancester first arrived in VT he was immediately warned out of town despite being a Revolutionary War officer, so where are the reparations for that injustice? Keep this crap up. All you are doing with these misguided efforts is creating racial problems where there were none before. Like a wave approaching shore, more and more of us are rising up in anger over the destruction of our history, our culture and our civilization and we have about had enough.

    • Very well stated Dave. So many of us have such similar family histories – our incredibly brave Revolutionary War and Civil War ancestors are being relegated to the dustbin of history in order to appease what is essentially a terrorist group.
      You are spot-on about this resulting in more racial problems.
      I have had enough and will join any group taking a stand against this white-washing of our history and accomplishments.

  10. Give me a break, slavery reparations ………why ??

    Those that were enslaved, it was disgusting and should have had some sort of
    restitution, but those days are gone and so are those poor souls….

    Today it’s either a guilt trip for something you had no control over or you’re looking
    for another handout !!

    Reparations should be given to every Native American as we stole their land then
    put them on a reservation, and are still being treated as second class citizens.

    History some times its great other times it’s disgusting, we can learn from it but
    you can’t change it !!!

  11. BLM is a terrorist group and I will never never submit. We were getting along pretty good till all this nonsense started. Most are very racist and are causing trouble which is making it worse. Too bad it’s being allowed in our beautiful Vermont. It used to be peaceful here, no more.

    • Karen, I agree with you.!!!
      slavery reparations, for Vermont, is damn stupid. especially since Vt was the first state to forbid slaverly and helped the slaves escape to Canada. Bill H.478, is a joke and the ones who submitted it are jokes too and not true Vermonters. Out of the 6 only 1 is TRUE Vermonter. When are we going to have real Vermonters in the legislation???

      • Not until we vote these transplanted fools out! They came from somewhere else, they stayed and now they are trying to rule over us. They are not representatives, they are carpetbaggers. 6 of 30 VT senators where born in Vermont. Does that give you an idea why they are here? They are here for power, an agenda and an ego.There is probably a tear in the eye of the Ethan Allen statue on the steps of the State House. He would be ashamed of what Vermont voters have allowed to happen to this state.

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