Vermont senators concur with House members, declare ‘racism is a public health emergency’

The Vermont Senate on Thursday adopted J.R.H.6, a joint resolution originating in the House that declares racism is a public health emergency.

By concurring with the House, which passed the measure earlier this month, the Vermont General Assembly declares it is committed to “the sustained and deep work of eradicating systemic racism” throughout the State, creating “more just and equitable systems,” and “eliminating race-based health disparities.”

On Tuesday morning, during a meeting of the Senate Committee on Government Operations, lawmakers and witnesses testified that racism permeates Vermont’s medical systems, and that this conclusion should be considered factual even before data is gathered on the topic.

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said racism is currently embedded in Vermont’s medical systems.

state of Vermont

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine

“These are the less overt forms of racism than the individual would be,” he said. “They are embedded within the laws of a society or an organization, or the policies like redlining — these are things that lead to discrimination in all aspects of an individual’s life which, I will tell you, mean the social determinants of health and public health lingo. And they historically and currently put people of color at a disadvantage from the get-go.”

According to the text of the resolution, in 2018, 23.8 percent of Black Vermonters were living in poverty while 10.7 percent of White Vermonters lived in poverty. In addition, 57 percent of
Black Vermonters earned less than 80 percent of Vermont’s median income while 43 percent of White Vermonters earned less than 80 percent of Vermont’s median income. The resolution does not offer any evidence that racism is the cause of the inequities.

Surprisingly, during Tuesday’s committee meeting, witnesses admitted racism must be accepted as the cause of disparities without proof.

“We cannot wait for the data to be collected first before we declare racism a public health crisis,” Bor Yang, executive director for the Vermont Human Rights Commission, said. “That is putting something before you declare it, and that is what prompts the collection of data and the reporting of data.”

Rep. Taylor Small, P/D-Winooski, the state’s first transgender state representative, said it’s important for the medical community to be at the forefront of confronting racism.

“The largest convincing factor here was actually Levine’s testimony and really realizing that the experts, when it comes to public health within our state, have already taken this action. … And so what we saw is when they made this declaration they also made a health equity team that directly collaborated with community organizations and communities of color to understand where the barriers are.”

Mark Hughes, executive director of Justice For All Vermont, went over a list of action items to dismantle systemic racism. He called this plan “ACT” — an acronym for “acknowledge, create, and transform.”

“We also had a resolution declaring systemic racism in other policy initiatives. [There is] the reparations bill which returned this session, there is business empowerment, there is land and homeownership policy that we put forward, cultural empowerment,” he said. “You’ve seen the health wellness … this is a set of policies that was specifically framed to address the dismantling of systemic racism. The one that’s in front of you, J.R.H. 6, is just framing this.”

Joanne Crawford, a member of the Abenaki Nation, said that Native Americans must be a part of this bill.

“The attempted erasure of our community has been constant over 100 years and still is happening, and when we are left out of resolutions like this I think it is very harmful,” she said.

In the House, Rep. Carl Rosenquist, R-Georgia, was among the few members who voted against J.R.H.6. Rosenquist serves on the House Committee on Human Services.

“I worked hard in our committee to expand the scope of this resolution to include a wider range of life circumstances that lead to many negative life outcomes in our society,” he said. “Some of these include racial, economic, ethnic, cultural, and sexual disparities. Many of these disparities can lead to negative health and life outcomes.

“I believe the current resolution leaves out or miss-identifies many of the root causes of these inequities,” he said.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Guettarda and state of Vermont

18 thoughts on “Vermont senators concur with House members, declare ‘racism is a public health emergency’

  1. Just as I warned months ago, Now the state is declaring other “emergencies” to justify usurpation of the Constitutions and our God-given rights. This will only increase.

  2. It’s pretty easy to stop racism. You learn how to love.

    Nobody seems to want to bring peace, because nobody is talking about how to love your neighbor. The GOP says “we’re not racist” the Marxist trolls that have taken over the Democratic Party, and have complete control of press and universities scream” every body is racist, the most racist are Cis gendered white males!”

    Pride is the root of pretty much all arguments and fighting. Some people love and benefit from all this fighting because it keeps them in power by keeping Americans from coming together in peace and harmony.

    The fighting is all part of the plan, a subversive plan. If you are fighting with your neighbor, with your friends or family on Facebook, now you are being manipulated and doing exactly what the enemy of love wants you to be doing. The enemies of our republic on both sides want us fighting and terrified, it’s great for raising money and keeping manipulative dirt bags in office.

    To love or hate, the choice is ours to make.

  3. The advances our country/state has had combatting racism in the past 60 years since the era of civil rights marches should be celebrated instead of fanning the flames of racism on embers where residuals remain. If all the energy of the BLM movement were put towards celebrating this it would be far more healing of the racial divide and supportive of blacks and integration of unity in our communities.

  4. Not relevant to this news report but …

    Violent fighting broke out on a flight.

    Remember the fights that broke out in Miami airport, at two different times?

    Something going on? Is something triggering these? Is this part of the “operation” to divide people and make us scared and submissive? To break down society and make us fearful of each other? After, with so many people vaccinated you’d think we’d all be relaxing a bit more.

    Constant assaults on us, right? If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Is everything just coincidence, just happening by chance?

  5. Give me a break, I am so sick of all the “systemic everything “, including ” Racism ”
    now it’s in the medical field, pure BS just more propaganda.

    If you want to “ eradicate systemic racism ” get rid of all the liberal snowflake, and
    send them back to their home states, we were doing fine before they came to town
    with their issues that we never had until they showed up.

    So if you listen to this rhetoric and believe this nonsense, then Dr. Mark Levine is part of
    the problem, an Older white male in charge, and that makes as much sense as the article.

    Stop the nonsense.

  6. Dr. Levine testified before the Senate Government Operations Committee that Vermont’s medical system is embedded with racism.

    This is a very serious and damming allegation coming from the State’s Health Commissioner. An important individual, a physician and health care administrator who’s words must be very carefully chosen and spoken because of their impact on all. Yet, in making his charges, Dr. Levine cites no evidence to back his charges of racism in the medical system……None.

    Levine does make reference to “redlining”, a practice that has long been outlawed in this country. A practice that has nothing to do with the health care system. Dr. Levine labels Vermont’s medical system racist, but offers no evidence to support his charges…….This is dangerous and not helpful at a time when there is so much divisive racial animus present.

    So if Dr. Levine is correct, when was he first made aware of this problem and what has he done as to address it before his testimony before the Senate last Tuesday?……Based on his long experience in the Vermont health care system, he must have been aware of this problem years ago.

    If a problem does exists as Dr. Levin states, he must have a long list of corrective steps he has taken during his four years as Health Commissioner and before during his time at UVM and the UVM Medical Center to address the the issue of racism in the Vermont medical system.

    Dr. Levin tell the people of Vermont the specific steps you have taken to remedy the racism you now insist is embedded in our health system.

  7. There is, apparently, no reconciliation possible with those harboring the pretense of ‘original sin’, the intellectual mortification and self-flagellation required by the perpetual search for a perceived and ever elusive redemption. For we, who are comfortable in our own skin, despite its pigmentation or origin, will, in their mind, forever be the heathen.

  8. “On Tuesday morning, during a meeting of the Senate Committee on Government Operations, lawmakers and witnesses testified that racism permeates Vermont’s medical systems, and that this conclusion should be considered factual even before data is gathered on the topic.”

    Because, you see, things should be real just because we say they are, with no bothering with such inconsequential things as data or evidence.

    If what they mean by this is that poorer families can’t afford health insurance or health care, then this make sense. We should work to remedy this. If they mean, on the other hand, that if you’re non-white and seek health care you’ll be treated differently just because you’re non-white, then I’d really like to see proof that this is because of skin color instead of income level.

    If I’m non-white and a millionaire, I’m quite sure that I can get top-quality health care right here in Vermont. Does anyone doubt this? If I’m a poor white person– and we all know there are plenty of these folks in Vermont– I’m quite sure my medical options will be limited. So is this really about race?

    Stupid is as stupid does. If we start believing things without evidence or facts or examination, or just because these things are supposedly “beyond question,” then that makes us stupid. Welcome to Vermont.

  9. If the public finds it daunting to make sense of the tenets of deconstructionism as Derrida and Foucault were rather cryptic writers, perhaps a word or two about the morals of those two men may bring the Vermont public to a rightful state of rage.
    Both Derrida and Foucault signed with many other French luminaries of the sixties a petition in 1968 that would decriminalize pedophilia:
    “”French law recognizes in 12- and 13-year-olds a capacity for discernment that it can judge and punish,” said a second petition signed by Sartre and De Beauvoir, along with fellow intellectuals Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida; a leading child psychologist, Françoise Dolto; and writers Philippe Sollers, Alain Robbe-Grillet and Louis Aragon. “But it rejects such a capacity when the child’s emotional and sexual life is concerned. It should acknowledge the right of children and adolescents to have relations with whomever they choose.”
    The influence of these 2 men in deconstructing every aspect of American values, institutions and history is chilling. Their ideas have sown the seeds of critical race theory which has now permeated the entire social fabric of American society.

    • Sorry, but CRT would simply say that you’re assuming power and authority over those who endorse pedophilia and claiming that you have the moral high ground, simply because you’re too fragile to admit you’re a racist.

      You can’t win. This stuff is Unreason writ large.

      I don’t think this is an accident. How to you get people on their knees? Scare them (Covid-19) and then destroy their sense of country, of honor, and of community by introducing a doctrine that their country, their honor, and their community are just pretenses used to justify their racism. Then the unthinking, uncritical, unreasonable masses go after those who oppose this theory and work to accuse them and their denial, painting both as racist. End result: fragmentation and the adoption of a collectivist doctrine that punishes those who don’t believe in the doctrine. This isn’t science, or reason, or truth, or justice, or anything but Lysenkoism applied to the social sciences, wherein doctrine– not reason, not truth– gets the upper hand.

      I may have an over-active imagination and I may be a conspiracy theorist, but I think this is all part of the plan for the Great Reset. They want us fragmented and fighting each other, they want us scared, they want us submissive, they want (end goal) to monitor and manage us for their own ends. They’re using CRT as a wedge to destroy our Constitution (supposedly racist) and our country, so that we come to believe that our best interest doesn’t lie in liberty, freedom, and reason, but only in a new world order wherein justice will be ensured for those who adhere to the rules of the great reset, and those who disobey will be acting against the interests of the global state (which represents the “greater good”) and deserve every restriction placed upon them. Their freedom ends where ours begins!

      Everyone on board? If not, fight like hell.

      What happens after Covid-19? How about a planetary emergency, requiring a planetary police state? It’s all in the plan, and if we don’t go along then we’ll have another viral emergency to bring us to our knees. We can only stop this if enough people see it: we’re seven billion strong. And you’d better believe that states like Texas and Florida are giving them heartburn. Vermont, of course, is just following right along, stupidly, blindly, and unthinkingly. Thanks, Governor, for nothing. No courage, no discernment, nothing but follow-the-leader.

  10. Ask a Democrat what their solutions are to systemic racism. Their answer is property confiscation and wealth redistribution for everyone except them. The wealthy white liberals in Vermont get to keep what is theirs and take what is yours.

  11. What absolute crapola. This is like the red chinese, red guards, re-education camps.
    Denounce yourself, confess your sins, real or imaginary, because you are guilty of being White!
    What’s the deal with the levine clan–they have a trance gender health commissioner in Pennsylvania, and I think the Mass commissioner is one too.
    Programming and mind control through language. Shame on you mr. levine. This is communism.

  12. “According to the text of the resolution, in 2018, 23.8 percent of Black Vermonters were living in poverty while 10.7 percent of White Vermonters lived in poverty.” – Dr. Mark Levine

    Okay. According to the U.S. Census data published on July 1st, 2019, 94.2% (587,797) of Vermonters were White and 1.4% (8736) were Black or African American. What conclusions can be drawn from the fact that there were 71,630 Vermonters (62,894 Whites and 2079 Black or African Americans) living in poverty at that time?

    First, Dr. Levine’s numbers don’t add up. Again, according to the U.S. Census data published on July 1st, 2019, 10.2% of all 623,989 Vermonters were living in poverty. That’s a total of 63,647 people – including Hispanic and Latinos, Native Americans (including but not limited to the Abenaki Nation) and Asian Americans.

    So, what about the other 4.4% (27,455) of Vermonters – the Native American, Asian and Latino folks? Either Dr. Levine has data conflicting with the U.S. Census, or he’s ‘race baiting’.

    Dr. Levine: An explanation is in order.

  13. Tom Licata, by the time some people catch up it will be too late,,, perhaps we have already
    reached that cliff and many are falling into the chasm or is it the abyss. We can let each determine
    which they have fallen into. These are sad days for our beautiful nation and its people.

    • The Second Coming
      BY W.B. Yeats

      “Turning and turning in the widening gyre
      The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
      Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
      Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
      The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
      The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
      The best lack all conviction, while the worst
      Are full of passionate intensity…”

      The rest is worth reading. And understanding.

      God Bless the United States of America, as founded.

  14. This is what the academic left would call the ‘reification’ phase of their socialist or totalitarian movement. Reified means ‘to make real’. In a relatively short time they’ve been able to establish ‘systematic racism’ as a reality, using not facts or evidence but through shear force of language.

    This is what’s going on: Postmodernism doesn’t believe in objective reality. It believes reality is constructed in language and discourses (defined as ways of talking about things) and that those who control the language and discourse can control the hierarchies and systems of power.

    The Left – incorporating this with Critical Race Theory – has tied our culture and thus our politics and politicians into knots. The Right hasn’t figured this out. They’re all tied up in their knots of constructed-guilt, combined with the manipulation of their natural goodwill as they try and “solve” the language-constructed ‘systematic’ racism’.

    It’s a a language game! Postmodern philosopher Michel Foucault termed this phenomenon ‘Power-knowledge’. This in conjunction with our culture’s inability to truly understand – because of the Left’s takeover of our education system – its own roots and principles rooted in Modernism, Judeo-Christianity and the Enlightenment, produces an inability to defend their own principles… leaving us flailing in the wind towards a kind of totalitarian nihilism.

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