Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: We are not truly all immigrants

I write regarding the recent editorial by Bill Schubart called “Imagine If Vermont Got Immigration Right.” I appreciate many of the points he made. But I want to draw your attention to the last sentence, “There are those among us who choose to forget that we’re all descended from immigrants.” To my fellow white Vermonters: Please stop saying stuff like this! We are not all descended from immigrants because:
1. Indigenous people are not immigrants. They are the original inhabitants, guardians and protectors of this land that we all live on.
2. Most Black people are not immigrants either. The majority of African Americans are descended from enslaved people who were kidnapped from Africa during the slave trade.
3. Many white people who say things like “my family came here on the Mayflower” aren’t actually immigrants, either. They are descended from colonizers.
The problem with the well-intentioned statement “We are all immigrants” is that it erases the lived history of our non-white neighbors. It ignores the stories of Indigenous Americans, who are still fighting to survive, and struggling to protect the water and soil we all need to live. It disregards the truth of slavery, Jim Crow, and police brutality against Black Americans. If we truly want to “get immigration right” we will be more nuanced in how we discuss these issues.
Joanna Colwell
(Granddaughter of a Jewish Immigrant)
East Middlebury

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