Vermonters join in outrage over racial inequality

HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE carrying signs and sporting masks protested the killing of George Floyd and other police violence during a demonstration in downtown Middlebury on Saturday evening. Photo by Jason Duquette-Hoffman

ADDISON COUNTY AND BRANDON — People started gathering in College Park, the former site of the Middlebury town offices, a little before 6 p.m. on Saturday. As the numbers swelled it became obvious that pandemic or not many Vermonters were so upset that they were willing to come out and make their presence known.
The issue was a perennial one in the United States — racism.
Like in towns and cities across the country, people in Vermont were shocked by the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and showed up to let their outrage be known. Around 375 people — young and old — spread out along both sides of the Cross Street Bridge and partway around the traffic circle in downtown Middlebury. While trying to give each other an appropriate social distance, many held up signs with names of African Americans killed in high-profile incidents.
A protest the next day in Brandon started with 21-year-old Lennon Philo, who stood in front of the Brandon Congregational Church with a handwritten sign that read: “White silence is Violence, #BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForFloyd.” That evening, up to 100 protesters with similar feelings moved in and out of Brandon’s Central Park with handmade signs protesting Floyd’s slaying. 
On Tuesday, Senior Warden Rebecca Chauvin and fellow vestry member Nan Guilmette posted signs of love, peace and solidarity outside St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Vergennes. 
Collectively and individually people around the area are bearing witness to the sadness and anger they felt. 
Our leaders also weighed in with words to describe their reaction. Read what local police chiefs in Vergennes and in Middlebury had to say about Floyd’s killing. Political leaders — Leahy and Scott — also shared their thoughts.

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