Letter to the editor: Charlestin shows courage in speaking out

Esther Charlestin was incredibly helpful to us last year in helping our son (and us) adjust to Middle School and creating a 504 plan. I know it wasn’t always easy! As a family, we are deeply saddened by the experience that she had, but not surprised. 

We are aware of much overt racism, and implicit and unconscious bias existing in Vermont. We are also very concerned about how white middle schoolers, who have a natural and age-appropriate irreverent streak, are horribly emboldened by unconscious white privilege to say the stupidest and meanest racist things. We truly hope that they will be educated away from this “just joking” cruelty that we have observed, and receive well-considered consequences when they do it, so that they learn to never do it again, and most importantly learn to have compassion and supportive interest in all human beings, regardless of racial or cultural differences. 

In my work as a mental health counselor in private practice, I have been honored to work with people of color and have seen in-depth the types of struggles they have experienced in the workplace as professionals. This type of stress is very hard on one’s health, and people of color are known to have disproportionate amounts of stress induced illnesses. 

As a family, we stand by Esther and offer our support in any way possible for her further endeavors, including her important new company, Conversation Compass, which we believe will do a lot of good for our community and state!

Thank you Esther for your bravery in speaking out and bringing these issues to light.

Willow Broaddus


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