On Friday, April 23, the Vermont Conference presents a special panel discussion:
"What is the Minority Experience in Vermont?"
Vermonters pride themselves on their progressive social history from abolition of slavery in the state constitution to being the first in the nation to legally recognize LGBTQ+ civil unions and marriage equality. But not everyone has experienced such progress. Though Vermonters are right to celebrate such milestones, they must also contend with the underbelly of Vermont’s history and current issues surrounding racial, social and religious acceptance.
Vermont is demographically the whitest state in the United States as well as the least religious in terms of active participation in religious institutions. People of color, new immigrants, refugees and those who pray in an understanding different from Christianity face ambivalence at best, and downright scorn and intimidation at worst. However, the majority of Vermont’s white population is either unaware of, or refuses to examine, its dominant role in the experience of non-white, non-Christian, non-immigrant populations in this state.
The Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC) seeks to present the attendees of its 2020 Annual Meeting with a window into the minority experience in Vermont through a panel discussion with representatives of different minority groups including African-Americans, Muslims, First Nations, refugees and migrant laborers. Our panelists will be asked to offer their stories and experiences about living in Vermont, the challenges they face and how the members of the Vermont Conference’s local churches may be effective allies and advocates for equality.