Black Lives Matter of Greater Burlington (BLMGB) is an unofficial chapter of the national and global #BlackLivesMatter movement. Greater Burlington is loosely defined as north to Milton, east to Jericho, south to Richmond, and west to Burlington.
To see the greater Burlington area transformed into a place where all Black people thrive bodily, socially, and economically.
To organize poor Black folk and their natural allies, cultivate the peoples’ culture, and model the beloved community in which we want to exist to achieve our collective liberation.
What we mean by The Peoples’ Culture:
- Freed up intellectual capital
- Commitment to Consensus (vs. Democratic or Republic)
- Political/Popular Education (the Struggle is a School)
- Indigenous Knowledge
- Value not dictated by our labor
- Artistic Expression as Mechanism of Liberation
What is in the Beloved Community:
- New Systems & Institutions
- Reimagined Social Norms (collectivity & interdependence)
- Community for Humanity Sake
- Full Range of Restoration (Head, Heart, & Leg Work)
First BLMGB Meeting
Community members, including former BLMVT organizers, meet to build a racial jusice organization committed to the core organizing principles of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, with an additional focus on collective leadership and healing.
The organization was designed with two “caucus” groups, the People of Color Caucus, and the White Caucus for Collective Liberation.
Infinite for Mayor
POC Caucus member Infinite Culcleasure launches campaign for Mayor of Burlington, which is supported by members of the BLMGB Collective.
Collective Gets a Name
The name Black Lives Matter of Greater Burlington is adopted.
Members of BLMGB learn about an event planned by the national white supremacist group Patriot Front. Collctive organizers help plan a counter protest, and use that as an opportunity for recruiting.
Black Lives Matter of Greater Burlington announces itself to the greater Burlington Community.
Feed Your Soul Social
BLMGB plans and holds it’s first public event, which serves as a formal launch and celebration. The event was a family-friendly potluck-style dinner to build community and share BLMGB’s vision.
Digital Organizing Capacity
Adoption of tech platforms/tools for communication, decision making and collaboration.
Poor People’s Campaign
BLMGB organizers participate in local VT activities in support of the Poor People’s Campaign, and send members to a national rally in Washington DC.
Formalized Decision Making
The Collective evolves and finalizes a decision making framework based on concensus and collective participation.
ACLU Smart Justice Campaign
BLMGB becomes partner of ACLU VT’s Smart Justice Campaign.
POC Spaghetti Dinner
WCCL organizes a monthly community dinner for the POC community in the Burlington Area.
WCCL Expands to Milton
WCCL begins meeting with community members in Milton, VT to help dismantle white supremacy culture and build positive anti-racist culture beyond Burlington.
Statewide POC Caucus
BLMGB supports planning efforts for the Statewide POC Caucus Retreat. Helps facilitate planning, fundraising, transportation for the event.
BLMGB is formally incorporated as a VT domestic non-profit corporation.
Re-Definition of Added Values
BLMGB Collectively collectively re-defines two of its guiding values: Collective Leadership and Healing. This opportunity allowed all members to focus their understanding of what these values mean in concept and what living them looks like in practice.
Collective Leadership: We define leadership as active engagement in service to the community. We are committed to sharing responsibility for our culture and our structures. We center Black voices and labor across race lines, building connections through struggle.
HEALING: The purpose of our revolutionary struggle is deconstructing external & internal oppression. We recognize that oppression is rooted in the assertion of dominance and power. We are committed to decolonizing wellness and creating a culture of collective vulnerability & trust.
Call for Public Inquiry Into Bennington Criminal Justice System
BLMGB officially joins the ACLU of Vermont and over 20 allied organizations in calling for an independent inquiry into Bennington law enforcement’s lack of response to threats made against Kiah Morris and her family.
2nd Annual Feed Your Soul Social
BLMGB plans and holds it’s second community dinner, including food, music, child-friendly activities, and community building.
Organizing History Study – Collective
BLMGB designs and holds the first session of a four week study exploring organizing history. The dialog-focused study examines various tactics, strategies, and theories of change, in order to develop collective analysis of what it means to effectively organize across lines of division to abolish poverty.
Statement, Demands, and Petition Responding to BTV PD Police Brutality
BLMGB publishes statement in response to the high profile release of two police body cam videos depicting acts of violence against Black men. Demands issued include calling for:
1) The termination of officers involved in the incidents from BPD.
2) The officers involved not be re-hired by in any local or state agency in Chittenden County.
3) Use of body cameras by all police in Chittenden County, including free access to captured video.
4) Commitment not to halt hiring all new police officers, and instead begin hiring more social workers for the community.
Emergency Community Meeting
BTV PD Use of Force
BLMGB organizes and hosts meeting to provide the community a forum to voice concerns over policing in BTV, and to begin to build a path forward that leaves behind police violence.
BTV Copwatch Forms
BLMGB partners with Peaceful Streets Project, and a number of concerned community members to organize around detering police violence and encouraging accountability by filming the BPD.
#ShutDownICE in VT
BLMGB marches with hundreds of community members to the ICE data processing facility in Williston, delivering a statement in solidarity with a migrant community suffering under increasingly fascist policing.
Retreat with The Root BIPOCC and Lost River Racial Justice
Members of the BLMGB Collective, The Root BIPOCC, and Lost River Racial Justice gathered in Montpelier to build community, share progress, and strategize around how to take our approach to multiracial organizing state-wide.
Revise Community Agreements
In light of BLMGB’s updated guiding values, the Racial Justice Collective also updated its community agreements to improve clarity and ensure they foster spaces that honor its values, vision, and mission.
Organizing History Study – Expanded
In its 4th session, BLMGB extends the organizing history study beyond the Racial Justice Collective to include members of the POC Caucus, White Caucus for Collective Liberation, and BTV Copwatch.
Adjusting, Adapting and Working to Survive the Pandemic
Overcoming complete disruption of the rhythms of Collective organizing and reckoning with new mental, emotional, and physical material realities of isolation and economic collapse.
Organizing History Study – Spring 2020
The 5th session of Organizing history study was the first fully virtual study and included participants across the state of VT.
Primero de Mayo / May Day Rally for Essential Workers
BLMGB joined Justicia Migrante, Community Voices for Immigrant Rights, Vermont Workers’ Center, Peach & Justice Center, along with 36 other orgs and individuals at a car rally to recognize essential workers.
The full speech delivered at the event can be read here
ReWatch Party Racial Justice Has No Borders
Collective members hosted a watch party of an April 6th livestream discussing militarization in a time of pandemic. An engaged group of local activists and community organizers watched three panel segments and participated in breakout discussions.
George Floyd Protest
BLMGB joined millions in rising up globally and delivered a statement in protest of the murder of George Floyd, and the countless other Black people killed by police.
The full speech is available here
Weekly Caucus Meetings
In the midst of global uprisings against anti-Black police violence, and a deepening COVID-19 pandemic, BLMGB recognized the need for collective healing. The Collective began holding space for weekly heart work.
Internal Restorative Process Pilot
The BLMGB Collective designed and piloted a Restorative Process intended to repair harm or tension that may occur as a result of navigating relationships through the course of Collective work. This deep, intensive process included weekly circle spaces and ran nearly the duration of the summer months.
Think Twice Demands
The official release of BLMGB’s Think Twice Campaign institutional demands. This comprehensive list features calls to action for local, regional and state governments, police departments, schools, and non-profit organizations. These demands are complementary and are grounded in a vision of communities that no longer include police.
Think Twice Art Pop-Up
The first outdoor, socially distanced, in-person engagement around the Think Twice Campaign happened in Winooski and included artwork created by community members of all ages and amazing food provided by People’s Kitchen.
Organizing History Study – Summer 2020
The 6th session of Organizing history study, including new and past participants from across VT.
Protest Trump’s Police State at ICE and Homeland Security
BLMGB joined the Black Perspective, Community Voices for Immigrant Rights, and Justicia Migrante to protest the police state in the US, from the deployment of federal agents to put down BLM protests to the ongoing atrocities being committed by ICE and Customs and Border Protection. A Collective member delivered a speech featuring the Think Twice institutional demands.
Think Twice Pledge Release
The official release of the Think Twice Community Pledge went out at the Working-Class BBQ Picnic & Labor Against White Supremacy event in Burlington’s Battery Park. While it is crucial to make demands of power to dismantle the white supremacist policing apparatus, it is also necessary to make demands of the community. BLMGB engaged neighbors around actions they could take to create a community that does not need or want police. Collective members distributed Think Twice literature in a number of languages, and collaborated with people on the creation of a Think Twice banner.
The full community pledge can be found here
Supported Vermont Freedom School
Drawing upon the history of freedom schools as a foundational element for movement building and struggle, BLMGB Collective members supported and participated in a gathering intended to build relationships through collective study.
Organizing History Study – Fall 2020
The 7th session of Organizing history study, including new and past participants from across VT.
First Think Twice Zine Released
The first in a series of zines focused on the Think Twice Community Pledge was released. The focus of the zine series is to help make the pledge points more accessible to children while also being engaging to adults. “Police Are Not My Heroes”, the first installment, is a response to a piece of police propaganda distributed to preschools and elementary schools in Vermont and features coloring pages, puzzles, and games. It has been available at the SUSU Healing Collective in Brattleboro, Living Proof Mentoring in White River Junction, Railyard Apothecary in Burlington, as well as the Street Dance Activism hub in Los Angeles.
BLMGB Library Launched
BLMGB partnered with Phoenix Books to create a collection of books that reflect BLMGB’s focus on organizing Black folk and their natural allies. The library includes titles that BLMGB actively engage in while organizing.
The first session of a new Imperialism Course designed by BLMGB, with readings and discussions that cover understanding imperialism, pragmatism, Marxism, neoliberalism and neofascism. The study included members of the BLMGB Collective, as well as POCC and White Caucus attendees.
The first session of a re-imagining of the Organizing History Study. The Cadre Circle is designed to connect organizers and deepen political education while doing culture work in effort to build leadership and manifest interning.
Reimagined Caucus Meetings
The first of the revamped BLMGB caucus meetings is held. After some reflection on the experience and outcomes of years of caucus meetings, BLMGB refocused the space on exploring what it really means to put our hearts into our politics and live out our shared belief in freedom. Discussion topics are oriented around the Think Twice Community Pledge.