Black Lives Matter of Greater Burlington stands in solidarity with Migrant Justice in the fight against ICE and Border Patrol. We recognize that their struggle is our struggle and we are united in this fight.
Our vision of the Greater Burlington area is one where black folks can thrive bodily, socially, and economically. This cannot become a reality as long as our comrades are being targeted, monitored, and deported. This cannot become a reality as long as immigrants are criminalized and terrorized by ICE, border patrol, and our militarized police force. We join Migrant Justice in demanding #Not1More deportation and an end to the targeting of immigrants.
The Black Lives Matter movement has its origins in part in the struggle against the over-policing and monitoring of black folks. As more police officers enter our schools, and more canines and tactical gear enter our police departments, one must ask: Who is it that they are hunting? This excessive and growing police presence, coupled with increasingly militarized officers in areas with higher black and brown populations in Vermont is a thinly-veiled tactic to oppress and control people of color in Vermont. Over-policing inevitably leads to racial profiling, violence, and over-incarceration, leaving us with 1 in 14 black men and a disproportionate number of hispanic and latino people incarcerated in Vermont.
Greg Zullo was left on the side of the road in Rutland to walk 8 miles home after a stop the officer claimed was for a registration sticker hidden by snow. Eli Calvo Cruz was accosted by ICE while standing outside of a gas station and was put back at risk of being deported after an immigration judge agreed that he posed no danger to his community and should not be deported. Meanwhile Christopher Hayden, who has a history of racially motivated aggravated assault, continues to directly threaten the wellbeing of people of color right here in the Greater Burlington area without accountability.
Law enforcement in Vermont consistently dehumanize people of color while forgiving and protecting violent and racist white people. Officers cannot operate in a racially just manner when our policing system has never strayed from its roots of returning the contraband of escaped slaves to their white “owners.” And to arm those within that system under the myth of objectivity, in a society steeped in racialized oppression, is something not even the best implicit bias “training” can overcome.
The criminalization of people of color in Vermont will not stop without a struggle. Migrant Justice has stopped deportations and freed immigrants from detention, fought tirelessly to hold dairy farm owners accountable to safer working conditions through the Milk with Dignity Campaign, worked towards the separation of the police from border patrol and ICE, and more. We support their work in fighting for the liberation of immigrants in Vermont.
We call on folks to stand in solidarity with Migrant Justice and demand #Not1More deportation and an end to the targeting of immigrants that is based in racism, xenophobia, and hatred because no human is illegal!