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The Vermont Student Anti-Racism Network has received a $1,000 grant from the Vermont Community Foundation to help further the network’s mission of promoting anti-racism in schools through student leadership.

“We envision a Vermont that acknowledges how racism is historically and institutionally embedded and takes seriously our ethical obligation to end racism,” said Kyle Mitchell, a student member from Middlebury Union High School.

The Vermont Student Anti-Racism Network was founded this summer to bring a diverse group of students together from around the state to advocate for anti-racist educations.

The group incudes representatives from eight of Vermont’s 14 counties, including Bennington County. It aims to have an impact by undertaking projects in schools, such as encouraging curriculum changes and changes in statewide school policies.

“One idea we have for using the VCF grant money is to purchase racially inclusive and anti-racist books that amplify diverse voices for elementary schools around Vermont. We then may go into schools via Zoom for a powerful activity and discussion based around the books, led by students in our network,” the network said in a media release.

Olivia Miller, a student member from Champlain Valley Union High School, said the group considers it vital to start with the youngest Vermonters.

“Racism is driven by mindsets, unconcious biases, and how our brains are structured so if we can get young people into anti-racist habits early on, it is likely that these habits will stick with them into adulthood,” Miller said.

Besides Bennington, the counties represented are Addison, Windsor, Chittenden, Washington, Rutland, Windham and Essex.

High schools represented are Middlebury High School, Woodstock Union High School, Mount Mansfield Union High school, Champlain Valley Union High School, South Burlington High School, Harwood Union High School, West Rutland High School, Leland and Gray, Vergennes High School, Proctor High School, White River Valley High School, Montpelier High School, Arlington Memorial High School and Thetford Academy.

The group hopes to have representatives from every county with an emphasis on students and teachers of color.

Interested students, teachers or student groups interested in being involved in the group’s work can email antiracismvtschools@gmail.com for more information.

The funds were awarded through the Vermont Community Foundation’s Spark Connecting Community grant program, which is targeted on building and nurturing community.

For more information, visit vermontcf.org or call 802-388-3355.


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