MacLean Gander and Shanta Lee Gander

A wave of adulation for an inaugural poem

Amanda Gorman rightly deserved the outpouring of praise for ‘The Hill We Climb,’ with its repetition, cadence, rhyme, and sound so deeply rooted in Black American oral traditions. But how many people flocking to the young poet’s work recognize the long line of Black poets whose voices we should be hearing now?

Amanda Gorman's performance of her poem “The Hill We Climb” stole the show during the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20. Her grace and beauty, the eloquence of her voice and gestures, and the power of her words captured an audience that had already witnessed many powerful moments that day.

It was a wondrous experience to watch her, and she quickly became a media darling, with CNN's Anderson Cooper almost at a loss for words as he interviewed her.

“Seeing how effectively and deeply Amanda Gorman has lit the hearts of America, this severely ripped torn angry America, this really shows just how medicinal poetry is,” said Toussaint St. Negritude, an afrofuturist and oro-shamanic poet from northern Vermont.

We learned about the circumstances of her childhood, about how she was raised by a single mother and how she overcame speech and auditory processing difficulties that made it difficult for her to pronounce the sound of the letter “r.”...

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We’re an interracial couple. We want to keep our police department funded.

Anyone who wants to defund the police had better have a plan, because we don’t feel safe

We are glad that the Selectboard voted to approve the annual budget without defunding the police force. We recognize that different voices have different ideas about how defunding would work, but anyone who wants to defund the Brattleboro police had better have a plan to keep the two of...

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Hidden costs at all levels of society

Poverty and struggle are devastating for the individuals — and discouraging to business. But with regard to public safety, those who panhandle are generally not the actual threat.

It is impossible to estimate the actual economic costs of addiction, homelessness, and panhandling in Brattleboro, but there is no question that they are considerable. For police and other emergency services, problems related to addiction, such as petty crimes and overdoses, are a major focus, taking scores of hours...

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Us becomes them in the Harmony Lot

In an interview with The Commons, Patsy Cushing described an experience, one that shifted her perception of homelessness and panhandling on a cold and blustery day. Cushing said that she had driven downtown, parked her car in the Harmony Lot, and then took a bad fall. She remained on the ground for a few minutes. “I had on my parka, and I was dressed warmly enough because of the wind, and had no scrapes or anything at all, but it...

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A thin safety net

Local and regional challenges with homelessness reflect a national problem - one that is a symptom of decades of national economic trends and policies that hit people and communities locally. Megan Hustings, interim director of the Washington, D.C.–based National Coalition for the Homeless, believes that the problem starts with the huge gap between income and housing costs that has increased over the past several decades. “There's no city in the country [...] where you can actually work 40 hours at...

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Flying signs

She gave her name as Sara and said that she was homeless. Night had fallen in early November. She was holding a polite sign asking for money if anyone could help. She was standing next to one of the parking ticket booths in the Harmony Lot. The weather was close to freezing, and the overnight shelter had not yet opened for the season. She was wearing just a light jacket. Sara said she was from Rutland but had lived in...

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U.S. atty. vows ‘relentless’ response to drug crime

If a show of force was needed against the drug and crime situation in the area, United States Attorney Christina E. Nolan delivered one on Tuesday at a press conference in the roll-call room at the Brattleboro Police Department. Nolan's visit to southern Vermont came on the heels of a three-day drug sweep in Brattleboro and Putney that netted 16 suspects. Flanked by 16 federal and state officials, state police officers, and Police Chief Michael Fitzgerald, Nolan sent a stern...

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Cuba at a crossroads

The transition of power to a new generation in Cuba last week was an important moment in history. For the first time since 1959, the island nation is led by someone not named Castro. The generation of the revolution is not fading away quietly - Raúl Castro retains control of the Socialist party and the military. Still, his commitment to a transition to a new generation of leadership seems sincere, and also necessary, since he is almost 90. The new...

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