Justice for people of color and for the economically vulnerable

DUMMERSTON — More than 10 percent of the people in Vermont prisons are African American. Just 1 percent of people in Vermont are black.

No other nation on earth incarcerates such a high percentage of its people. As of 2008, the USA had about 751 people in prison or jail for every 100,000 in population. “England's rate is 151; Germany's is 88; and Japan's is 63.” That's according to a 2008 New York Times article, and those numbers were virtually unchanged as of 2013.

The book Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond explains why the average black person is much poorer than the average white person. Rich people can afford better lawyers.

According to Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign website, BernieSanders.com, “This campaign is sending a message to the billionaire class: 'You can't have it all.' You can't get huge tax breaks while children in this country go hungry.”

According to Sanders, one way to help the poor is by “[m]aking it easier for workers to join unions by fighting for the Employee Free Choice Act. One of the most significant reasons for the 40-year decline in the middle class is that the rights of workers to collectively bargain for better wages, and benefits have been severely undermined.”

On July 13, some 400 people marched in Brattleboro, chanting, “Black lives matter.” The Vermont Workers' Center, one of the groups that organized the event, works on these issues of economic justice. For more information, visit WorkersCenter.org.

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