A Vermont school board unanimously voted to fly a Black Lives Matter flag outside a Montpelier high school to raise the “collective consciousness” of white people.
Black History Month will be honored next month at Montpelier High School with a flag meant, in part, to educate the community on “white privilege.” The decision was made after the student-led Racial Justice Alliance spoke with members of the school board on Jan. 17.
“Vermont has a long history of being at the forefront of civil rights movements,” a statement released by Montpelier Public Schools, The Burlington Free Press reported Wednesday. “Our state was the first to abolish slavery in its constitution, and the first to enroll and graduate a black student, who subsequently served in the state legislature. The School Board’s decision to fly a Black Lives Matter flag builds on that legacy.”
The student group celebrated the vote but stressed the “need to do more to raise our predominantly white community’s collective consciousness to better recognize white privilege and implicit bias.”
Members of Racial Justice Alliance went on to “reject any purported connections to violence or hate that may or may not have occurred under the Black Lives Matter flag.”
Superintendent Brian Ricca also released a statement, which implored critics to offer “constructive and peaceful dialogue, in the hopes of deepening our shared understanding of race and privilege in our education system and broader community.”