We know that systemic racism - the legacy of slavery, has created significant wealth disparities and cultural disempowerment among Black Vermonters. One way in which this manifests is that Black home ownership in Vermont is only 21.1% (4th lowest in the nation). We also know that adverse racial disparities exist across, education, employment, health services, and justice systems. These disparities and cultural erasure and appropriation directly and indirectly affect the health and wellness of Black individuals and communities. This threatens economic development, democracy, and social health and wellness of all Vermonters.
As the State of Vermont contemplates a systematic just economic transition to eradicate systemic racism we continue to implement approaches to address the economic, cultural and other factors that continuously and insidiously adversely impact the Black community. The Vermont Racial Justice Alliance continues the work to address the root causes, impact and mitigating strategies to address systemic racism through research, community engagement, platform and initiative advocacy, outreach and education, and Black cultural cultivation, promotion and curation.
We are centering the needs of the Black community in the work of rectifying historical racial inequity. We are accomplishing this work by serving as a cultural broker in the expansion of programs and services to marginalized communities where they have historically been ineffective, inefficient or nonexistent. We are creating new systems that empower Black Vermonters denied equal access to public or private economic and other opportunity. We are creating a space in Burlington where the Black Community’s wellness culture and youth intersect.
The Richard Kemp Center expands programs and services that support Black Vermonters’ wellness, preserve their culture, support their youth and advance racial equity and justice.
Programming and services will include cultural empowerment activities and programs (presentations, commemorations and celebrations, and arts activities), people support (personal wellness and development, small business support and wealth management), youth programming (including mentoring, homework assistance and STEAM cultivation, and sports), community empowerment (events and activities, spiritual and emotional support, group discussions), and workforce development (client and employer services).
The Richard Kemp Center will honor the legacy of Richard Kemp - a Black community social justice hero, create a new era of intentional Black-led community engagement and support and pay forward a promise into the hope in the lives of our Black youth.