Last night, organizers kicked off the first People's Forum on Human Rights and the Economy with a great showing at Montpelier High School! Members of the Vermont Workers' Center joined allies with Vermont Center for Independent Living, Green Mountain Self-Advocates, and 350Vermont to ask candidates where they stood on critical issues in our communities and our larger vision for people and the planet.
Addressing the 18 candidates present, moderator Joseph Gainza began the evening by noting that "many of us have worked on specific issues for years, but we have come to realize that these are part of a larger human rights crisis that calls for bolder and bigger solutions. We need a fundamental shift toward a real democracy that ensures all our human rights."
350Vermont member KC Whiteley testified about how our current energy system is not only driving climate change, but is unaffordable for many low-income Vermont residents. She pointed out that our state is behind on it's weatherization goals, and asked candidates what they would do to make energy efficiency and reduced energy costs available to low-income and working Vermonters.
Amy Lester said, "Once again, I'm proud to be a member of the VWC as well as a movement builder. The civil discourse that took place last night at the Washington county peoples's forum was inspiring...I want my representatives to hear what's important to us and be held accountable in the future concerning issues around healthcare, the environment and the state budget."
Also, today VWC member Ellen Schwartz had an OpEd published in the Rutland Herald, entitled "Make sure Shumlin doesn't back down." In it, she stated:
"We are now at a crossroads with very high stakes...This year, as we move forward with Act 48, we can take the bold step of creating a health care system designed to keep us healthy, a health care system that makes it possible for people to grow old in place, a health care system in which money no longer stands between people and the care they need. Vermont can get this right, but it will take political courage, especially in the face of doomsday predictions and fear mongering. It will also take all of us whose lives are affected by the decisions made in Montpelier to stand together, to support each other, and to make our voices heard."
Let's build on this energy for the rest of the forums -- See you tomorrow in Burlington!
List of remaining People's Forums - Check workerscenter.org/calendar for flyers and more info.
Burlington: Integrated Arts Academy - October 9 @ 6pm
Bristol: Mt. Abraham High School - October 13 @ 6pm
Brattleboro: Marlboro Graduate Center, Room 2E - October 14 @ 6pm
Morrisville: People's Academy Cafeteria - October 15 @ 6:30
Bennington: St. Peters Church - October 15 @ 6:30
St. Albans: Franklin Co. Senior Center - October 16 @ 6pm
White River Junction: Hartford High School - October 16 @ 6:30