The Vermont Cynic

Residents protest the KKK

Kelsey Neubauer, Senior Staff Writer

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Church Street lit up as residents, students and workers stood symbolically with two people of color who found Ku Klux Klan fliers on their door Oct. 31.

“We are not afraid,” the crowd chanted, led by Vicki Garrison, a Burlington resident who spoke at the rally.

Many of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America union workers stood in black and red holding up signs.

Chad McGinnis, the field organizer for the UE, said it was his union that organized the event.

A solidarity march was held to stand with the Burlington resi- dents who found Ku Klux Klan fliers on their doors Oct. 31. The march led by Burlington resident Vicki Garrison. FLIER COURTESY OF UE WORKERS DEFENSE GUARD

A solidarity march was held to stand with the Burlington resi- dents who found Ku Klux Klan fliers on their doors Oct. 31. The march led by Burlington resident Vicki Garrison. FLIER COURTESY OF UE WORKERS DEFENSE GUARD

UE represents over 400 trade workers at UVM in addition to other Burlington businesses like City Market, McGinnis said.

Various UE members and members of the local Black Lives Matter movement gave speeches in front of City Hall.

“We are standing here in black and red, proud to be standing strong and united against racial injustice,” said Sanowa Mize-Fox, a Burlington resident and member of the UE.

Mize-Fox said that racism in Burlington is not an issue that will just go away.

“Racism is alive and well in Burlington,” she said. “It’s an uncomfortable topic, but we need to tackle it head on.”

Thomas Grace, a grocer at the City Market CoOp, and a speaker during the rally, said he thinks racism is not confined to the overt forms such as the recent actions by the Klu Klux Klan, but also the systemic issues present in the workplace.

“I worked in jobs where people of color were confined to the back of the store,” Grace said.

The union organized the rally because they felt it neces- sary to be involved in the issue, McGinnis said.

Officers of the Burlington Police Department were at the rally as well.

Burlington Deputy Chief of Police Bruce Bovat said he was happy to see people demonstrating peacefully.

“I think it’s great when people can come and speak their minds in a peaceful manner,” he said.

As people left at around 9 p.m., they hugged each other, echoing promises to continue the fight against racism.

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Residents protest the KKK