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The Center is committed to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in all of our work. In 2017, we started a partnership with other Vermont disability organizations. This 5-year partnership is called the Vermont Community of Practice on Cultural and Linguistic Competence in Developmental Disabilities.

What We Do

Our goals are to:

  1. Develop understanding and commitment to cultural competency in services and policies for people with disabilities.
  2. Identify how services and policies do (and do not) help people with disabilities from culturally and linguistically diverse groups.

Specific activities have included:

  • Leading trainings on racism and ableism.
  • Hosting screenings of the film Intelligent Lives around the state.
  • Developing an organizational assessment using plain language.
  • Sharing what our community of practice partners are doing to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Making recommendations to Vermont Department of Aging and Independent Living to include cultural and linguistic competency as a value in Vermont System of Care Plan.
  • Providing data and information to the Vermont Racial Equity Panel.

Part of this work includes looking at data.

  • September 2020 Statement

    We are the Vermont Community of Practice for Cultural and Linguistic Competence in Developmental Disabilities (CoP).

    The police brutality towards people of color continues. There have been too many deaths and ongoing brutality of Black and brown people in our country. Black lives do matter.

    We know our history also includes the death, harm, imprisonment and oppression of all people of color, including those with disabilities. This history began with indigenous people and expanded to include people brought here as slaves, and people who came here as refugees, migrants, immigrants over generations.

    As the CoP, we work to understand and take apart the bias and racism that lives in ourselves. We monitor our words and actions to limit the damage we cause to others. When we hurt someone, we take responsibility and work to listen and repair the harm. We support the protests. The anger and frustration expressed in protests is important, and we respond in support of racial justice organizations.

    We work to understand how racism is built into our government and service systems (systemic racism). We work to make our Developmental Disabilities Service System more culturally responsive. We call for people with developmental disabilities to get services that are respectful and meaningful to them.

    We commit to these actions:

    • We are working to add Cultural Competence as a value in the VT System of Care Plan for Developmental Disabilities Services. Our services and supports must be welcoming and culturally appropriate for people from all backgrounds.
    • We are examining the policies and procedures in our organizations to ensure they are anti-racist. Our goal is to change who works in and leads our organizations, how we use resources and who we serve.
    • We point out false ideas said about people from different groups. We work to learn the facts. We speak up to make sure we stick to the facts. We use data to understand the disparity issues and share that information.
    • We engage with racial justice organizations, such as the Racial Equity Task Force, VT Racial Justice Alliance, VT Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools, etc. to make systems change.

    We are:

    Ed Paquin, Disability Rights Vermont
    Max Barrows, Chad Cleverley, & Karen Topper, Green Mountain Self-Advocates
    Anne Vernon & Harka Khadka, Howard Center Developmental Services
    Jesse Suter, University of Vermont - Center on Disability & Community Inclusion
    Mary Alice Favro, University of Vermont - Vermont Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (VT LEND)
    Lynne Cleveland Vitzhum, Vermont Care Partners
    Sarah Launderville, Vermont Center for Independent Living
    Kirsten Murphy, Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council
    Amy Roth, Vermont Developmental Disabilities Services Division
    Pam McCarthy & Jamie Rainville, Vermont Family Network

More Vermont Initiatives

Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools

The Vermont Coalition for Ethinic and Social Equity in Schools (VCESES) is a statewide coalition led by a multicultural and multigenerational group including: people of color from various racial and ethnic groups; anti-poverty, disability rights advocates; and LGBTQIA advocates. The coalition includes elders, students, parents, educators, and organizations.

Governor's Racial Equity Taskforce

The Racial Equity Advisory Panel was established in 2018. The Panel works with the Executive Director of Racial Equity to implement reforms, advise the Executive Director to ensure ongoing compliance with the purpose of the legislation, advise the Governor on strategies for remediating systemic racial disparities in statewide systems of government, and report progress to the legislature.