MONTPELIER -- Activists representing migrant workers employed on Vermont's dairy farms said they were planning to meet with Gov. Peter Shumlin on Friday to urge him to "stand up for the rights of all Vermont's communties."
The group, the Vermont Migrant Farmworker Solidarity Project, also released a video that attempts to demonstrate that a recent clash between the Vermont State Police and activists was not an isolated incident. The group's efforts Friday come the same week that a state police advisory committee cleared the state trooper of any wrongdoing during the Sept. 13 traffic stop. Here's the committee's report:
Here's the link to the new video from the VTMFSP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSrQsiG2VGw
Here's the letter to Shumlin:
Honorable Peter Shumlin, Governor
State of Vermont109 State Street,
PavilionMontpelier, VT 05609
October 14, 2011
Dear Governor Shumlin,
We are grateful and honored for the opportunity to meet with you in person today. The timing and significance of this first historic visit of Vermont farm workers to meet with you is not lost on us as we watch our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and friends get displaced from schools, have their water cut off, and hide in fear of showing their faces in public in Alabama. While the Governor of Alabama, models an inhumane, unjust and discriminatory reaction to the broken federal immigration system we, here in Vermont, have an opportunity and obligation for a completely different way forward. At key moments in history Vermont has broken with the institutionalized discrimination of the status quo based on the principals of freedom, respect and human rights for all those living and working in our great state.
Will Vermont embrace inclusivity, diversity, inter-dependence and the rights for all or will it build bigger walls between us that foster misunderstanding, exclusion, discrimination, and persecution? We are profoundly disappointed with the State Police's investigation into their biased-policing practices on September 13 that resulted in the detention of Danilo Lopez and Antonio-Meza Sandoval. We are hopeful that you will oversee your own investigation into this and other incidents we share today. At the same time we acknowledge the need for State Troopers to have even more clarity, direction, and guidelines so that we stop biased-policing practices in Vermont and we seek to work with you to that end.
We sit here with you today, with great humility and respect, representing the good folks that work day and night to put the milk and cheese on the table, and ask that you stand up for the rights of all Vermont's communities by:
*Viewing this short video documenting incidents of biased-policing practices in Vermont:
*Strengthening, clarifying and implementing the enclosed recommended changes to the State Police's Bias-Free Policing Policies:
*Reading this letter from leaders of Vermont's communities of color expressing community concerns about the September 13th biased-policing practices: http://vtmfsp.org/sites/default/files/POCletter.pdf
*Direct a letter to President Obama, on behalf of Danilo Lopez and Antonio Meza-Sandoval, requesting that ICE use its powers of 'Prosecutorial Discretion' to stop their deportation and removal proceedings because their civil rights were violated by Vermont's State Police:
· *Reading this petition, signed by 608 Vermonters, asking you to:
1) Pledge to keep Vermont safe by keeping out ICE's “Secure Communities”;
2) Support and promote Bias-Free Policing Policies throughout Vermont
Again, we are deeply grateful for you taking the time to meet with us today and for your support for farm workers, farmers, and Vermont's communities of color.
Justicia Migrante/VT Migrant Farmworker Solidarity Project
Danilo Lopez, Over Lopez, Javier Franco Duran, Eliazar Rodriguez, Bernardino Hernandez, Leonel Alfonzo Moreno, Natalia Fajardo, Brendan O'Neill, Monica Collins, Martha Caswell