Student, Brattleboro Union High School

Brattleboro, Windham County

Were you born in Vermont? If not, when did you become a Vermonter?

I was born in the small fishing town of Buff Bay, Portland, on the island of Jamaica. I immigrated to the United States from Jamaica in 2005 with my mother, when I was just six years old. Having left all of our extended family in Jamaica, we came directly to Brattleboro.

What attracted you to Vermont? What attracted you to your current town?

Of course, as a small child I didn't have much of a say in where I was to be relocated, but my mother knew exactly what she was doing. I often hear my mother saying how lucky she is that she ended up in Vermont and not any other state.

Have you found community here in Vermont?

I do believe I have found not only a community, but a family here in Vermont. I am very grateful for the endless love and tremendous support that many people have given me throughout my years here. I believe that my community is interested in seeing me succeed and will do whatever they can do help me do so. How have Vermonters welcomed you? Vermonters themselves are at the core of what makes Vermont so special. Vermonters are incredibly kind and compassionate. One thing that has remained true for me over the years is that Vermonters care about the health and well-being of others. It's evident in their numerous programs and organizations designed to help people. It's evident in their fight for GMO foods to be labeled. It's evident that Vermonters care.

How well are the cultures with which you identify visibly represented in your community, your region, or in Vermont as a whole?

Unfortunately, there are not a lot of people in my community, region, or state that identify with the things I do. It doesn't go to say that there aren't any at all - just that there aren't many. I wish this were different but these are the facts of the demographics. I cherish the relationship that I have with the small African community here in Brattleboro.

What do you like best about living in Vermont, and in your specific region?

Clean air is so good for you health and Vermont SO offers that! When I go off to college next year, I'm going to miss Vermont's gorgeous mountains and the seasons! I'm going to miss the beauty in how the snow blankets everything. I'm going to miss looking at the foliage in the fall along with other fall things such as hay rides, corn mazes, and apple picking. Vermont has really strong environmental values and I would have a hard time being in a community that was opposed to that.

What challenges do you face living in Vermont?

While living and learning in an environment that is predominantly Caucasian, it can sometimes be difficult to get others to understand your perspective. After all, my white counterparts have never and will never live the life I lead. I continue to receive microaggressions ("the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership") from my white counterparts and I continue to correct them.

What advice would you give to people who share your identities who are considering becoming Vermonters?

One piece of advice I would offer people who share some of my identities is to focus on all of the positive things Vermont can offer you.

Please add anything additional you would like to say:

Brattleboro is a town that is flourishing with art and music!

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