Brattleboro

I am currently a student at UMASS Amherst. During my time in Vermont I have worked in many fields. I have worked with and volunteered for many local non profits and served on various boards. I have waitressed, Bartended, managed restaurants and worked as a Dental Assistant and practice manager for many years before finally deciding to pursue my degree in African American History.

Sex/Gender: Female

Race/Ethnicity: I am multi racial and identify as African American

Other Identities/Affiliations: No

Were you born in Vermont? If not, when did you become a Vermonter?
I was born in California and raised in Washington D.C. I moved to Vermont from Los Angeles in 2000 with my now ex-husband to be closer to his family and escape the city.

What attracted you to Vermont? What attracted you to your current town?
Bernie Sanders and civil unions made Vermont seem like a progressive utopia. Initially we considered Burlington but after numerous visits Brattleboro was a better fit for our family. I liked the urban small town vibe it exudes, many of the people that settle here are from larger cities giving it a younger more progressive feel.

Have you found community here in Vermont?
I have. It has taken work but people here (especially people of color) are invested in their communities and feel ta desire to connect. The population of color has grown considerably since I moved here and I finally feel a sense of community.

How have Vermonters welcomed you?
Vermonters are very welcoming. I cannot say that I do or ever will feel like a Vermonter but this is home for me.

How well are the cultures with which you identify visibly represented in your community, your region, or in Vermont as a whole?
When I first moved to Vermont in 2000 I saw few other people of color in my community, the population has grown since then and while this is heartening we still have a ways to go.

What do you like best about living in Vermont, and in your specific region?
The clean air, I love being surrounded by mountains and trees! I love the proximity to New York City, Boston, and Montreal.

What challenges do you face living in Vermont?
During the time I’ve lived in Vermont this country has undergone many racially charged events, leading to an awakening among African Americans and a cultural need for closeness and change. I have found it extremely difficult to be away from my family and friends. There were many days that I just couldn't handle being in all white spaces while I attempted to grieve for yet another Black person killed at the hands of the police. Since I’ve forged a community, I no longer feel like I have to face these things alone.

How has your quality of life improved while living in Vermont?
I gave birth to my daughter in 2011. I get to watch her claim my adopted state as her own.

What advice would you give to people who share your identities who are considering becoming Vermonters?
Seek out other people of color, find your community. We are here and many of us are actively working to build communities and forge connections. Speaking for myself I get so happy when I see other brown faces. I am always eager to share stories, organize play dates or just talk.

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