“No Pride For Some of Us Without Liberation For All of Us”

These words from artist Micah Bazant, originally authored as part of an art piece honoring Marsha P. Johnson, have become a throughline and recurring theme of the past few years at Pride Center of Vermont. Initially brought to our collective consciousness as part of our Black Lives Matter statement, these words ring true now more than ever in the face of the horrific shooting of three Palestinian students on November 25 in Burlington, VT and the ongoing assault on Palestine that contextualizes it.

Law enforcement’s hesitance to label this a hate crime despite the dehumanizing violence and rhetoric which contextualizes this shooting is something our communities are familiar with. Not only has this violence shaken our community, but it also brought the realities of the current violence in Palestine home to Vermont. This is a stark reminder that we are all connected, and that regardless of how far Burlington might feel from Palestine, we must speak up against oppression wherever we see it. As a 2STLGBQ+ organization, we believe deeply in the interconnectedness of all liberation struggles. Our commitment to anti-oppression extends to all corners of the world and to all people being harmed by the myriad manifestations of the violence of colonialism and white supremacy.

In this extended moment of grief and outrage, we implore Vermont’s elected leaders, the U.S. government, and the global community to call for an immediate, permanent ceasefire in Palestine.

We acknowledge that our response is delayed. We chose to prioritize staff process and discussion to collaboratively take actions we all stand behind, including work behind the scenes on actions that increase our support of liberation movements for the long haul. With new leadership now in place, and ongoing staff work focused on anti oppression and equitable decisions and communications, we commit to being more responsive to the emerging needs of our community going forward.

We understand the responsibility that we hold if we wish to contribute to a world where the struggles for 2STLGBQ+ rights and global liberation are intricately woven together. As we know from our own history, silence = death.