Vermont Business Magazine On October 25, 2022, the Vermont Declaration of Inclusion initiative achieved the milestone that more than 50% of Vermont residents live in communities that have adopted a declaration of inclusion.
The 73 cities, home to 52% of the population (334,963 Vermonters), are committed to receiving and treating fairly and equitably all members of marginalized communities who visit, live or do business there.
The Declaration of Inclusion Initiative is an ongoing effort to raise awareness of the importance of diversity, equality and equity and the positive impact diversity can have on our economy.
Vermont is struggling to maintain its workforce and its ability to fund essential programs for its citizens. By telling the world that Vermont welcomes all people, the state can draw people of myriad skills and traditions to Vermont to live, work, and raise families in a state that values and encourages the diversity of its people.
A community leader’s affirmative declaration that they want their city to be a welcoming, unbiased place where everyone feels a sense of belonging is a commitment to actively promote justice and equal treatment for all and to commit city leaders to treating all of its residents and company with respect.
The first inclusion statement was passed by the City of Franklin on September 16, 2020. Since its inception, the initiative has been led by three Rutland County volunteers: Bob Harnish, Al Wakefield and Norm Cohen. The goal of the initiative is for each of Vermont’s 246 communities to adopt an inclusion statement.
“This is an important milestone in the quest to become Vermont a more diverse, just and welcoming state. As Vermont’s population continues to decline, we are increasingly motivated to successfully fulfill our mission and help ensure the vitality of Vermont’s communities,” said Harnish of Pittsford.
“The goal of this initiative is for every Vermont community to adopt an inclusion statement that commits to implementing plans, policies, programs, procedures, and relevant training that support and advance the intent and spirit of the statement. We look forward to the progress being made across Vermont in meeting the goals set forth in each containment statement,” said Wakefield of Mendon.
On May 7, 2021, Governor Phil Scott issued an inclusion proclamation designating the second week of May as inclusion week. The “Declaration on Inclusion” initiative aims to have 100 cities and municipalities adopt a declaration on inclusion before Inclusion Week 2023.
About the Declaration of Inclusion
Vermont’s Declaration of Inclusion is a grassroots effort that works with community leaders to reinforce the message that Vermont is a safe and welcoming place for all. More information, resources and a full list of communities that have adopted the declaration are available at vtdeclarationofinclusion.org/
Rutland, VT (October 31, 2022) Vermont Chamber