Vermont Sen. Dick Sears (D-Bennington) discusses criminal justice and policing reform in the age of Black Lives Matter protests and police brutality revelations. He also discusses reducing Vermont’s prison population and ending the “warrior mentality” of police. (July 1, 2020 broadcast)
Sen. Dick Sears (D-Bennington), Chair, Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee
In a forceful New York Timesop-ed following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Brandon del Pozo, a former NYPD officer and police chief of Burlington, Vermont, slammed police for having “aligned themselves with the president’s flagrant racism and callous disregard for the nation’s people of color.” He criticizes police reform, writing, “When it comes to reform, America’s police leaders have long been content to kick the can down the road because making real change is so hard.” Del Pozo served as Burlington’s top cop for four years, resigning in December 2019 following a scandal over his use of social media, which he discusses. Since then, he has earned a PhD in philosophy and is now a public health and drug policy researcher affiliated with Brown University. Del Pozo discusses calls to defund police and says that police leadership needs to experience “getting hit with a frying pan.” “Sometimes after you stop seeing stars you get clarity when you get hit with a frying pan. We could stand to have a frying pan effect in American policing.” (June 24, 2020 broadcast)
Brand del Pozo, former chief, Burlington (Vt.) Police Department
According to the ACLU of Vermont, “Every metric we have shows that Black Vermonters face systemic barriers to education, health care, employment, and justice.” Too often, conversations about racism consist of white reporters (like me) asking black people to explain their lives. In Vermont, this reflects the fact that most media outlets have few to no people of color on staff, an outgrowth of a system of white privilege that has provided countless opportunities for whites to advance in the world of journalism, while people of color are left off the airwaves and out of print. Maroni Minter, campaigns director at ACLU of Vermont and my nephew, discusses his own experiences with racism as an African American man in Vermont, and leads a conversation with Vermonters of color in a wide-ranging discussion about race and racism in one of the whitest states in the US. (June 17, 2020 broadcast)
The last few weeks have seen police killings of African American men in Baton Rouge and Minnesota, and the killings of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge. These incidents have shined a harsh new spotlight on the issue of race, policing and reform. Mark Hughes, founder of Justice for All, discusses race and racism in Vermont, and how “to ensure justice for ALL through community organizing, research, education, community policing, legislative reform, and judicial monitoring.” (July 20, 2016 broadcast)
Greg Jobin-Leeds is the author of When We Fight, We Win: 21st Century Social Movements and the Activists That Are Transforming Our World. The book, rich with art curated by the activist art group AgitArte, chronicles the movements for same-sex marriage, Black Lives Matter, the DREAM Act, climate justice, mass incarceration, Occupy Wall Street, and others. Jobin-Leeds is the son of Holocaust survivors. He discusses what he has learned about how to successfully make transformative change in the 21st century.
Jitu Brown is a national leader on civil rights and defending public education. He recently undertook a 34 day hunger strike to protest the closing of Dyett High School on the South Side of Chicago, where he lives. He talks about threats to public education, the Black Lives Matter movement, and his advice to his young African American son