On July 1, 2016, new bias-free policing policies were enacted for all police in Vermont. This followed charges of racial profiling leveled against multiple Vermont police agencies. Capt. Ingrid Jonas of the Vermont State Police is the highest ranking female police officer in the state. She is the Director of Fair and Impartial Policing and Community Affairs at the VSP, a new position. Jonas is blazing a new path in state’s largest police agency. Until 1977, VSP was an all-male institution, and early efforts at integrating the ranks with women and minorities went badly. Jonas speaks about her own journey from domestic violence activist to police officer, the challenge of diversifying the police and confronting bias, her desire to see more LGBT officers, and how to change the traditionally macho culture of the police. (June 22, 2016 broadcast)
Capt. Ingrid Jonas, Director of Fair and Impartial Policing and Community Affairs, Vermont State Police
In the wake of the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, 1,000 people marched in Burlington, Vermont — and in numerous other cities — in solidarity with LGBTQ people. Achieving marriage equality was a milestone, but the struggle for LGBTQ rights continues. As the New York Times reports, “Since the marriage ruling, several Republican-led state legislatures and Republican governors and federal lawmakers have redoubled their fight against legal protections for people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. So far this year, more than 200 anti-L.G.B.T. bills have been introduced in 34 states.” Kim Fountain, executive director of the Pride Center of Vermont, a “comprehensive community center dedicated to advancing community and the health and safety of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Vermonters,” speaks about larger effort to achieve safety, dignity and acceptance of LGBTQ people. (June 15, 2016 broadcast)
1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Vermont’s domestic violence agencies served nearly 9,000 victims of abuse in 2012 and fielded over 12,000 hotline calls. Janice Santiago talks about her work with Women Helping Battered Women, which assists domestic abuse victims in Chittenden County. She speaks about her own experience with domestic abuse and the face of domestic violence in Vermont today.
“His True Self”: A transgender Vermonter’s story
Jesse Ray Thomas is a 20-year old transgender person in St. Albans who was recently profiled in a moving story by Natalie Handy in the St. Albans Messenger, “His True Self.” Jesse speaks about his challenge growing up transgender in Vermont, the emotional struggles and suicidal thoughts that he and other trans youth often have, and his joy at embracing his true identity.