Speak Out for Kiah Morris & Work to End Racism

  • Jan 21, 2019
  • ruthhardy

Today we honor the legacy of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., but what does that mean if we haven’t been working to end racism every other day of the year?

Many of you know that our alumna, former Representative Kiah Morris, resigned from her seat in the Vermont House because of the ongoing racial harrassment of her and her family. Kiah was the only African-American woman in our state legislature. The harrassment continues, as recently as last week at a press conference about her case. And Kiah still speaks out and challenges all of us to “do so much more than we thought we were capabable of doing to achieve what has not been done, but should have been done ages ago.”

I urge you to listen to the speech Kiah delivered at the Vermont Women’s March on Saturday, in which she says, “the label of the second whitest state in the Union has become a crutch to keep us from doing the real work of meaningful revolutionary inclusion. This is lazy leadership of the most tepid form. It is time to do the work. It is time to commit to changing this world for good.”

Kiah was one of the first two Emerge Vermont alumnae elected to office after the graduation of our first class. She and Becca Balint were elected to the Vermont General Assembly in 2014. In 2019, 14 alumnae serve in the Vermont General Assembly and Becca is the Senate Majority Leader. We have made progress, but that progress is incredibly incomplete because Kiah is not among us.

As Kiah says, “The leadership we need resides within us all.” What are you going to do to exercise that leadership? What are you going to do to end racism in Vermont? What are you going to do to ensure that your work is inclusive and “in service to the values, morals, and ethics of our society”?

Let’s all work to support Kiah and ensure women of color have seats at Vermont’s table.

In solidarity,

Ruth Hardy
Executive Director and Vermont State Senator
P.S. If you’d like to support Kiah personally, you can make a financial contribution to the GoFundMe account set up to help her family during this difficult time. In addition to the racial harrassment, Kiah’s husband is recovering from major surgery and she has not been able to work full-time.