Vermont School Let A 'Black Lives Matter' Flag Fly, And Maple-Loving Bigots Lost Their Shit

Vermont School Let A 'Black Lives Matter' Flag Fly, And Maple-Loving Bigots Lost Their Shit

And it will stay there for the entirely of Black History Month.
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So, in this sea of racism, bigotry and misunderstanding, a group of white people actually did something in support of Black students, and Black lives, and Vermont's state legislator is BIG mad about it.

Montpelier High School did something very unexpected. They decided to fly the Black Lives Matter flag.

I'm not going to sit here and say that this is a wonderful "leap" into racial nirvana, but I shocked this happened, especially in a school where only 18 of the 350 students are Black.

The Montpelier school board unanimously decided to allow the school to fly the flag for the entire month of February in honor of Black History Month. I know what you're thinking, "UNANIMOUSLY?" Yes!, and no, the entire school board isn't Black, either. Superintendent Brian Ricca told the local station that their decision to raise the flag was actually in par with their larger campaign to promote social justice causes.

"This is integral to other meaningful and purposeful work around equity that is happening in Montpelier Public Schools," Ricca said. "This is not a singular event."

And in fact, school officials say that they have received mostly support from the local community for their decision. The state of Vermont is on the forefront of racial equality, I am told. Whatever that means. Maybe it's because the homie, Bernie Sanders, is from Vermont? The majority of the backlash is actually only coming from Republican state legislator Thomas Terenzini. Though there were no protesters at the event, several police officers were sent to the school because of threats coming from outside of the state. In late-January, the local NBC station ran an article about the schools plans to fly the flag.

Now, how did this come about, you ask?

In mid-January, members of the schools Racial Justice Alliance met with the school board to discuss their idea of flying the "controversial" flag.

"I feel like raising this flag will show that we are here and we're here to be heard and we want to be represented in our education," senior and co-founder of the Racial Justice Alliance Joelyn Mensah said.

"I think it's very fair to say that we are pretty much robbed of our education," she said. "As a black student, there have been many times where I have had to leave class because of some racist comments."

The schools Superintendent is of course standing up for the boards decision and the student organization's wishes.

"We are proud to do this because it honors the reality that the experience of our ... black students is not the same as the experience of our white students," Ricca said. "And our goal has been to have a substantive conversation about this, not only in our building but in our community."

Now, the one person who didn't agree with the schools decision? State legislator Thomas Terenzini. He told WPTZ that he felt the school was setting a "bad example." Ahhhh! There's the racist wrench in what would have been an otherwise relatively nice story. He then went on to say that he doesn't consider himself a "bigot' or "prejudiced," but he also doesn't consider Black Lives Matter being an organization to look up to. Sounds about white, I mean, right.

And the bigots I previously mentioned? This article first gained national attention on the Fox News website. Need I say more?



Well, I think this is a nice gesture by the school board, but what I want to know are the school boards plans to lessen the education gap. Raising a flag is one thing, the easy thing. But how are they going to remedy the fact that schools in Black and brown communities receive less funding for decent teachers, sports and clubs, use old and out of date educational materials, and force the children to learn in deteriorating spaces?

How are they going to support those Black students when they are faced with instances of overt racism?

Step one is recognizing the issues of prejudice and inequality. Step two is actually doing something about it and thats where people seem to get stuck.


"People choose their flags because they want to represented and they want to be seen," Mensah told WPTZ. "We students do not feel like we are represented or seen in our education and we are here to raise the flag because we want to be seen and we will demand to be represented in our education." - Joelyn Mensah
Cover Image Credit: WFMZ

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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6 Reasons Why Title IX Isn't Protecting Students

The pathway set out for students seeking help with sexual assault is flawed.

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The protections against sexual assault college campuses need to provide must be easily accessible to everyone. That's because sexual assault on college campuses is a common problem. A problem that often goes unreported. Why is this a problem that is not being reported? Reasons vary from person to person; from being embarrassed to be called a liar to being terrified of any form of retaliation. We need to speak out against the injustices we face. Predators need to punished for their actions. Now, how can we help protect victims and exile predators in the "open-field" of college campuses?

In 1972 the Federal Civil Rights Law, Title IX, was passed. This law was established to prohibit sex discrimination at educational institutions; including sexual harassment and sexual violence. For many college campuses, this is the one and only option victims are geared towards. Though some argue we need title nine now more than ever, many disagree. Why? Well, Title IX has extensively dropped the percentage of successfully prosecuted cases from the time they started to the present day. It has become ineffective. Title IX is a critique of a system that protects sexual predators and hurts victims.

When talking to my friend, Mallory Clark, who has experienced going through Title IX, she described her situation like this: "I didn't report it to the police because everything was in his favor. I didn't have any support from Title IX."

Here and 6 reasons why Title IX is doing more harm than good in the status quo.

1. Title IX protects predators

Title IX can only successfully prosecute 9% of cases compared to 60% when they started. Why? That's because Title IX is informing predators on how to avoid "getting caught" or "getting in trouble". In a more detailed illustration; Title IX is educating predators on how to rape or sexually assault individuals. Predators are now modifying their tactics on their abusive actions in order not to fall under the laws Title IX has laid out. It's almost like telling predators "if you cut a sandwich down the middle, you'll be in trouble, but if you do it diagonally, you'll be good."

2. Emotional destruction is belittled

Unless an assault is categorized as "the worst accident in the world," Title IX won't actually do much about it. When a victim is called to give their testimony to Title IX officials, questions like "Did they force themselves on you?" "Did you say no?" "Were you drinking?" "What do you think caused this?" are asked in an interrogating-like style. Because of how Title IX makes it seem as if the only way you're a "true victim" is having been raped, victims feel as if maybe there really isn't any reason for them to be there testifying, much less any reason to feel broken.

An example of this is the way Title IX defines consent. They truly cannot frame or do anything about sexual assault/consent violations that are not clearly defined. Actions, like spreading naked pictures or stealing, are things Title IX still struggle to keep up with. For these reasons, many predators are clear off the radar because to Title IX, they didn't actually "do anything" physical to the victim, i.e. rape.

Something to consider: the physical and mental destruction a victim goes through on the daily having to see their abuser walk around freely, smiling, laughing, living. While the victim feels empty, disgusted and ashamed.

3. Their system takes forever

Title IX does not take immediate action. At least not in most cases. If they do it most likely because the student body was extremely involved in pushing actions to be taken not because Title IX was in a hurry. Title IX will tell us the process is inherently long. However, for as much red tape and bureaucracy they cite as reasons their investigations take so long, they sure do have a shocking amount of oversight. In a recent Title IX investigation at Boise State University, the investigation went four months over their deadline and the predator was able to graduate without them knowing about it. They claimed their hands were tied until the victim and their support system showed up with lawyers.

4. Title IX does not listen

Title IX has a lack of oversight. Title IX has been found to miss deadlines in approximately 54 college campus cases. This shows how little they pay attention to victims. Aside from not prioritizing their cases, Title IX has been giving victims bad advice. An example of this dates back to an incident at Baylor University where Title IX told the victim there was "nothing they could do about her situation" when there was. They simply did not want to deal with it.

The only agency able to regulate their behaviors is the office of ethics—which doesn't have enough funding money and only takes major cases into consideration. They can botch investigation after investigation without any consequences or ways to report or change their behavior

5. Gives institutional legitimacy to predators

Title IX makes it extremely difficult for survivors to find other avenues of justice. Hence why it is the one solution provided throughout college campuses on how to report and get help with any form of assault or discrimination. It makes it seems as if their validation and results are always correct. It makes it okay to call a survivor a "liar" if the invention was not successful.

6. The lack of an official Title IX coordinator

Though many college campuses may have an official Title IX coordinator, this is not applicable to everyone. In fact, Boise State University has not had a legitimate Title IX coordinator in four years. The person in charge at the moment isn't necessarily "qualified" for the position, yet they are still doing the job. This structural problem with Title IX is not being filled. This gets pushed off to the Gender Equity Center which is not equipped to handle the load of victims.

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