The Black Lives Matter flag is a powerful symbol, and it has had an enormous impact in Vermont’s school communities. It has given shape to student activism, and to our political divides. It has raised difficult questions: about racism in Vermont, the boundaries of politics and public education, performative activism, white allyship, and our processes for deliberation and policy-making, among others. It has engaged Vermonters in passionate debate, and exposed the shortcomings of our civil discourse.
The Underground Workshop has published six feature stories chronicling the history of the BLM flag in Vermont’s schools. Each article tells a unique story, distinct from the others. Together they demonstrate that the larger history of the flag in Vermont’s schools is complex, varying from town to town. Our six stories represent just a small fraction of our schools’ experiences, and only begin to explore the many challenging issues tied to the flag. As we close our series about the flag we want to open the discussion, to go deeper, with help from Vermont’s students.
We are seeking commentaries, short or long (300-800 words), from any student in Vermont, middle school through college. The details for students are here. There are three specific options: to tell a specific story connected to the BLM flag at your school; to document a dialogue about the issues surrounding the flag; or to make a larger claim, about the story of the flag in schools across Vermont. We will not publish any commentary that is disrespectful, or that we think will cause harm, but our goal is to publish a diverse collection, representing a range of political perspectives. The deadline for submissions is Sunday, November 7.
We will publish these commentaries together, bringing VTDigger’s readers a window into students’ views of the BLM flag in our schools, and showcasing a statewide exchange of ideas. We hope this opportunity will inspire students to share some of the stories from their own schools, to think critically about the challenging questions the BLM flag has raised, and, in this small way, to help us build and sustain healthy civil discourse in Vermont.