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About Us

VTRC LogoWhat is a Truth and Reconciliation Commission?

A Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is an exercise of uplifting and centering unheard truths, acknowledgement of harm to self and community and a pathway towards collective healing.  Revealing the truth, both in historical context and the present, serves as a pathway to prevent future harm and seeks justice for those who have already suffered.  

Around the world, TRCs, or truth and reconciliation commissions, are established in places where tragic things have happened. For example, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was established to investigate and document the history and impacts of the Indian residential school system on Indigenous children and their families. The United States doesn't have a national TRC, but some states, municipalities, and organizations have invested in local projects. Confronting contributions and complicity in perpetuating discriminatory violence against marginalized communities takes courage and political will.  The State of Vermont has established its own TRC to confront the past and connect it to present day realities of specific marginalized communities.   Vermont’s TRC is tasked with addressing discrimination broadly across specific communities to address how state systems have participated in the proliferation of this harm. There are many truths to be told by many people about many laws and policies that existed, exist presently or need to exist.  Vermont’s TRC was created through the Vermont legislative system and signed into law by Governor Phil Scott. 

 

 

MISSION STATEMENT

We exist in a pursuit of community-centered, justice and holistic healing centered on impacted ACT 128 communities, which include per §902 (b)

  • Individuals who identify as Native American or Indigenous; 

  • Individuals with physical, psychiatric, or mental conditions or disability, and the families of individuals with the physical, psychiatric or mental health condition or disability; 

  • Black individuals and other individuals of color;

  • Individuals with French Canadian, French- Indian or other mixed ethnic or racial heritage;

  • Other populations and communities at the discretion of the Commissioners.

We seek collective liberation from violence and discrimination systemically perpetrated by the State of Vermont. We do this by uplifting community voices through storytelling, researching, and community relationships, and make legislative recommendations. 

 

 

WORKING PLEDGE

As we explore complex and challenging topics such as race, disability, oppression, and discrimination, we collectively pledge to approach these discussions with a commitment to extend grace, humility, and empathy with each other. We recognize that we are all on both an individual and collective journey to dismantle oppression and discrimination from our culture and systems. Therefore, we pledge to cultivate dignity and respect even in moments of disagreement and discomfort. We expect and accept non-closure and with that we engage in courageous conversations with curiosity and an open mind. We dedicate ourselves to refrain from judgement, embrace active listening, and use “I” statements to foster open communication. In this space, we understand the “Platinum Rule” where we pledge to abide by each other's unique preferences thereby building better relationships and collaboration. We come into this with good intentions but also recognize that even when we do not intend to do harm there is an impact. We commit to prioritizing Act 128 Communities and acknowledge that there is no such thing as a single-issue struggle, our lives are interconnected. We vow to treat each other, our stories, our dreams and struggles with sacred care. We honor vulnerability. We embrace the spirit of co-creation; we affirm that we are the active agents of change and we are committed to doing the work to create understanding amongst and with each other.

The journey to collective liberation is filled with discomfort and painful truths but the final destination is community where everyone can thrive together. This is a shared space, grounded in the principles of this pledge.