Vermont League of Cities and Towns
Equity Committee Meeting
March 21, 2022
Via Zoom and in VLCT Offices
Members Present: (attended remotely) Co-Chair Elaine Wang, VLCT Board member Co-Chair Lucrecia Wonsor, Brian Carroll, Joy Dubin Grossman, Ellen Kaye, Sasha Thayer, Al Voegele, and Deborah Wright.
Others Present: VLCT staff (attended remotely unless otherwise noted) Executive Director Ted Brady, Abby Friedman, Karen Horn, Jessica Hill, Linda Mahns, and Equity Consultants Nikki Fuller and Wanda Heading-Grant.
Agenda Item #1: Call to order by the Chair. Lucrecia Wonsor called the meeting to order at 1:03 p.m.
Agenda Item #2: Additions and deletions to the Agenda. Lucrecia Wonsor asked if there were any changes needed to be made to the Agenda. With no discussion, Elaine Wang made a motion to approve the agenda as is. Joy Dubin Grossman seconded. Approved unanimously.
Agenda Item #3: Approval of the February 22, 2022 Minutes. Lucrecia Wonsor asked if there were any changes needed for the 2/22/22 draft minutes. With no changes needed, Joy Dubin Grossman made a motion to approve February’s minutes. Elaine Wang seconded. Minutes were approved unanimously.
Agenda Item #4: Member Updates. Members went around the room offering updates on their own municipality’s Equity Committees endeavors. Glover Town has made signage which has been placed around at local businesses. Hinesburg has their first Equity Committee meeting scheduled. The Northwest Regional Planning Commission has embarked on a year long Equity training program. Barre City has an open meeting scheduled for this evening with some members of this committee that have offered to attend.
Agenda Item #5 Update from the Executive Director. Ted Brady provided an update on the Equity Matters contract including an All Staff meeting that is scheduled for next week with consultants Nikki Fuller and Wanda Heading-Grant. Nikki has sent out 2 surveys recently. The Vermont Community Foundation (VCF) received an anonymous pledge of $300k – 200k has been designated for grants specifically for those municipalities that are seeking to form Equity Committees. The IDEAL program has an initiative to target already formed/established Equity Committees to provide additional services for them to take part in. With regards to recruitment efforts, as of this meeting, no nominations or letters of interest have yet come forward for this committee. Elaine Wang and Ted Brady asked the committee members to consider personal invitations as they tend to help get the word out.
Agenda Item #6: VLCT Equity Toolkit. Lucrecia Wonsor asked committee members to provide feedback on items in the toolkit asking for approvals of documents from the packet. Elaine Wang asked for a slight change to the Framework document. Where it says “We aim to achieve promoting justice,…” to read “Our aim is for justice, diversity, equity,…” Elaine Wang made a motion to approve this document with that small change made to it. Joy Dubin Grossman seconded. Approved unanimously.
The definitions document received some updates including a data change at the top of the page. A request was made to delete “Ensuring” from the Equity definition. A request was made to include a sentence under the definition of Racial Justice to encompass the acknowledgement of past harms.
Action Item: Committee members are asked meet in 2 weeks to go over this definition to include that additional verbiage to the Racial Equity term building off if “We acknowledge and address past racial justice harms and the work done is to help prevent current and future harm.” A possible definition of Repair or Restoration might be more relevant for the needs of this document.
The Declaration of Inclusion (DOI) Statement had some discussion. Al Voegele made a motion to recommend including the entire DOI document in the VLCT Toolkit. Ellen Kaye seconded. There were 2 Ayes (Al Voegele, Lucrecia Wonsor), 2 Nays (Elaine Wang and Ellen Kaye) and 1 abstention (Sasha Thayer.) The motion failed. Elaine Wang made a motion to approve the statement only (page 5) as a sample, and to include other samples in the toolkit. Ellen Kaye seconded. Approved unanimously. The consensus was to have this as a Resource and to point to this as one of possibly three samples for municipalities to use.
Action Items: A sub-group of Committee members are asked to identify other sample inclusion statements to include in the toolkit or to write their own.
Lucrecia Wonsor will reach out to the authors of the DOI to discuss the committee’s actions and whether any portion of the promotional material that the committee has concerns about could be changed.
Ted Brady asked for a motion to approve the Onboarding Document as a part of the Equity Toolkit. Elaine Wang asked to add a definition of colorism and racism in the appendix. Elaine Wang made a motion to adopt this as a living document. Al Voegele seconded. Approved unanimously.
Agenda Item #7: Action Plan. Tabled. Committee members and Nikki Fuller discussed a special meeting to wrap up the Action Plan before the consultant’s contract ends. That meeting was tentatively scheduled for April 4th at 1 p.m.
Agenda Item #8: Other Business.
The committee will meet next on Monday, April 4th at 1 p.m. for a special meeting. The next regularly scheduled meeting is April 18, 2022, from 1-2:30 p.m.
Agenda Item #9: Adjourn. The meeting adjourned at 2:30 p.m. without objection.
Executive Administrative Assistant