Prejudice and racism is real in North Country

To the Editor: We all know that the first step to fixing a problem is admitting that there is a problem. One problem we seem to be in denial about is prejudice and racism in our country, state or region. We think it’s a problem someplace else, but not here, not me. It’s this denial that perpetuates the problem, because there is prejudice and racism here in the North Country.

The best way to deal with these problems is to first admit it exists, and secondly to educate ourselves and our children to recognize it and change our behaviors. The diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work done by the Littleton Food Coop’s board and staff is an important step in changing our culture for the good. House Bill 544 would stop the progress we’ve made in its tracks. For the state to restrict the manner in which companies and schools teach DEI is intended to maintain the status quo. In effect sticking their collective heads in the sand and announcing they don’t see a problem.

As the patriarch of a very diverse family I can tell you there is definitely a problem with the way people of color are treated in this country. Just turn on the news and story after story documents yet another example of violence. But most of the bias faced by BIPOC and LGBTQ people in our community are more subtle and insidious. All of these injustices have to be dealt with in a proactive manner, and the state has no business telling educational professionals how to do it. For the sake of my children, grandchildren and friends dealing with prejudice and bias every day, please join me in condemning House Bill 544.