Burlington Against Racism

Juneteenth 2021

Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, is an important date in American history. Yet few Americans know about it. This year, the state of Massachusetts has declared Juneteenth an official holiday, and Burlington Public Schools and municipal offices have a day off. On June 17, 2021, Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday.

On June 19, 1865, slavery formally ended in Texas when General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston with Union forces. As news of freedom spread throughout the state, “Juneteenth” celebrations came to commemorate emancipation of African Americans everywhere.

Ahlam Abdirizak and Christian Katende, two Burlington High School students perform a reading of their poem “Juneteenth Poem” in this video to commemorate this date. You can read the text of their poem here.

The observation of the Juneteenth holiday includes celebration, education and agitation. As a community, we can acknowledge Juneteenth in the following ways:

Celebrate – “Juneteenth” is celebrated to show love and support, and provide equity and inclusion for African Americans in the Burlington community. We celebrate African American culture by learning about and experiencing its art, music and food.

Educate – Our mission is to explore and discover the contribution of African Americans in the history of the United States and pave the way for every human being in the Burlington community to make strides in education, health care, economics in jobs and careers, religion, and political legislative support from the local, state, and federal government. We educate ourselves by learning about African American history.

Agitate – Articulate with family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues that each of us cares about how our community treats people with dignity and respect and on occasions when behavior is inappropriate, we find our voice to express our concerns about our thoughts and feelings. We agitate by speaking out and protesting, and reaffirming that Black Lives Matter.

The Burlington Equity Coalition has put together a list of resources to “celebrate, educate and agitate” for Juneteenth, including a list of local events, a list of informational links and a reading list from the Burlington Public Library.

We invite every person to share and celebrate African American history and culture in the United States. Please visit the Juneteenth 2021 Resources page on the Burlington Equity Coalition website. Happy Juneteenth!

Anniversary of George Floyd's Murder

Tuesday May 25, 2020 we celebrated the life and mourned the death of George Floyd, on the first anniversary of his murder. This murder resulted in a racial reckoning in our nation and has awakened public interest in justice and accountability for those meant to protect us.

Mr. Floyd was not the first or last Black person to die at the hands of police. In fact, in the six years prior to his death, nearly 2,000 Black people were killed by police, and the list continues to grow. Prior to May of 2020, efforts had been made to raise awareness about the disproportionate amount of police violence against the Black community and promote police reform. As tragic as Mr. Floyd’s death was, it imbued the movement with an inescapable sense of concreteness and urgency. From protests in major cities across the country and around the globe, to the formation of local groups, the anti-racist movement gained a relentless momentum that resulted in nationwide calls for police reform.

Here in Burlington, the events of the summer of 2020 inspired a visible increase in anti-racist action that continues today. Burlington Against Racism was created in June, 2020, and immediately our members began acting to increase anti-racist awareness in our town.With BAR’s support, the town voted to add a Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in our school system. This led to the formation of the Burlington Equity Coalition in January, 2021, with 13 community group leaders coming together to proactively show equity and inclusivity in their policies and actions. BAR continues to lead the anti-racism and equity work in our town, towards a safer and more welcoming community for all of us.

On the anniversary of such a horrific act of violence, please stand with us as we remember the loss of every member of the Black community who has died at the hands of police, and as we continue the fight for a world where all people are valued equally.

Names of Black People Killed by the Police in the US

2020 Burlington Police Statement

Response to Chauvin Trial

Last week, in a momentous trial on police brutality and white supremacy, a former police officer was found guilty for the murder of George Floyd. This verdict has allowed us to exhale, if only momentarily, and hope that our system is not broken beyond repair. Still, we remain deeply troubled by how rare it is to see a law enforcement officer held to account when a member of the Black community dies at their hands.

This single guilty verdict is not the end of the road but a step forward on a long and arduous path toward equity and equality for all. The journey will only be complete when Black people are able to go for a run, play in the park and drive their children to the supermarket without fearing for their lives if approached by law enforcement. Burlington Against Racism (BAR) is committed to promoting policies that will keep our most vulnerable community members safe, our most overlooked cared for and our leadership accountable to all.

If you would like to join us, we are always seeking interested volunteers to help us push for progress and implement change. Please email us at martha@BurlingtonAgainstRacism.com or nancy@BurlingtonAgainstRacism.com.

Daunte Wright

On Sunday, April 11, Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by police in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, during a traffic stop.

We are saddened and angered at the news of Mr. Wright’s death, the latest in Black deaths at the hands of police. Our hearts go out to Mr. Wright’s family, including his parents, his siblings and his 2-year-old son; the community of Brooklyn Center; and everyone who has been impacted by this senseless act.

This incident reiterates and gives shape to the fear experienced by Black people toward the police, and underlines the dire need for large-scale reform of the policing system in many parts of our country. Implicit bias and overuse of force by police have repeatedly resulted in tragedy and death for Black communities. In addition, qualified immunity protects police officers who abuse their power, often denying victims and their families the justice they deserve.

BAR recognizes the oppression and dehumanization members of the Black community have endured and is committed to fighting against systemic racism and for the integrity and safety of Black lives.

Who We Are

We are a community based organization working on an anti-racist policy change in Massachusetts.

CHECK OUT - Interviews and videos!

Martha Duffield, president of BAR, Sara Shaikh, BHS Student Representative to the School Committee, and Patrick Larkin, Assistant Superintendent talk about being part of the District-Wide Equity Committee and BAR as well as the proposition to hire a district-wide position of Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Martha Duffield, President of BAR, spoke about our initiative to hire a District-Wide position of a Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Check out the following!

Open Letter to the School Committee with support from over 149 people in the town.

Check out - articles in the news!


Watch all meetings here.

September 8, 2020

Video starts with the a Equity report from Sara Shaikh about a recent racist incident that occurred. Next, Martha Simon gives further information regarding the hiring of Director of DEI.

July 21, 2020

Video starts with the Equity report from Sara Shaikh, Student representative to the School Committee. Then. it moves to the MASC's Anti-Racism Resolution. Then, Martha Duffield reads the letter from BAR to the School Committee.

August 18, 2020

Video starts with the official presentation to request a position for Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as presented by Martha Duffield, Patrick Larkin, and Sara Shaikh.

June 23, 2020

Video starts with Sara Shaikh's report to the School Committee on behalf of the BPS Equity Committee.

August 10, 2020

Includes only school reopening plan conversations.