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PV Monthly Meeting Notes – October 8th, 2020

Project VISION October Monthly Meeting

Located at Calvary Bible Church and through a Zoom Webinar, October 8, 12pm – 1:30 pm

Approximately 15 attendees in-person and 55 attendees online

 

PegTV recorded a video on Zoom of this meeting and it is available on their on-demand website. You can access the full video by following this link.

 

    1. Welcome by Project VISION Chair- Joe Kraus

      1. PV Chairperson Joe Kraus invited all first-time attendants to share a little information about themselves. Our five welcomed first-time attendants collectively include backgrounds in hospice care, involvement in local planning commissions, organizational psychology, and students training to be social workers at Castleton University.
    2. Chief Kilcullen remarks

      1. Rutland City Police Chief Brian Kilcullen provided an overview of the police department’s upcoming fair and impartial training, planned to occur over the course of four sessions in December. Kilcullen expressed the interest in inviting representatives from the Police Oversight Commission and the Project VISION Community Policing Subcommittee to join and participate in these trainings. 
      2. The RCPD has 5 openings in the department. Although this has significantly increased the workload on current officers, the hiring process will remain just as thorough and uncompromised. The department will not lower its standards only to quickly fill the vacancies.
    3. Community Announcements

      1. Come out and enjoy our PV Neighborhood Walks, organized by the Neighborhood Engagement Subcommittee
      2. The Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum’s annual lip sync fundraiser challenge starts next week. Ten videos will be posted on Wonderfeet’s Facebook page. They are free to watch and enjoy. To vote for the best video, follow the donation instructions on your favorite video.
      3. In honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Bianca Z will write spontaneous poetry for whoever stops by at Main St Park from 11-1 on Monday, October 12. Check it out for yourself or to acquire a fun, creative gift for someone. Reach out to see how it went!
      4. Social Tinkering has developed a Women’s Group, with plans for a Men’s and LGBTQ+ Group soon. Contact Jeanette Langston if you have interest in these small groups developed to encourage meaningful social engagement.
      5. The Project VISION Health Committee will soon have two new co-chairs to join Sarah Roy – Traci Moore and Jamie Bentley of the Rutland Regional Medical Center. 
      6. Construction has started on the 9 units of transitional housing on Woodstock Avenue. They are expected to be completed by December 20. This project is the result of extensive collaboration among nontraditional partners – The Rutland Regional Medical Center, Rutland Housing Authority, and numerous organizations that will support the residents. Learn more at https://www.rrmc.org/about/newsroom/2020/housing-for-health-campaign/
    4. Open discussion for the greater PV group regarding social justice and equality in our community.

      1. Joe Kraus: Last month’s spontaneous discussion and resulting public letter was well received, but not incredibly substantive. What can we do to create meaningful action.
      2. Michael Shank: Our conversations on racial equality and social justice go well, in part because they are well facilitated. This is not always the case in other contexts in our city. What are the opportunities to create facilitator training programs for these types of conversations?
      3. Joe Kraus: In my opinion, it’s more than a facilitator issue. Four things need to align for constructive conversations – parties willing to listen; people who are willing to be influenced by what they listen to; people whose goal is not just to convince others of their rightness; civility. The dynamic of who is sharing the conversation is just as important as the facilitator.
      4. Chief Kilcullen: For the Rutland PD, race is not a basis for PD action. If there are reports and lived experiences that suggest otherwise, then there is a disparity between our view and these reports that needs to be addressed. The PD recognizes UVM Professor Sequino’s report and the department knows that this disparity needs to be addressed. The full 2017 report can be found here https://www.uvm.edu/giee/pdfs/SeguinoBrooks_PoliceRace_2017.pdf, and a recent update with 2019 data can be found here https://www.uvm.edu/uvmnews/news/new-study-despite-years-training-police-departments-vermont-still-exhibit-widespread
        1. A year ago, a tragic incident for the city led to a resource exposition event and open, honest conversations among the PD and community members. A similar venue is needed for conversations on social justice.
        2. For the PD’s future implicit bias training, the hope is to include representatives from the community in the training. This involvement is important to expand an understanding of what the PD does and the basis for the PD’s response.
      5. Cynthia Foriter (in chat): An interesting site for folks to get a better understanding of their own biases – it is an eye opener:  Project Implicit – Implicit Association Tests https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html
      6. Chief Kilcullen: The Rutland PD is involved in the Bias Report Portal developed by the VT Attorney’s General office. It is a place to report bias-involved interactions that don’t rise to the level of a criminal offense, but still need to be addressed.
      7. Jen Sanford and Joe Kraus: small group events are much easier venues to hold difficult conversations among people with differing views
      8. Ellen Green (in chat): Resources for civil discourse – On Being:  https://onbeing.org/civil-conversations-project/. Perhaps Project Vision could publish a list of reading materials and websites for education about racism, white privilege, civil discourse
      9. Elizabeth: We must speak out about what is good in VT. There is an image of VT as an uber white, cranky-to-outsiders place. This will lead to a lack of new growth for our state and city. We have a responsibility to speak up about what is done right in VT. 
      10. Al Wakefield: This group is a great sounding board, but we need smaller groups of people to talk more intimately about what to do and how to go about it. We need to attain an environment and culture where people can speak openly about topics of ethnicity and race. How do we come to something specific in this meeting?
      11. Chris Ettori: A coalition like PV needs to directly engage public disputes. PV can be the host of small, intensive, and well-facilitated group conversations where all walks of life are represented and participate in the conversation.
      12. Pat Hunter: We have to ensure that we don’t gloss over these discussions of race. If we hold these conversations, we have to have a developed plan of how to do it well – how to address issues, create outcomes, lead to something constructive and beneficial. 
      13. Joe Kraus: For those interested in pushing this conversation along in an expedited fashion, there can be a smaller, more intensive group among us that genuinely holds a conversation and then reports back to all of us at the big group meeting. Let Matt Prouty know if you have a true, committed interest in this. This group can truly get into how to quickly advance this conversation into action.
        1. On a different note, Joe has had the great fortune of serving as the PV Chairperson since its inception 8 years ago. Now is the time to step aside and let new leadership move Project VISION forward. December will be Joe’s last monthly meeting as the chairperson. Matt and Sarah are involved in strategically identifying good replacements. 
    5. Uplifting or positive story

      1. Ronald Pulcer: Real, substantive change comes from the community and personal level when we decide enough is enough.

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