Social and Economic Justice Advisory Committee
The Social and Economic Justice Advisory Committee (SEJAC) was established in 2018 to assist City Council in addressing and reshaping the systems, policies, and practices that perpetuate barriers to racial, social, and economic justice in our community.
An Equity Assessment of Montpelier
The City of Montpelier has a contract signed with Creative Discourse, a consulting group based in Burlington, for a two-year process that culminates in the drafting of an equity plan, which is informed by community dialogue, understanding of best practices, and engagement. We will be starting with the first step of an equity assessment this fall to build the relationships and insights needed to create a strong foundation for future work.
This equity assessment will start with focus groups and interviews with city officials, community organizations, and community leaders, to gather key issues and areas of focus for our community survey and our work. We want to gather insights about the experiences of a diverse group of people who live in Montpelier and the impacts of local government, especially with regards to underrepresented or marginalized community members. An initial summary of this work is expected to be presented in June 2021.
Current Work: UPDATE August 2021
*Click here to read Creative Discourse's Initial Equity Assessment
In August of 2020, Council had approved an RFP proposal from Creative Discourse to conduct a preliminary Equity Assessment for the City of Montpelier. Creative Discourses’ proposal focused on conducting the equity assessment by engaging with community stakeholders to better understand opportunities and challenges in advancing social justice in the City’s municipal organization and the overall community.
Creative Discourse conducted multiple in-person and remote focus groups over the last year, with City officials, formal/informal community leaders, Montpelier residents, and various affinity groups. They also conducted an online equity survey to assess our community’s experiences working and living in Montpelier, and how people feel when interacting with the municipality. They also began to gather insights about the experiences of the diverse groups of people who reside in Montpelier and the impacts of local government, especially with regard to underrepresented or marginalized community members. This work has culminated in a formal initial equity assessment, available to read here.
Creative Discourse also presented this information to City Council on August 18th. Their presentation can be found here.
This presentation is a reflection of the first part of a multiple phased and long-term project. Continued work will require additional funding through the City and City Council to continue, but the Social and Economic Justice Advisory Committee continues to solicit grant funds and donations from foundations and community members to raise funds needed to continue and bolster the work provided by Creative Discourse.
The Montpelier City Council recognizes that historical and ongoing systems and structures in our nation, state, and community perpetuate racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, ableism, and other forms of injustice and oppression. In 2018, the City Council established the Montpelier Social and Economic Justice Advisory Committee to assist them in addressing and reshaping the systems, policies and practices that perpetuate these barriers to social and economic justice in our community.
Specifically, it was charged with:
- Identifying and nurturing potential projects, policies, and opportunities that address systemic oppression and work toward greater equity within our city.
- Engaging a genuinely broad range of city residents in discussing and addressing systemic oppression at the city and community levels in order to move our community increasingly toward equity and justice.
- Partnering with other city, county and statewide groups working toward equity and justice to foster long term, far reaching projects, goals and developments that will ultimately serve to increase equity and justice in Montpelier.
In order to enact the charge, specific activities of the committee include:
- Organizing and facilitating dialogues that engage a broad range of community members in listening to each other’s experiences of inequality and oppression in Montpelier and the broader community.
- Attending City Council (and relevant other city committee) meetings to assist members in recognizing potentially unintended negative impacts of policies and/or the unconscious language of exclusion that can so easily find its way into our written policies and other documents.
- Collaborating with City Councilors and relevant other city committee members to support them in centering the experiences of oppressed groups and individuals as they consider policy and decisions regarding city operations
- Conducting retreats as a committee to continue to increase the capacity of committee members to address and engage in social and economic justice work
- Researching and reporting on specific appropriate projects and policies, as determined by the committee in collaboration with City Council, so as to be able to advise the City Council.
The Social and Economic Justice Advisory Committee meets on the second and foruth Wednesday of each month from 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM via Zoom until further notice. See the events calendar for more details.
Join our mailing list to receive occasional emails from the Social and Economic Justice Advisory Committee with updates on our progress and opportunities to get more involved.
- Shaina Kasper, Chair
- Michael Sherman
- Caitlin Scott Brower
- Rebecca Coleman
- Carol Plante (Staff Rep)
- Cary Brown (City Council)
- (3 vacant seats)
We are currently looking for new members! Click here to submit an application for a seat on the Social and Economic Justice Advisory Committee.