Newport Black Lives Matter rally elevates minority voices

Published: Jul. 18, 2020 at 11:52 PM EDT
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NEWPORT, Vt. (WCAX) - Dozens gathered in Newport on Saturday, for a Black Lives Matter rally to celebrate black lives, and call for racial justice in the Northeast Kingdom.

“I will not stop being as loud as I can until there is justice for every person of color on this soil,” said Cierra Manassa-Curnin.

One by one, black Vermonters, and Vermonters of color shared personal stories of racism while living here.

“We’re trying to create platforms to amplify black artists and just black voices in general, so that they’re able to give whatever music or content they have to a wider audience,” said Mohamed Abdi of Burlington.

Speakers talked about microaggressions they have experienced, and racial slurs that have been called. Ashley and Jess Laporte, two biracial sisters from Newport, say they’ve dealt with racism inside, and outside of their home.

“The sideways looks at my hair. The questions ‘Do you really want to stay out in the sun? You might get too dark?' The attributions of my accomplishments to the white people who has given me an opportunity out of charity, not at all recognizing that these opportunities were readily available to my white classmates and colleagues, but for black people, they are kept away systemically,” said Ashley Laporte.

The two sisters encouraged the crowd to be more proactive in dismantling systemic racism in the workplace, at home and in schools.

“I really just want to call people to go from being a cheerleader into truly being a dismantler of this system of oppression that is holding black people back,” said Jess Laporte.

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