ARLINGTON — A local student, Addie Lentzner of Arlington Memorial High, helped declare the Vermont Student Anti-Racism Network’s priorities for the 2022 legislative session.
Lentzner did so via Zoom at noon Friday, at an event hosted by the organization and the Vermont Youth Lobby.
In this address, students looked back to their calls to action for the state seen in the Climate Congress Declaration and the work of the Vermont Student Anti-Racism Network. They highlighted the actions they called for that haven’t been addressed, and declared their priorities for the 2022 Legislative Session.
“From the perspective of us young people, there are an array of bills that the legislature could and should pass this session related to anti-racism. These include equity in housing, abolition of slavery, removing armed officers from schools, prohibiting discrimination and providing reform for the criminal justice system,” said Lentzner.
“Vermont legislators need to implement the Climate Action Plan, pass the environment justice bill, pass anti-racism standards in education, pass the Bottle Bill and so much more,” said Jenna Hirschman, a student from Essex High School in Chittenden County, representing the Vermont Youth Lobby.
Students emphasized their frustration with lack of action on climate in the state legislature and demanded better leadership from the legislature on this issue.
“Every new year I have high hopes. I have little dreams and prayers that things will go right and that I will see direct and just climate action from legislators and decision makers. That people who are supposed to be dealing with this will start doing their job. I have had high hopes since I was in the third grade and I have seen the momentum build, I have seen the beginning of solutions, but I have seen far from enough to fulfill my hopes. The time has come to pair my hopes with expectations, I’ve decided, because it is no longer acceptable to me that people are allowed to sit in a position of power and make promises to me that they don’t keep,” said Django Grace, a student at Brattleboro Union High School in Windham County.
The state legislature can expect to see and hear a lot more action from these young people throughout the session. The Vermont Youth Lobby is launching a Fridays for Future program. Every Friday, students from across the state do legislative activism work.