I have a multiracial great-great-niece. She’s brown. She’s adorable. She’s precious. She’s important. She and I share genes but not the same skin color. That will make her future more difficult than my past has been. As hard as it is to believe my nephew is a grandfather, it’s harder to hear him say how worried he is that when Zari grows into a teen, her white family will have to explain to her how very different the world will treat her based on her skin color. When she was about 6, she came home from school and told her white mom she wished she was more white. Heartbreaking, right? When I was a few years older than Zari, I would tan so to match her skin color, lying around in the sun all day with baby oil smeared on me. It’s just skin color! And, yet, here we are, having this conversation.

I participated in the #blacklivesmatter protest on Saturday. It was energizing to see so many white people feeling as passionate as I am. One of my favorite signs read “I don’t understand but I will stand with you.” I hope everyone who was there knows we need to do more than protest to show our support. To be true allies we need to do more. Vermont is basically white. We have people of color and we need to do work here to help them be truly equal. But I feel to fight back on a larger scale we need to also see change in other states. States that don’t have the same concern for black and brown people. States that target people of color and remove them from their voting lists. States like NC that is so horribly gerrymandered as to sway state elections toward one party over the other. What happens in other states affects Vermonters as we saw in 2016. We need voter turnout in every state if we really want people of color to have a voice.

Stacey Abrams says it so well and I hope you listen deeply: "To say that the answer is to go cast a ballot feels not just inadequate but also disrespectful. ‘Go vote’ sounds like a slogan, not a solution. Because millions of us have voted. And too many still die. The moment requires many things of each one of us. What I am focused on is the work of showing people, in concrete ways, what voting gets us and being honest about how much work voting requires. Voting will not save us from harm, but silence will surely damn us all.”

Ready to be part of the solution? Join Indivisible Mad River Valley. We’ve been working in other states to help elect candidates that believe everyone is equal, regardless of skin color. Join a slew of Valley folks and pick up the phone to pick up a pack of postcards and write a note to our out-of-state neighbors and tell them they’ve been taken off the voter file in their state. Give them the information they need to reregister. Tell them their vote matters as much as they do. We have other opportunities as well. We will train you to text or phone bank. You decide what and how much you want to do.

2020 is a critical election year. We need more than Vermont voters to make positive change on a national scale. IndivisibleMRV.org asks you to turn your angst into action. Many of us have more time given COVID-19 – can you spend an hour or two a week to do something along with your protesting? Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Jeb Bouchard lives in Moretown, Vermont.