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Possibility and Hope in Policy Advocacy

The new year feels ripe with possibility about what is to come. This feels especially true for me this year as I think about our work ahead in the Vermont Legislature. The past two weeks the State House has been awash with new faces and faces I haven’t seen outside of their tiny zoom square for a few years now! The Vermont Network policy team (Kara CaseySarah Robinson, & I) have been in the building doing what we do best- building relationships with legislators and stakeholders to advocate on behalf of all survivors. In between all of the introductions and the hugs with old friends we have also done more than a little learning about the work that is to come.

Jessica standing outside the State House on her first day back in the building!

Jessica standing outside the State House on her first day back in the building!

The legislature has some big tasks ahead of them and members have already jumped into learning about the issues and the questions they will be faced with in the coming session. Last week, we hosted a legislative briefing for over 60 new and returning legislators with our partners at the Vermont Commission on WomenLund, Mercy Connections and Vermont Works for Women) to discuss justice-involved women and legislative conversations regarding replacing Vermont’s sole women’s correctional facility.

In addition to the thoughtful and trauma-informed replacement of the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility, our policy agenda is full of ambitious and bold priorities that support survivors in all aspects of their lives and healing, including:

– Addressing abusive litigation

– Expanding the restorative justice options that are available for survivors

– Addressing sexual violence response and prevention on college campuses in Vermont

– Investing in affordable housing and homelessness systems response

– Sustainable funding for core victim services throughout the state

You can read our full policy agenda here on our website.

I feel so lucky to get to do this work here in Vermont and I am filled with optimism for the progress I know we can make this year if we all work together. If you identify as a survivor and want to get more involved in the grassroots movement for a violence-free Vermont, please reach out to find out more about our Survivors Uplift action group!

Thank you so much for all of your support. We will keep you updated as the session moves forward and let you know of any opportunities to get involved and have your voice heard!

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