The horrific torture and murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, and the nationwide protests that it has sparked, has once again laid bare the brutal impact of systemic racism in our country. I know that many of my constituents are scared, angry, or confused, especially as this violence peaks during an already uncertain and stressful time. The combined impact of nationwide unrest and racist violence, a global pandemic that continues to claim lives, and a growing economic crisis, is overwhelming. I also know that many of my constituents want to help, and are showing up for protests, organizing, and supporting the efforts around the country. Your stress, fear, and desire for change are all real, understandable, and admirable. I feel it too.
Memorial Day is usually is full of parades and family gatherings, and generally marks the unofficial start to summer. While this year feels very different, some things are still basically the same. I participated in the fantastic Vergennes Memorial Day Clang 'n Bang Parade that included good physical distancing, loud revelry, patriotic masks, and Little City pride. Many families, including mine, carefully gathered for a picnic outside with friends (for the first time!). The weekend's weather was gorgeous and today it hit the low 90s.
Yesterday marked two months since the Governor declared a state of emergency and began closing down the state so we could Stay Home & Stay Safe. Thanks to the hard work of thousands of essential workers on the front-lines and the cooperation of Vermonters across the state, we have slowed the spread of the virus enough to begin opening up additional sectors of society. We still have to remain vigilant, as the virus could surge again in Vermont, but it does mean that collectively, we have done an excellent job of keeping each other safe so far.
It's May - can you believe it? It was a gorgeous weekend and I know that many people were out and about, but remember, the Stay Home, Stay Safe order is still in effect. Everyone should be doing their part help prevent an increase in COVID-19 cases. Vermont is doing well, thanks to all of our efforts to wash hands, wear masks, and keep physically distant from one another. Let's keep this going!
I hope this message finds you staying safe and healthy! I hope also you were able to enjoy the beautiful sunshine today. Just as it was important to share information about closing things down safely, it’s also important to share information about opening things up safely. Doing so will take all of us working together collectively.