This week marks the very first public exhibition at the Vermont State House Cafeteria since March 2020 – bringing back for a third show, I Am Vermont Too – on view for the month of February – Black History Month. Coordinators Sha’an Mouliert and Shela Linter have worked on this project with BIPOC Vermonters since 2014. I Am Vermont Too represents self-identified individuals of color living and working in Vermont. This latest show consists of 20 photographs that focus on the intersectionality of our communities of color and their stories regarding microaggressions and racism.
Each subject of a photograph was asked to hold up a piece of paper or white board and write out a microaggression or a racially explicit comment they have experienced while living in Vermont. These expletives might be responses to terms, questions, or statements that were made toward these individuals that undermine who they are as people of color – or perpetuate racial stereotypes.
Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target people based solely upon their race or personal identity.
Coordinator Sha’an Mouliert, of the “I Am Vermont Too” project says the goal is to shine a light on the experiences of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) in the state.
“This is a space to make our humanity visible,” Mouliert said. “We use photos to depict their face holding a whiteboard with anything from a microaggression to something else they want to share about themselves.”
Only 5% of the people of the Green Mountain State are people of color, and many say that they often feel excluded, lonely, or singled out in the communities where they live. This exhibit shares some of these experiences firsthand.
Vermont State Curator David Schutz states that “I Am Vermont Too is a show that reminds me of the need to ensure that the State House is welcoming, and that it belongs to every Vermonter. It’s a powerful statement of inclusivity.”