Human Rights activists throughout the Champlain Valley spoke out Friday. ‘Black Lives Matter’ signs could be seen outside the Peace and Justice Center in Burlington.
“I think it is important for people to realize what happened within the system of violence and not as an isolated incident,” said Rachel Siegel.
Siegel is the executive director there and is a firm believer that violence perpetuates violence. And while she says she doesn’t condone Thursday’s behavior in Dallas, she explained that everyone has a boiling point.
“It is like a baby in some ways, or a kid but they are going to get louder and louder until they get their needs met and if people are not getting their need met by acting peacefully sometimes they resort to violence because they don’t have the means access any other way of making change,” said Seigel.
Mary Brown-Guillroy is the director of the newly formed NAACP chapter in Vermont. She says this outburst of violence is in direct response to how the country operates.
“It didn’t get the way it is, the United States is the way it is, this is the way we police, this is the way we abuse privilege in our society,” said Brown-Guillroy.
She says she is saddened by the tragedy, but also had an unexpected feeling come over her when she heard the news.
“It also dawned on me and this is a terrible thing to say, but now the police know how we feel, we all feel like we have a target on our back,” said Brown-Guillroy.
Moving forward, Seigel says conversation is a must.
“Talk is important because it shows a depth of understanding and when we gain that understanding,” explained Seigel.
Organizers with the NAACP are hosting a protest and prayer vigil Saturday in Burlington for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.