May 23, 2023
When Al Wakefield, Bob Harnish, Barbara Pulling and Bill Cohen set out to encourage the 247 Vermont cities and towns to adopt their Declaration of Inclusion the goal was rooted in economics, class and above all doing what’s right by people.
‘Vermont has started to see people moving here,’ said Wakefield during this episode, ‘but (sic) other young people have been leaving and they’re not coming back.’ This draws on what many of us in economic development already know. People of all ages and backgrounds want to live in a place they can love and that means for many a place that is materially inclusive of all people.
Our episode traces the pandemic-bound effort that began in 2020 and has since led to adoption of the Declaration by 109 communities to date.
Vermont is generally considered a place where so many others who don’t fit in can find a home. But not unlike any other part of the United States we’re still working through the issues caused by a lack of economic opportunity for some, the institutionalized racism and other facts of modern American life that we can all involve ourselves in improving.