Vermont’s largest city declares racism a health emergency

Homes line a street in Burlington, Vt.
Large, old homes line a street in the South Side neighborhood of Burlington, Vt.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Vermont’s largest city and more than 30 social justice, education and health organizations on Thursday declared systemic racism a public health emergency.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and others released a community declaration saying the problem exists in the city and throughout northwestern Vermont.

Thursday’s community declaration comes in the aftermath of the June 29 decision by the city of Burlington, in partnership with the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance, to join a small but growing number of municipalities that declared racism as a public health emergency due to health disparities between Black people and white people.


Nationwide, Black and Latino people are three times as likely to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and twice as likely to die. In Vermont, Black people account for 1% of the population, but they account for about 10% of the confirmed cases of COVID-19.

“Deep and structural racism has shaped the systems of our nation and community for far too long,” Weinberger said in a statement.