Victoria “Tori” Jones
What inspires you to do this work?
I grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, where my parents were both public school teachers. I saw firsthand their tireless advocacy on behalf of their students, many of whom were new Americans. As a student, I witnessed my friends and their families navigating their new lives in the face of so many challenges and institutions that are discriminatory to immigrants and people of color. Having lived in Vermont for 17 years now, I want our brave little state to walk the walk on civil rights, criminal legal reform, immigrants’ rights, reproductive rights, and be a champion of equity and justice for all. I’m proud to work at the ACLU where I can live my values everyday and fight for the Vermont where everyone – no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love, can have a safe and just place to call home.
Why is now a good time to support the ACLU of Vermont?
The ACLU of Vermont is like the little engine that could; we think we can, and then we do it! This past year, we fought for (and won!) the best statewide policy in the country, limiting police use of force, and the nation’s first complete ban on police use of facial recognition technology. We helped win protections for Vermont immigrant communities and activists who were targeted by ICE in coordination with state officials. Through our Smart Justice campaign, we helped pass the most sweeping criminal law reforms in a decade as Vermont’s prison population hit a 20-year low, showing that our bold campaign goal – to reduce the size of our state’s prison system by at least half – is well within reach. On top of that, we are leading the way forward to reimagine policing; to invest in people over prisons; to enshrine reproductive freedom in our state constitution; to dismantle systemic racism; and to advance the rights and liberties of all of us.
What’s a mantra you try to live by?
“We are not free until everyone is free.” I have this quote on a message board in my home office. It’s inspired by a quote from the women’s rights and civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer. I feel it is an important reminder to all of us that we are in this fight together, and it takes all of us to create a more perfect union. When we see or hear about injustices in our town or state, we have an obligation to step up – whether that be mobilizing with activists, writing letters to the editor, talking with friends & family, or making a donation to organizations that advocate for causes we care about.
What’s one thing you want people to do right now?
Well, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t encourage you to learn more about our work and how you can get involved. I hope you’ll join us by making a gift today at www.acluvt.org/donate. Thank you!