Voices from the Front: Structural Racism & Policing

Join the NAACP of Rutland Area & Windham County and the ACLU of Vermont on Thursday, February 9 at 6pm for a panel discussion with five family members whose loved ones were lost to police violence who are a part of the Love Not Blood Campaign. This event will be held in the Pavilion Auditorium at 109 State Street in Montpelier, VT and will be livestreamed via Zoom.

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Vermont’s criminal legal system has some of the worst racial disparities in the country, with rampant overpolicing of our communities and especially of community members of color. As our state considers ways to enhance police accountability and reimagine the role that police play in our towns and cities, it is imperative that we center the voices of those who have been impacted by unjust policing practices and prioritize correcting racial injustices in Vermont.

This panel discussion will be moderated by Mia Schultz, the President of the Rutland Area Branch of the NAACP, and Steffen Gillom, President of the NAACP of Windham County Branch of the NAACP. Our panelists are affiliated with the Love Not Blood Campaign, which seeks to support and embrace every family impacted by violence and build a political movement to eliminate police violence, community violence, and institutional racism.

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Panelist Information

Cephus "Uncle Bobby" Johnson

Cephus "Uncle Bobby" Johnson

Cephus “Uncle Bobby X” Johnson, attended San Francisco State University as a undergraduate studying Ethic Studies and Black Studies. He is presently a Computer System Engineer in Silicon Valley, California. Cephus is a US military veteran.

Uncle Bobby X, is a social justice activist at the forefront of ending police violence in America. After his nephew, Oscar Grant was murdered by a Bart police officer in 2009, Cephus has founded four grassroots social justice organizations. Presently, Co-Founder and CEO of Love Not Blood Campaign, the Oscar Grant Foundation, California Families United 4 Justice, and the National Families United 4 Justice Network- a growing nationwide collective of 600 families impacted by police violence.

Cephus has received many prestigious awards for his social justice police accountability work. In 2019, Cephus received The Black Panther Party Community Award; Oakland City Council Commendation Award;  Oakland City Council Resolution for innovation Social Justice Award; Frontline Warriors Keepers Award; In 2018, The Dick Gregory Award; In 2017, Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) Award, In 2016, The Fannie Lou Hamer Award; In 2015, The Hero of Forgiveness Award; In 2015, The Henry Moskowitz Award; and The Kwame Ture Black Star of Labor Award; In 2014, The Black Organizing Project Award; and, The Martin Luther King Jr Gene Young Award,  and many others.

He has served as a leading expert on the creation of the National Impacted Families Movement of Police Accountability work. Cephus has appeared on Katie Couric’s “Race in America,” MSNBC’s “Caught on Tape”; and many others. He presents workshops on Know your Rights; Mobile Justice, and Family Response Teams.

Cephus has presented on these topics, and others, at The Left Forum conference, US Human Rights Conference, The Netroots Nation Conference, The ACLU Conference, The Free Mind Free People Conference, The National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE), The Congressional Black Caucus Conference, Teachers for Social Justice Conference, and The National Black Bar Association Conference. He has also spoken at universities, high schools, and community events, and served as the West Coast Organizer of the United Nation Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent visiting the United States at Merritt College, Oakland 2016.

Known as the “People’s Uncle,” Cephus is a much-beloved presence and invaluable resource for families suffering from police violence around the globe. Currently the Love Not Blood Campaign, through its Families United For4 Justice Campaign, has a network membership of over 600 impacted families nationally. He considers ending police violence and supporting families who have been impacted by police his life’s work.

Michael Brown, Sr. & Calvina "Cal" Brown

Michael Brown Sr. and superimposed image of Michael Brown Jr.

In Ferguson, MO on August 9, 2014 unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, Jr. was shot and killed by white police officer Darren Wilson. Michael had just graduated from high school and was scheduled to begin vocational training classes just two days later. After his graduation, he told his father Michael Brown, Sr. “One day, the world is gonna’ know my name. I’ll probably have to go away for a while, but I’m coming back to save my city.” Unfortunately, those words have come true for the Brown family, and Mike Brown, Sr is bringing his story and his foundation, Chosen for Change, to Colleges and Universities across the Nation. “The name ‘Mike Brown’ has become the national symbol of police shootings of unarmed Black men. For me, I feel obligated to keep stressing the deeper meaning of his words. Because of my son’s death and the justice, we’re still seeking, hurting people, grieving people who’ve lost their children to gun violence or police brutality reach out to me. They invite me to speak at gatherings. There is a small level of comfort in being in the company of the wounded, the lost, the other parents who understand that we can’t possibly ‘move on,’” – Mike Brown, Sr. Michael Brown, Sr. decided to turn the pain and challenges of losing his son into an opportunity of change. Thus, “Chosen for Change Foundation” was born in loving memory of Michael Brown, Jr. It’s an organization whose purpose is to empower youth by helping them realize their potential for greatness.

Andrew Joseph

Andrew Joseph

Andrew Joseph, Jr. a native of New Orleans, Louisiana and current resident of Tampa, FL after Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Joseph is a current victim advocate and co-founder of The Andrew Joseph Foundation.org. He is the father of a deceased 14 year old child named Andrew Joseph, III. His work in community organizing, advocacy and empowerment began with adjudicated youths within the school system and juvenile justice system 21 years ago.

Andrew Joseph, Jr. graduated with a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Grambling State University, Grambling, Louisiana.

After receiving his education, he interned with legal groups at varied law firms and judicial arenas supporting the rights of youth and families in rural Louisiana to navigate the system towards freedom and equality. In his efforts he was inspired with the vision, strength and character to make the difference in the lives of children and many of his client’s families. His efforts would be best highlighted in his working as a lead assistant principal within alternative learning environments for children who had been adjudicated and removed from traditional learning environments in the toughest urban neighborhoods where the odd were often stacked against its residents. His training in administrative codes and curriculum development with a focus on proper codes of ethics used within safe and conducive learning environments earned him accolades among educators and juvenile justice departments across the Southern Louisiana region.

In February, 2014, the unimaginable had occurred in the life of a father who had worked to save so many youth in the community, his very own child of 14 years old was negated by the very system that he interfaced with daily. Since this time the quest for accountability and amplification of civil and human rights for youth and children have been in the forefront of his increased advocacy in helping young people around the world live, grow and be nurtured within communities that love and support them. Mr. Joseph has traveled across the world speaking out against the systems of corruption and the overturn of such a system that destroys and annihilates protection and service to people of color. Mr. Joseph is powerful in his passion to serve as a change agent and has continued to work within his community as a youth coach, mentor and speaker to human rights.

For more information please contact us via: www.andrewjosephfoundation.com

Beatrice X Johnson

Beatrice X Johnson, aka Auntie Bee, is Co-Founder Of Love Not Blood Campaign, Families United For4 Justice Network, and Sankofa Humanitarian Protect, in honor of her unsheltered sister, Dorothy Jean Chambers, who was killed in Phoenix, Arizona on April 26, 2022, and has been fighting Phoenix Police for the last nine months to hold the driver accountable. She has been involved with activism since the early age of 10. Auntie Bee's first police terrorism activism case was at the age of 21 years old. Auntie Bee was part of the activism and protesting behind Sagon Penn, twice acquitted in the shooting of two San Diego police officers in a racially charged case that sharply exposed the divide between the police and the Black community. Auntie Bee is a community organizer, activist, and an extremely caring mother, grandmother, and Great grandmother that bring love and emotional support to mothers and family members impacted by police violence. Auntie Bee embodies completely and dynamically each day, a beautiful spirit and a clear understanding, of her vision of the revolutionary path of Love by the spirit of African culture. If we all walk in her spirit, we are sure to reach our objective as an organization that was founded to work with families that have suffered the traumatic experience of police violence, whether by police officers, security officers, or community violence. Auntie Bee works to bring about an atmosphere of social justice and family relationship throughout the United States.

Deanna Joseph

Deanna Joseph of Tampa, FL is a mother, social worker, and advocate acting on behalf of the rights of children, families, and those with developmental disabilities. Mrs. Joseph a native of New Orleans, Louisiana prior to Hurricane Katrina earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Grambling State University and a Master’s Degree from the Southern University of New Orleans and has engaged in practice within private, state, and clinical settings. The acclamation of this experience has exceeded more than 20 years of service to the community and family system desiring her expertise. Mrs. Joseph in her work and cross-country travels has acquired the knowledge and foresight to engage and foster advanced conversations about a vast array of issues relevant to the Black diaspora and the resolve towards justice and accountability in the death of her son 14-year-old son Andrew Joseph, III failed by a multifaceted distorted system and the cohorts of many black families who are recovering from the mistreatment of their children by the criminal justice system and the school districts around the world.  Mrs. Joseph’s life work and dedication have been to increase the visibility of functional family life and the parenting of healthy children in this world of constant complexity.