Hi everyone! Izzy here, VMBA’s new DEI Coordinator. I am so excited to be here in Vermont! I couldn’t imagine a better way to kick off my first official week than with VT Inclusion Week!
What is VT Inclusion Week?
In May 2021, Governor Phil Scott proclaimed the first week of May as VT Inclusion Week. The Governor established a “Proclamation of Inclusion, which makes clear the State of Vermont condemns discrimination in all forms, and welcomes all people who want to live, work and visit Vermont.” Since then, several local governments and other organizations have taken on their own forms of a Declaration of Inclusion, organizing several activities throughout the year to promote inclusion throughout the State.
What does it mean to me?
Bringing diversity to every aspect of life is something near and dear to my heart. I grew up in Connecticut in a bi-racial home; my mom is white and my dad is black. My twin brother has quadraplegic cerebral palsy, meaning he lacks “typical” movement of his arms and legs and is in a wheelchair most of the time. This threw me into the world of diversity and inclusion very early. Currently, I work for VMBA as their DEI Coordinator, where I am helping to make the VT mountain bike scene a more inclusive space. One way I do this is by leading rides and providing a safe space for all people with whom I ride, where they feel comfortable to ride at any level and be themselves. I was drawn to Vermont after I attended the Rooted Women’s Clinic last year, where I met so many amazing women and rode such beautiful trails. I wanted more of that. I wanted to be a part of a community that is always pushing to be better, which is what I found to be true of Vermont. I am so excited to be here and see what we can do to grow our mountain bike community together.
What does it mean to our community?
That being said, this week is extra important to me because I want EVERYONE to feel safe, known, heard, and loved. I want people to feel this way especially when they are enjoying the outdoor world. To me, the outdoor spaces are places we can feel the most ourselves. Trails don’t care what we look like, who we love, or how we move our bodies. Therefore, we need to be respectful and encouraging to all people in these – and all – spaces. Let’s remember this week to get outside and not only encourage everyone we see out there, but remember to think of who you might not see out there and question why. To be truly inclusive is to then find and invite those people out with you because this is their space too just as much as it is yours.
Looking forward to seeing you out on the trail!