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We stand together.

A message from our President

People are at the very heart of the Lake Champlain Chamber’s mission, goals, objectives, programs, initiatives and ideas. ALL PEOPLE.
We believe deeply in equal justice, safety, respect and opportunity for all people. We reject racism, bigotry and hatred and will continue to stand for equity and inclusion in everything that we do. All Vermonters, all living souls, have to ask themselves what can each person do to change the crime of being different in this country?
How many more headlines like… “Four Dead in Ohio”; “Why Can’t We All Get Along”; “41 Shots”; Hands Up-Don’t Shoot”; “I Can’t Breathe” and “6 ½ Minutes”… will it take before we accept the fact that people get killed for “living in their American skin”? As the great Sam Cooke sung too many years ago, “it’s been a long time coming but I know a change is gonna come.”
Change begins in the heart, what we teach our kids, demand of our leaders and then public policy. We need to change. Let’s all pray it happens soon.
tom torti signature

Tom Torti

Our promise to you

The Chamber’s ultimate vision is economic opportunity for all Vermonters. This cannot be achieved without radical changes to racialized systems that oppress Black people and hold us back from moving forward as a united people. We are committed to learning and improving throughout the life of this organization. We will always work to do better and be the best ally we can be for our Black community members near and far. We have outlined the ways we promise to put these values into action immediately:

Our Immediate Goals:

  • LISTEN through outreach to Vermont’s Black business owners, both members and non-members, to learn about their experiences and understand their concerns.
  • ELEVATE Black voices by providing a platform for Black business owners to discuss their experiences.
  • IMPROVE and evolve as we learn from Vermont’s Black community.

Our Continuing Commitment:

  • INVEST in internal diversity and inclusion work, including developing an action plan to advance racial equity.
  • COORDINATE education and resources for member businesses about how to ensure their businesses are taking action toward advancing racial equity.
  • PARTNER with local racial equity advocates and organizations to build relationships and stand in solidarity.
We understand that this is only the beginning and there is much more work to do. We are focused on these goals and will remain dedicated to doing our part to alleviate the burden our Black community members bear every single day. We will hold ourselves accountable to this and will keep you all apprised of our progress on these goals in the coming months. We encourage feedback and ideas on how we can do better.
As part of our objective to coordinate education and resources, we would like to share this collection of anti-racism literature, videos, podcasts, films and TV series. The credit for this compilation goes to Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein.   We would also like to share  Resources for Building Anti-Racist Organizations, a compilation of business-oriented resources published by NOBL.  Education is the first step towards change and it is incumbent on all of us to spend time learning about our societal injustices so we can effect meaningful change and strive for an equitable world.