June 13, 2024

Racism drives Vermont NAACP leader from her home

Following months of racially-motivated harassment targeting her and her daughter, the director of the Rutland county chapter of the NAACP in Vermont is leaving her home.

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“I’m just repositioning myself, I’m not leaving,” Tabitha Moore told the Rutland Herald. “I’m going to continue to do the work in Rutland county and across the state. If anything, this just strengthens my resolve and lets me know we’re doing good work.”

According to the Herald, Moore, who started the chapter in Rutland county, said on Friday that she’s already found a buyer for her home, but is unsure where she and her family will relocate.

“It’s been heating up for a while, since June,” Moore said. “A number of nonspecific threats and different incidents have been growing.”

Included in the list of incidents was the vandalism of a wooden pallet that Moore had decorated for Wallingford Day and had on display in her front yard. The wooden pallet declared Black Lives Matter and in August, someone threw white paint on it.

NAACP President Cornell William Brooks Discusses August March From Selma To D.C.
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 15: A logo is seen for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People as NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks speaks during a press conference at the Lincoln Memorial June 15, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Moore said that her teenage daughter was also harassed online. The high schooler convinced the board at Mill River Union High, where she attends, to allow the Black Lives Matter flag to be flown. But an LGBT flag generated backlash from the community, prompting the school board to hold off on allowing any flags to be raised.

“At some point, you can only take so much,” Moore told VT Digger. “My daughter is getting threatened by people. Adults. I’m not OK with that. For a long time, my family has endured the rap that I’ve taken for the choices I’ve made to engage our community in conversation and movement around racism. But when it comes to my children — you know, I’m looking at this, and I’m like, I’m not OK. We are not OK.” 

Overwhelmed by it all, Moore has suspended her campaign for high bailiff, a countrywide seat. She has no intention of leaving Vermont, but campaigning, looking for a new home, and taking care of her loved ones doesn’t allow for it.

She added that Vermont isn’t a predominantly white state by accident. She claims that a eugenics program and fugitive slave laws from generations past have played a part in the racist mindset of many of the community members.

A native of Wallingford where her family goes back six generations, Moore said the town is full of good people, hence the reason she’s stayed so long.

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“If we are to end systemic racism, we must remain committed. We must remain in it,” Moore explained.

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