The flag was raised on Friday from the Rutland High School flag pole, also commemorating the 158th anniversary of The U.S Civil War.
It took a year of compiling presentations and building community support and submitting proposals to the School Board, Rutland High School raised Black Lives Matter flag on Friday.
The Burlington Free Post that the Rutland City Public Schools Board of Commissioners reaffirmed the plan during a vote Tuesday.
The Black Lives Matter flag will fly at the school for 400 days starting April 12 to mark 400 years since the British slave trade started in the Americas.
After a year compiling presentations, building community support and submitting proposals to the School Board, the day had finally arrived: the Black Lives Matter flag flew Friday from the Rutland High School flag pole. https://t.co/X6k4tTiG2B— Rutland Herald (@RutlandHerald) 12 April 2019
“We are here on April 12 marking the 158th anniversary of the beginning of the U.S. Civil War, which was started when Southern soldiers fired on the U.S. garrison at Fort Sumter in South Carolina,” said student Alex White at the opening of the private ceremony for students and staff Friday.
“We are here to raise the Black Lives Matter flag, which will fly for 400 days ... because this year marks the 400th anniversary of the start of the British slave trade in the Americas.”
"Rutland High School in Vermont says it will fly a Black Lives Matter flag for 400 days starting in April to mark the 400 years since the beginning of the British slave trade in the Americas."— NEWomenforJustice (@NEWomen4Justice) 29 March 2019
Women for Justice https://t.co/Q4Ibhcx2zG
The Rutland Herald reports that members of the New Neighbors Club at RHS, which requested the flag be raised, addressed the crowd, introducing the “peaceful, nonviolent” Black Lives Matter movement and the Black Lives Matter Vermont group.
The group read statistics about the history of discrimination and violence against people of color that left an indelible mark on society through today.
Black Lives Matter flag is up at Rutland High School. pic.twitter.com/D00K4fyqSz— Rob Bliss (@RobBlissVT) 12 April 2019
“I want to recognize the significance of youth stepping up in order to provide support, voice their needs, represent their rights and stay true to their beliefs in the face of contentious and challenging times,” said Alderwoman Lisa Ryan.
“You are all the pioneers and have created not only a foundation for those who come after you, but a message. A message that says empowerment, and leadership create opportunities.” she continued.
The Black Lives Matter flag will fly at Rutland High School after a second school board vote of approvalhttps://t.co/HLiJhdv0H4— VTDigger (@vtdigger) 11 April 2019
Reportedly, the group and their classmates led the audience of over 100, many of whom donned T-shirts with the words “Black Lives Matter” on them, outside to the parking lot of RHS, where they unfolded the newest addition to the school’s flagpole.
Many attendees bowed their heads in silence as the large black-and-white banner with the stark and unmistakable words “Black Lives Matter” printed in bold danced in the breeze.
Black Lives Matter flag will be flown in front of Rutland(VT) High School this spring at the request of students.— STOP BALLOT HARVESTING! (@Portland_jet) 30 March 2019
The Rutland Public Schools board voted unanimously to fly the flag for 400 consecutive days starting April 12 — the 158th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. pic.twitter.com/EMIaYU7LWd
“Black Lives Matter is such a simple phrase that embodies such a complex, painful and hopeful reality that resonates with black Americans everywhere,” said Rutland NAACP President Tabitha Pohl-Moore in an interview later Friday with The Rutland Herald.
“The purpose of BLM is to call for visibility and accountability for government-sanctioned (and in some cases, encouraged) violence toward black people.
People who are comfortable with the systems of white supremacy want to make it about anything other than the fight for black lives — from creating bizarre counter groups ... to flat-out pretending racism isn’t a thing,” she continued.
Rutland High School is the latest in a number of other educational institutions that have sought to raise the flag in the Green Mountain State.
High schools in Burlington, South Burlington and the state's capital, Montpelier, as well as Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg have raised the flag on school grounds.