Like everyone, I’m sure, my newsfeed on Social Media has been filled with various posts pertaining to the arrival of the new year! The various memes, quotes, and other musings all express the optimistic hope for a brighter 2022: a seasonally typical optimism that has become even more palpable since the arrival of the pandemic. This cartoon struck me in particular because it reminds us that the date of January 1st is not magic. Turning the page to a new calendar does not in and of itself assure us of “good luck” in the days that lie ahead: the truth is, if we don’t bother to “put in” the work of sowing seeds of flowers, why should we expect flowers to grow? This truth is particularly poignant to me as we come into a new legislative session. Like the arrival of a new year, no piece of legislation is magically going to solve all of our problems. However, they remain incredibly important seeds!
The tragic truth that the BIPOC community accounts for less than a quarter of homeowners in Vermont will not automatically change by passing legislation like H. 329. However, this piece of legislation lowers the barriers to proving the presence of discrimination in employment, housing, education, and public accommodations: an important seed.
Passing a bill pertaining to rental housing safety will not in of itself change the sad reality that too many Vermonters live in, but it helps assure an avenue through which concerns about housing safety can be expressed, and adequately addressed.
A bill pertaining to Just Cause Eviction does not eliminate discrimination, but it helps protect folks from being thrown into the lurch of searching for housing in an extremely tight market for no valid reason.
And the list could go on and on. No piece of legislation is magic: but they plant important seeds.
A garden is made up of many flower beds. We are never going to enjoy a garden of equity, diversity, and housing justice if we don’t pay attention to the seeds we are planting throughout! And even after seeds are planted they require care and attention to properly bloom. My frequent rallying cry is that the affordable housing crisis in our State is everyone’s problem: so, we can all be a part of the solution. From planting seeds to watering them, from trimming weeds to shaping the garden…and don’t forget about planning for next year’s growing season…there’s a part for everyone.
So, as we turn the page to 2022, what role will you play in the garden?