Statement on Hanover Town Meeting

Brian Jacobel

July 8, 2020

At last night’s Town Meeting, Hanover residents were asked to vote on multiple budget increases for the police department, including money specifically allocated for the purchase of “ballistic vests.” Numerous speakers at the meeting outlined the harm police continue to enact against the BIPOC community in the Upper Valley, advocating passionately for a reduction in police budget and a reallocation of those funds to social and mental health services.

Instead, the approximately 1% of Hanover residents present voted to not only increase the police budget, but also to endorse an insipid motion designed to assuage white liberal guilt. The motion, which expressed support for “communities of color with respect to policing,” was correctly called out by Selectboard candidate Kristina Wolff as “toothless.” It presented no goals and no actionable items, only a general nod to hundreds of years of injustice and a weak promise to think about doing better.

I am disappointed in Hanover's political elite: when presented with an opportunity to support our local BIPOC community in the struggle to end the violence they face from police every day, they chose to instead hide behind empty liberal promises and to essentially give a pat on the head to the social justice movement of our lifetimes. Supporting communities of color begins with listening to their demands. Hanover had a chance to do this last night and failed.

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