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Business group starts anti-bias effort in Vermont city

April 25, 2021 GMT

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) — The business community in Rutland is starting an anti-discrimination project in the Vermont city.

Last week, the board of directors of the Chamber & Economic Development of the Rutland Region voted unanimously to “denounce bias and discrimination” and create a panel charged with antidiscrimination efforts in the city, according to Executive Director Lyle Jepson, the Rutland Herald reported.

“Right now, we’re watching a national trend that is horrific and we’re watching some of those things go on locally. It doesn’t help to keep pointing out the same things,” Jepson said. “If we want this community to grow, if we want this to be a community people want to move to instead of move away from, we as a community, need to take a stand.”

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee will be charged with creating a plan that includes “education, projects, and activities to address bias, racism, and discrimination as well as increase diversity, equity, and inclusion” in the business organization and Rutland region.

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A first step is bias training, Jepson said. Working against bias in Rutland is also good business, he said, while acknowledging that a large part of the city thinks that racism is not a significant problem, the newspaper reported.