A California-based summer camp whose leaders allege acts of racism in Stowe, Vermont, have a history of instructing campers as young as preschool age to speak out against “police brutality.”
Pact, a nonprofit organization that runs programs focused on children of color adopted by white parents, made headlines last month when camp leaders alleged that racial slurs were yelled at campers from passing cars and at a mini-golf attraction. Pact’s founder, Beth Hall, reportedly admitted that only camp counselors seem to have heard the alleged incidents of racial intolerance.
The accusations prompted Gov. Phil Scott and other state leaders to call for statewide diversity sensitivity training with input from the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity. Also, a letter sent to Pact from Stowe’s town manager, Selectboard chair and state representative, among others, offered to begin a “community discussion series focused on tolerance” and to seek assistance in understanding Stowe’s “challenges with regard to race.”
Pact has a history of focusing on alleged claims of racism. Among other activities, the group introduces preschool age campers to complex topics such as “police brutality” against blacks. It also instructs kids to react to such controversial shootings as the Trayvon Martin shooting in Miami Gardens, Florida, and Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.
In one video posted on the group’s YouTube account, preschool age family campers are seen marching in a choreographed presentation and speaking out against police brutality. On the walls are student-drawn sketches of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and others killed in controversial shootings.
After giving a dance performance titled “Facing Hard Truths Black Lives Matter,” one child says, “Black Lives Matter means to me like we are actually fighting for our people. We want them to live, not like the past times when the police have killed them.”
A young boy in the video says, “My dance honors those people that have been killed by the police.” He explains in detail that the death of Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, compelled him to create the dance.
Another girl of preschool age says, “Black Lives Matter is important to me because I have friends that are black, and I also have a lot of cousins that are black, and I want my people to live.”
Another video, “2016 Pact Family Camp Teen Spoken Word,” features teenagers delivering similar highly charged rhetoric about racism and police brutality.
“People of color aren’t the ones that need to be tame, power and prejudice are to blame,” rapped one teenage camper.
He added: “The judicial system keeps people wishin’. It’s broke, a joke — execution on site for a busted tail light. Never even put up a fight. Only if you are not white. If you are brown, they are holding you down.”
Another teenager rapped these lyrics.
“Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot! Not subject to be detained just because you can’t pronounce my name. … My skin should not make me the cause of pain. Don’t shoot!”
Hall, the executive director of Pact, has written extensively on the subject of interracial adoption in families. Her book, “Inside Transracial Adoption,” makes strong accusations against whites as a class of people.
“If we insist that all white people are the enemies (racists, or at best, racists in recovery), is it really surprising that so many walk on by when we insist that they take the blame? Educating the white community requires all the sensitivity we can muster,” the author writes on page 291.
In another section of the book, on page 18, she writes, “There are no clearly distinct ‘black,’ ‘white,’ or other races. Race is the creation of hierarchies that serve the dominant class of people (in the United States, originally white slave owners).” The book adds that the concept of biological race is based on a “false assumption” about grouping people based on similar anatomical traits.
She also suggests that racism is rampant.
“If you are going to deal with America’s racist practices, first you have to own your own share,” the author writes on page 292. “Ask yourself this: What has surprised me most about my own racism? Give yourself some current examples. If you can’t find any, then you probably aren’t paying close enough attention.”
Hall did not return TNR’s request for comment.
However, the Pact leader told VTDigger that Stowe needs a community forum where residents must be “willing to hear things and not get defensive” as it relates to residents’ alleged racist tendencies.
In the same story she added, “I think [racist slurs are] probably happening every day in Vermont.”