Guest Perspective: "Celebrating Inclusion Week in Vermont"

By Peter McDougall, President + Director, Paul Frank + Collins P.C.

In recent years, the second week of May has been proclaimed “Inclusion Week” in Vermont by Governor Phil Scott. The proclamation reaffirms Vermont’s commitment to eliminating hatred and bigotry in all systems and institutions to improve outcomes for all Vermonters and build more multicultural and socially cohesive communities. The week of recognition is a byproduct of the Declaration of Inclusion initiative which is an ongoing statewide diversity, equity, and inclusion effort.

One of several events recognizing Inclusion Week was held in Burlington to highlight the first 110 municipalities that have adopted a Declaration of Inclusion as well as several partner organizations that have committed to elevating the work of the initiative. The Vermont Chamber was recognized as a dedicated partner, collaborating with initiative leaders to achieve the goal of each Vermont municipality adopting and implementing a declaration.

The event, attended by over 50 community leaders, featured several speakers including people from three municipalities who each shared the impact of the initiative in their town or city. Don Turner, Town Manager for Milton, Jesse Alexander Plotsky, a member of Bethel’s Equity and Inclusion Committee, and Michael Sherman of Montpelier, each reflected on why their municipality had adopted a declaration of inclusion and the work ahead for meaningful implementation. Xusana Davis, the State of Vermont’s Executive Director of Racial Equity, and Lt. Governor David Zuckerman also spoke at the event in support of the initiative along with members of Vermont Interfaith Action which hosted the celebration.

With 67% of the recent population growth in Vermont happening in municipalities that support a Declaration of Inclusion, it’s clear reinforcing welcoming and belonging for all people in all Vermont communities is a positive growth indicator. To learn more about the Declaration of Inclusion, and how to adopt one in your city or town, visit:

About the Author:  Peter McDougall has been with Paul Frank + Collins P.C. for over 17 years, currently serving as the President and Treasurer and on its three-member Executive Committee. Pete is a member of the Captive, Corporate, and Insurance law teams. He also serves as the Chair of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and as a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force.

About Paul Frank + Collins: Paul Frank + CollinsP.C.  is a 50+ employee business and litigation law firm with regional, national, and international reach from its Vermont headquarters and satellite offices in Massachusetts and New York. Paul Frank + Collins attorneys provide effective and cost-efficient legal services to individuals and to business clients of all sizes in various industries throughout the world. Paul Frank + Collins P.C. is celebrating its 55th anniversary in 2023.