Vermont National Guard Logo News
News | Feb. 21, 2020

Vermont's community of unity and inclusion

Vermont National Guard Public Affairs

The Vermont Joint Diversity Executive Council held its third-annual cultural diversity and inclusion luncheon at the Green Mountain Armory Feb. 21.

The event’s organizer, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Selena Correa, highlighted how times are changing within the Vermont National Guard in terms of diversity.

“Historically, the Vermont National Guard is predominantly white. This is changing in tandem with the changing landscape of Vermont as diverse communities migrate here. We need to continue observances that the JDEC provides in order to become culturally aware, so that we can understand that our community is changing. Providing these informative events helps foster our understanding and acceptance of diversity and inclusion, which makes our fighting force more aptly prepared to accomplish the mission,” Correa said.

The day’s luncheon offered a wide variety of soul food prepared by gracious volunteers, performances from community artists, and a group art project for all to share.

The primary purpose of this event was to exhibit ongoing cultural barriers and the confines of racial implicit association issues in today’s society. The guests shared a means to combat such issues by way of their chosen medium of art, demonstrated public events offered by local community organizations, all which seem to focus on inclusion throughout Vermont’s communities.

“Observances are held in order to foster a climate of inclusiveness and unit cohesion throughout the organization. Involving the local community helps both civilians and soldiers understand that we are all in support of the fight for change, while at the same time, providing soldiers with multiple perspectives so that they are better informed to operate within the civilian population,” noted Correa.

The first guest, a Seattle native, poet and spoken word emcee, Rajinii Eddins, took to the podium. Eddins captivated the audience with the first of several poems titled, Middle Passage, in honor of his heritage.

“And now, sometimes I see our children are below deck; crammed into small cramped space, but the wooden planks are blocks, and stoops, and streets. But our heartbeat hope tells me we don’t have to live that metaphor,” Eddin said. “No one can ever take away our before, they sunk so that we soar, they hung, so that we soar; they sunk and sung the tears into their lungs so that we soar, this is not a metaphor. This is not a metaphor! This ain’t no metaphor- middle passage!”

Eddins shared three more poems: Blackness, Advice for Police, and For Travon. Each poem encountered continued social issues such as white supremacy, race posturing, and the hate-fueled murder of domestic terrorism.

The event’s second guest was Julio Desmont, a Hatian artist and immigrant who shared his perspective in a sequence titled, Hurtful, Helpful and Hopeful. The first expressed painful experiences he has personally encountered; the second offers a means of engagement to welcome diversity; the last uses art to encourage interactions to inspire hope.

“I can see that kids are now happier. I have the hope that whenever I go to the school, the hope that I have is the kids will be the hope of tomorrow. I can see that Vermont is the best place for that. I really see the dream of Martin Luther King happening in Vermont,” said Desmont, describing his interactions with Vermont school kids and the sense of community fostered in the Green Mountain State.

Speaking on behalf of Guard-hosted events such as these, U.S. Army Cpt. Scott Detweiler, S1 commander’s principal staff officer for personnel support noted, “I really enjoy learning about the uniqueness represented throughout our organization, and yet, every individual here has chosen to work towards a common mission: to protect and defend our nation. Observances like Black History Month allow us to take a moment to appreciate some aspects of the diversity represented in the Vermont National Guard. Our nation’s first militias were not as diverse, however, through movements such as civil rights and women’s suffrage, we now benefit from so many people of various backgrounds all working together towards a common goal. It is absolutely necessary that we recognized those groups and movements so we may increase our unit cohesion and continue to capitalize on our diversity which increases readiness and sets us apart from more homogenous adversaries,” said Detweiler.

“National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are community members themselves, events such as Black History Month, serve as an opportunity to bridge any military and civilian gaps. To share with the community in recognizing how far we have come as a culture pays tribute to the tireless work of social activists and finds a common footing from which we can work to create more inclusive communities,” said Detweiler, noting the value of the collaboration amongst the Guard and local communities.

Concluding the JDEC’s event, Desmont brought with him paint brushes, paints and a large blank mural where the audience joined him and Eddins in a collaborative painting as it related to his Hurtful, Helpful and Hopeful speech.

Both Desmont and Eddins are artists from the Clemmons Family Farm which is an African American owned and operated non-profit, located in Charlotte, Vt. To learn more about the artists in attendance or the Clemmons Family Farm, visit their website:

National Guard News
Washington National Guard Soldiers from the 506th Military Police Detachment conduct tactical medical training June 15, 2022 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Washington Guard MPs Train on Law Enforcement Skills
By Joseph Siemandel, | June 28, 2022
CAMP MURRAY, Wash. – Building off last year’s comprehensive annual training, Washington National Guard members from the 506th Military Police Detachment developed their law enforcement skills during training this month.“We...

A U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker from the 191st Air Refueling Group, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan,  arrives at Sawyer International Airport, Marquette, Michigan, to support Agile Combat Employment training as multicapable Airmen during the Northern Agility 22-1 exercise, June 27, 2022. Northern Agility 22-1 tests the rapid insertion of an Air Expeditionary Wing into a bare-base environment to establish logistics and communications and enhance the ability to operate in austere environments.
Northern Agility 22-1 Begins in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
By Capt. Andrew Layton, | June 28, 2022
MARQUETTE, Michigan - U.S. Air Force KC-135 aircraft from the 127th Wing, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan, arrived at Sawyer International Airport June 27 to kick off Northern Agility 22-1, a total-force Agile...

Lt. Col. Dan Tzizik, the medical officer in charge from the New Hampshire Army National Guard Medical Detachment, screens Tara Parker Dorler, a daycare provider, during the Cherokee Nation Innovative Readiness Exercise June 5, 2022. Parker Dorler was the first patient at the clinic set up inside the Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
New Hampshire Guard Provides Health Care in Cherokee Nation
By Staff Sgt. Victoria Nelson, | June 28, 2022
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – New Hampshire National Guardsmen and sister services provided the Cherokee Nation with more than a quarter-million dollars in health care exams and services during their joint two-week Innovative Readiness...

Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers from the 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry Regiment, fire a Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wire-guided anti-tank missile during training June 10, 2022, at Fort McCoy, Wis.
105th Cavalry Seizes Opportunity to Train on Tow Missiles
By Staff Sgt. Kati Volkman, | June 27, 2022
FORT MCCOY, Wis. – Recent history and some hustle enabled the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team to train on Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wire-guided anti-tank missiles during annual...

Approximately 80 Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers with the 1st Battalion of the 148th Field Artillery Regiment and counterparts from California, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin are training with the Royal Moroccan Army in the northern Sahara Desert as part of African Lion ’22.
Idaho National Guard Participates in African Lion Exercise
By Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur, | June 27, 2022
TAN-TAN, Morocco – Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers with the 1st Battalion of the 148th Field Artillery Regiment and their counterparts from California, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin are training with the Royal Moroccan...