The Vermont Library Association (VLA) stands with Vermont Humanities Program Officer Toussaint St. Negritude and with the Cobleigh Public Library, who were targeted by protesters on Saturday, June 10. VLA supports the freedom to speak without oppression or fear.
VLA recognizes that St. Negritude, who was leading an LGBTQ+ Pride poetry reading at Cobleigh Library in Lyndonville, was the direct target of the small group of protesters because of his identity as a gay Black man.
VLA denounces the behavior of anyone who would condemn, abuse, or attack another person because of who they are. It is vital to actively stand in support of members of Vermont’s BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities.
Cobleigh Library plays a central role in the Northeast Kingdom by providing a meeting space, books, and many other community resources, and it strives to be a safe, welcoming environment for all. VLA also understands that the protest makes it harder for the library to do this vital work, as it was intended to intimidate patrons, staff, and presenters, and thereby chill the types of programming the library offers. We support Librarian Bryn Hoffman in their efforts to ensure that everyone is free to read, access information, exchange ideas, and speak freely at Cobleigh Public Library.
Vermont Library Association
July 12, 2023