Step in and Come Together!

Step in and Come Together

May 15, 2022

2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
The Essex Experience - T-Rex Theater, 21 Essex Way #300


2:00 to 5:00 - Enjoy music, food, meet your neighbors, and visit tables!
3:30 to 4:30 - Keynote Speaker followed by Guest Speakers
4:30 to 5:00 - Questions & Answers. Join in the conversation! Ask your questions from the panel of speakers. Q&A will be transcribed and available on the web page following the event, so be sure to check back!

Building, Belonging, and Inclusion in Essex

The second week of May has been proclaimed by Governor Scott as "Inclusion Week" in Vermont.  The Essex Westford School district, the Town of Essex, and Voices for Inclusion in Essex and Westford (VIEW) are co-sponsoring a new and exciting event on May 15th called, “Step In and Come Together”. The event will host an opportunity for residents to meet new people in the community and learn about local government, including the boards and committees that support decision-making. 

Activities will feature guest speakers, food, and music at the fabulous T-Rex Theater at The Essex Experience. The municipal boards and committees from the Town will display tables to talk to you about what they are working on, answer questions, and recruit members of the community to take part in the work they are doing. 

Say hello to spring, get out to meet new people in your community, and enjoy some food, performances, and speakers! Learn about local government and everything from recreation to energy conservation in your community. Find out how to participate in public meetings and projects and listen to local leaders share their journey to find achievement and success.  Talk with people who share your passion about the place they live. Bring your ideas and creativity--we look forward to seeing you!

Ali Dieng

Keynote Speaker


Ali Dieng is the Building Bright Futures Regional Manager supporting the Chittenden, Central Vermont and Franklin and Grand Isle regions. Ali is the founder and former Manager of the Burlington School District Parent University Program where he engaged parents, educators and community partners. Ali is committed to building more equitable and accessible systems and brings his expertise engaging diverse perspectives; especially those from different socio economic & cultural backgrounds. Ali is the co-founder of the Vermont New Americans Advisory Council VNAAC, an organization working to increase civic engagement and a sense of belonging among the New American population. Ali is a third time elected Burlington City Councilor and the chair of the Racial Equity Inclusion and Belonging Committee REIB for the City of Burlington. He resides in Burlington with his wife, Angela, and their two daughters. 

Fatima Khan

Lead Facilitator

Fatima Khan

Fatima is an Essex High School senior, who has taken various STEM classes such as Physics, AP Chemistry, Adv. Biology, AP Statistics, and more. Fatima is involved in community and is a member on the Essex C.H.I.P.S. Board of Directors. She recently took first place in Original Oratory at the Iroquois District Tournament, qualifying for the National Speech and Debate tournament to be held in Louisville, Kentucky.

Rey Garofano

Rey Garofano

Rey has been a public servant for the State of Vermont for 16 years, serving in various leadership roles supporting Vermonters, including the most vulnerable populations. In January 2022, she was appointed to the Vermont House of Representatives to represent Essex. Representative Garofano has a deeply personal commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and has been actively engaged in multiple community projects over the past decade to promote racial equity and inclusion. 

Sianay Chase Clifford

Sianay Chase Clifford

Sianay grew up in Essex. Through her personal experiences, Sianay found social work, where she made addressing and healing trauma - the trauma of poverty, community violence, institutional racism, and systemic neglect – her chief priority. Sianay's work earned her the recognition of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and was named a John Lewis Social Justice Fellow, serving in the Office of Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. 

Tracey Delphia

Tracey Delphia

While previously living in South Burlington, Tracey served on the Planning Commission, multiple committees, and as an elected Justice of the Peace from 2012 until 2017. After moving to Essex in 2017, she was appointed to the Zoning Board of Adjustment in December 2018 and was elected as a Justice of the Peace in November 2020 prior to her election to the Town of Essex Selectboard in March 2021.

Marlon Verasamy

Marlon VerasamyMarlon Verasamy has lived in Essex Junction for about 6 ½ years and recently earned an elected seat on the EWSD school board. Marlon grew up in Boston, attending Boston Latin School, the oldest public high school in America, before joining the Air Force as a meteorologist. He has spent time in the military and currently works for the National Weather Service. Marlon prides himself as having a sense of service above self and serving the public is one of best ways he believes he can give to the community. 

Visit and talk with community and local government boards and committees! 

Essex BEST Task Force

Stop by to visit members from the Essex BEST (Building, Equity, Solidarity, and Trust) Task Force. Find out what the members are working on and grab a delicious snack! 

Voices for Inclusion in Equity and Westford (VIEW)VIEW

The Voices for Inclusion in Essex and Westford (VIEW) is a group of diverse community members who are working to create events and opportunities for Essex and Westford residents that allow for these outlying voices to be heard and understood. VIEW wants to strengthen our community by looking at it through the various lenses of people we live and work with. 

Economic Development Commission

The Economic Development Commission is responsible for promoting the quality of life in Essex. The mission of the Commission is to assist with the retention, expansion and development of existing business; assist with the location and development of new industrial and commercial firms to Essex; plan for development to assure economic diversification and to provide the Selectboard with advice to enhance our commercial and industrial base.Essex Free Logo

Essex Free Library Board of Trustees

Stop by for stickers, bookmarks and a variety of items from the library of things! The Library Board of Trustees plays a significant role in developing policies and long-range plans, evaluating library service and promoting library use throughout the Town. The Trustees are responsible for hiring the Library Director and providing input on the annual budget for the library.

Essex Energy Committee

The Essex Energy Committee is to provide leadership to the citizens and is charged with tracking municipal energy use, recommending targets and actions for decreasing use, researching and recommending opportunities to utilize renewable energy sources and the efficient use of energy within town operations, developing and managing energy efficiency educational programs and creating annual reports on energy projects and opportunities.Essex Energy Committee

Essex Housing Commission

The mission of the Essex Housing Commission is to help ensure that any resident (or aspiring resident) of Essex has access to a home that meets their needs. The Commission advises the Essex Selectboard, Essex Junction Board of Trustees, Planning Commissions, and other municipal boards and committees on the housing needs of the community, including review and consultation of policy and zoning changes related to housing. The Commission maintains and analyzes the community’s demographic and housing stock information and provides periodic updates on housing issues to elected officials. The Commission also works to educate the public on housing topics and develops partnerships with developers, non-profits, state agencies, and social service organizations to advance the community’s housing goals.

Conservation and Trails Committee

Stop by for an information sheet and to view some photo montages! The mission of the Conservation and Trails Committee is to inventory and study the natural, historic, educational, cultural, scientific, architectural, or archaeological resources of the town in which the public has an interest.  The Committee also advises the Selectboard and Planning Commission on matters relating to the public understanding of local natural resources and conservation needs, development applications and acquisition of lands involving the above resources.  For trails, the Committee mission is to preserve, develop and maintain a multi-use trail, sidewalk and greenway system in the Town of Essex which will link residential neighborhoods to natural areas, schools, parks, businesses, recreational facilities, community centers and neighboring towns.

Essex Westford School DistrictNew EWSD Logo

EWSD recognizes the impact of systemic oppression of groups of people impacted by histories and current experiences of marginalization in addition to race including gender, abilities, and other identities. Educational equity occurs when all students are provided with what they need in support of their academic, social-emotional and career development. Stop by the EWSD table to learn more! 

Town of Essex Selectboard

The Town of Essex is governed by a council-manager form of government. It has a five-member nonpartisan Selectboard, which is elected at large and serves as the Town's primary legislative body. The Town Selectboard appoint the Town Manager to oversee day-to-day municipal operations, to draft a budget, and to implement and enforce Town policy and legislative initiatives.


Sister Speak

Canadian born Sherri Anne is at the core of Sister Speak. This Taylor Guitar sponsored artist has connected deeply with a diverse fan-base throughout the globe. In concert Sister Speak combines passionate Alt/Blues and a touch of world music. This summer Sister Speak tours Germany, USA and Canada in support of the new album. Catch the full band in British Columbia and Vermont in August 2022! Whether performing solo or as a band, Sister Speak aims to share message-driven music and support the authentic expression of the woman’s voice.

Native American Mi'kmaq Drumming and Singing

Mikmaq Drumming SingingRick Getchell is a tribal member of the Mi'kmaq Nation, located in the northern part of Maine. He is a former Chief of his tribe, and through his own consulting business worked with tribes and government agencies in areas such as health services, environmental protection, education, social needs and cultural preservation. Rick assisted with forming best practices for identifying and reconstructing submerged Paleo landscapes through the University of Rhode Island and served as the Northeast Regional Planning Body Co-Lead for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) making history as the first Native American to ever hold the position. Rick will be drumming and singing during the event with his wife and family.

Step In Music speakers food

Step In co sponsors

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