There are times when silence says more than words. But it is words and courage that are now required. The Chamber & Economic Development of the Rutland Region (CEDRR) has been outspoken in our support of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Because what we say and do matters, we support communities and institutions within our region that believe that the future requires that we open ourselves to new and diverse viewpoints and innovative ideas that will provide for safety and prosperity for our neighbors, both locally and nationally. We are one world, connected in ways that link all of us socially, economically, and spiritually. 

Silence can be deafening. CEDRR again chooses to be heard. We join a chorus of others in the world because we believe our eyes and ears provide us evidence of genocide that is taking place in Ukraine. What we are watching reminds us of the importance of supporting refugees from countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, and countries in sub-Saharan Africa and many other regions of the world. We watch a country, Ukraine, that struggles to preserve democracy and freedom, each of which we cherish and enjoy every day. 

We join with Governor Scott in his condemnation of aggression towards the citizens of Ukraine – men, women, children, and the democracy they hold dear - and support deliberate and aggressive economic measures that will effectively target and positively influence the end of destruction and deliberate targeting of innocent civilians. 

We may feel that we are a long way from the images that we see. But, in reality, we are watching our neighbors. If we can do nothing else from our small spot in the world, we can shout out our support for Ukraine and condemn the disregard for humanity on the part of Russia and Russia’s leadership. 

Let your voice be heard. Our leaders need to be empowered by knowing we are behind them. And, if you can provide financial support, two very reputable organizations are actively soliciting for donations. They include the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 

Lyle Jepson is Executive Director of the Chamber & Economic Development of the Rutland Region and lives in Rutland. Any questions or comments should be directed to Lyle at