Kiah Morris Quit Her Vermont Re-Election Race After Facing Years Of Racist Threats & Harassment
A Vermont lawmaker has withdrawn her candidacy for the state legislature, citing online harassment and racist threats. Sitting Vermont state Rep. Kiah Morris quit her Vermont re-election race in a Facebook announcement shared on Friday.
"I will finish out my term and pass on the mantle at the end of this year," Morris wrote. "I will continue to serve as your representative, and am available to support the community in any way I can. Please know, this is not a 'goodbye forever,' but a 'see you soon.' There is so much more incredible work to be achieved locally, statewide and nationally and I look forward to working with you towards the continued strength of our state."
Morris has served in the Vermont legislator since 2014. She had just won the Democratic nomination to serve for a third time in August.
"The last four years of service have been incredible; an enormous honor and significant responsibility," Morris wrote in her statement. She continued:
The last two years have been emotionally difficult for many. Political discourse, and in particular within the sphere of social media has been divisive, inflammatory and at times, even dangerous. It is my hope that as a state, we will continue to demand greater support and protections for one another from those forces which seek to divide and destroy our communities.
Morris has received multiple threats during her tenure in the Vermont state legislature, HuffPost reports. The publication pointed, specifically, to a racist tweet sent out in 2016, which took issue with Morris representing a majority white district. That tweet appears to have led to several more recent issues, according to local news outlet VTDigger.org. Recently, Morris's husband took to Facebook to address "death threats and threats of harm from all over the country due to the Max connection," referencing the 2016 tweet. They reportedly sought the FBI's intervention but the agency "told us there 'wasn’t enough evidence to open a case.'"
According to her legislative page, Morris was born in Chicago, and moved to Bennington, Vermont in 2009. She lives in the house where her husband grew up, per her bio. In her statement of withdrawal, Morris described Vermont politics as different from politics on the national stage.
"In stark contrast to our national politics, I found within the Vermont legislature, a family of individuals who care deeply about one another and look out for each other," she wrote. "Within our community, I continually am reminded of how many courageous, kind and giving individuals there are that have shown support for my work and my family. I am humbled and eternally grateful. This is the heart of our community and must be amplified no matter who holds this title."
Tabitha Pohl-Moore, the Vermont state director of the NAACP, released a statement about racist harassment earlier this month.
"The Vermont branches of the NAACP support Ms. Morris in her fight for racial justice and, most importantly, her right to exist as a Vermonter of color," it read.
Morris promised in her statement that she was not saying goodbye. In the foreseeable future, however, it's not clear whether she will return to public life.