To the Editor:
As towns in Central Massachusetts begin or continue their discussions around diversity, equity, and inclusion, it is important we move swiftly from temporary to consistent and sustainable local action.
While participating in protests is certainly a powerful way for individuals to draw more attention to these issues, the next steps are much more complex than holding a sign in the center of town. Any deviation from established social norms is often an uncomfortable process that is met with various layers of denial, resistance, and delay. To counter this, we must stay informed, stay engaged, and keep the conversations going in all our social networks.
Several schools and municipal departments in the area have begun the process of developing short and long term plans to address these issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As encouraging as this progress may be, these issues are not new or unique to Central Massachusetts, and well researched policy suggestions have been readily available for quite some time. While we are certainly moving forward as a region, we are still behind in these conversations and must be mindful of that in our discussions.
The large influx of new voices speaking out against institutional racism and prejudice has been extremely hopeful. It is also my hope that everyone brings this same commitment and enthusiasm, in their full capacity, to Town Board meetings, School Committee meetings, meetings with local Law Enforcement, PTO meetings, classrooms, libraries, places of work, places of worship, and family gatherings. Until that happens, we will only continue to scratch the surface of a much deeper problem.
Sanam H. Zaer