Westborough Town Seal Review Committee to hold information gathering session

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By Stuart Foster, Contributing Writer

WESTBOROUGH – The Westborough Town Seal Review Committee will hold its first
information gathering session on Nov. 15 on the second floor of the Forbes Building from 7 to 9 p.m.

The Review Committee is tasked with making a recommendation about whether the town seal, which contains a depiction of a cotton gin, should be changed due to its role in the expansion of American slavery. The cotton gin is on the town seal because its inventor, Eli Whitney, was born in Westborough.

“As we are working on issuing our recommendation, we definitely need to take stock of the
pulse in this town of what people are actually thinking about changing the seal,” said Committee Co-Chair Alla Baranovsky. “It’s important for people to be heard.”

The Review Committee has had five meetings since Westborough’s Annual Town Meeting
approved its creation in May. This, however, will be the first meeting where non-committee
members can express their views on the seal.

One of those previous meetings had featured a presentation from Westborough Public Library historian Anthony Vaver. Committee Co-Chair Nick Argento said that presentation provided important context about the origin of Westborough’s town seal.

“That presentation was very helpful,” he said. “In fact, it was so helpful that his comments that he presented to us, we’re going to distribute those comments at our first information gathering session.”

Argento said it is important for the committee to reach out to as many residents as possible.

Baranovsky added that residents unable to attend the information gathering session can email their thoughts and comments to [email protected]

While the committee will eventually issue a recommendation, Argento noted that residents will have the final say on the matter when it comes back before Town Meeting.

“It’s not just in the hands of the people on this committee, and we hope we are going to hear a diverse number of opinions,” Argento said.

Argento added that a specific charge of the committee is to consult with a diverse group of
stakeholders in Westborough. He said at the committee’s meeting on Dec. 2 will specifically
focus on determining ways to do just that.

Argento noted that members of the committee come from a wide variety of backgrounds
including education, town government and graphic design.