UPDATE: Wellesley not among racial equity grant recipients, but still working toward action plan
Youth Antiracist Activism Yields Results
Through a series of protests, marches, meetings and online events, students and alumni of Wellesley High School raised awareness about racism in our community and challenged leaders across Wellesley’s institutions to enact antiracist policies and practices. As you’ll see below, their efforts have begun to yield promising progress!
In case you missed any of the youth-led antiracism learning sessions, here are links to watch the recordings:
Select Board Discussion with Wake Up, Wellesley Organizers (starting at 8:30) — Wellesley’s Select Board invited student and alumni activist to share their stories and recommendations for antiracist action on August 18, 2020
Wake Up, Wellesley Part 4 — Moderated a discussion with members of the Wellesley Public Schools administration
Wake Up, Wellesley Part 3 — “Where Do We Go From Here?” Featuring experts, educators, and allies at the forefront of our national anti-racist efforts
Wake Up, Wellesley Part 2 — Continued discussion with black students and alumni about their experiences with racism in the community’s schools, stores, and common spaces
Wake Up, Wellesley Part 1 — Black community members share their stories and illuminate the racism in the community’s schools, stores, and common spaces
WPS Responds to Young Ethnic Scholars Demands
Wellesley Public Schools Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) shared a document that summarizes antiracist demands articulated by Wellesley High Schools’ Young Ethnic Scholars (YES) in 2019 and corresponding actions by WPS to date and planned actions for the upcoming school year. Student activists were pleased to have a response from the district and to see concrete plans for continued district efforts this year. Read the Y.E.S. 2019 Demands Crosswalk.
The DE&I department has also revamped its website to include extensive resources and updates for / related to: DE&I Leadership Council, Faculty & Staff, METCO, Parents / Community, and Students. It also includes information about a process for Responding to Bias-based Incidents introduced for the first time this year.
Wellesley School Committee Passes Anti-Racism Resolution
On August 6, 2020, the Wellesley Public Schools School Committee unanimously passed an anti-racism resolution. The resolution acknowledges that all lives cannot matter until Black, Indigenous and People of Color’s lives matter. It also resolves that the Wellesley Public Schools must guarantee that racist practices are eradicated, and diversity, equity and inclusion are embedded and practiced for our students, families, faculty and staff. Read the Wellesley School Committee Anti-Racism Resolution.
Select Board Applies for Racial Equity Municipal Action Plan
In August Wellesley’s Select Board announced that the town was submitting an application for a grant designed to help the town come up with a racial equity plan. The Racial Equity Municipal Action Plan, offered through a collaboration including the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, will only be awarded to a handful of municipalities. The goal of the program is to provide cities and towns with technical assistance to create racial equity action plans and to take meaningful action to advance racial equity. The recipients of this very competitive grant will be announced this week.
Black Lives Matter Signs at Over 400 Wellesley Households
Over 400 households have participated in our Black Lives Matter yard sign program! It’s fantastic to see this show of support for antiracism as we walk, bike and drive around town. Still need a sign? Order a Black Lives Matters yard sign today.
White People Challenging Racism: Moving from Talk to Action (WPCR) brings people together to examine white privilege and racism in order to galvanize them to anti-racist action. Our mission is to provide people with tools and resources to challenge and change attitudes and actions that perpetuate racism. While our focus is on white people’s role in dismantling racism, our courses are open to everyone who is committed to achieving racial justice. Please join us for our next 5-week or 3-week workshop.
SURJ BOSTON is a local chapter of Showing Up For Racial Justice, a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability.
Black Lives Matter Boston’s mission is to organize and build Black power in Boston and across the country. Some examples of this is to galvanize our communities to end state-sanctioned violence against Black people. To support the development of new Black leaders, as well as create a network where Black people feel empowered to determine our destinies in our communities.
NAACP: The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons. Business as usual is costing Black Americans their lives. The NAACP has started a social movement and we need your voice to make one thing clear: #WeAreDoneDying. Join us, as we urge Congress to take every measure in ensuring we protect Black lives.
BLACK LIVES MATTER SIGNS: Demonstrate your continued support for the Black Lives Matter movement to support their work against racist policing and police violence, abolishing mass incarceration, economic disparities and factors that allow the school to prison pipeline to exist, with a sign displayed in your yard.
Educate Your Children*
In a time of violence and civil unrest and seeing the fissures of racial inequality clearly, let’s all take action and make a difference. For parents, here are examples of how:
1. Teach our children to be upstanders, not bystanders (and then model this ourselves). Organizations like Facing History & Ourselves are on the forefront of proving learning prompts
2. Call out racism (conscious and unconscious) when we see and hear it, and do this in a public way where our children can see
3. Teach, teach, teach them – and read together, books like like A Young People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, available on Amazon or local public libraries
4. Watch movies and documentaries with your children that will inspire deep dialogue on race and difference, like Just Mercy based on the book by social justice lawyer Bryan Stevenson
5. Remind children (and ourselves) that we can make a difference in our respective spheres of influence. If we can affect only one life we have contributed toward the change we hope to see.
Children should be encouraged by parents to open discussions about race, bias and difference at home and with friends
Children can inspire conversation by asking their teachers questions to help them and their peers better process issues about race, difference and bias
Allow kids to practice advocacy/speaking up in a safe space at home with examples of different scenarios – we used episodes of ABC’s What Would You Do? with John Quinones as the stimulus for family conversations about standing up for others
For teens, there’s Young Revolutionary: A Teen’s Guide to Activism – a book for teens by a teen, for tangible actions kids can take when they want to speak up and take action, including developing social change campaigns
6. Read aloud to your children, with examples available on Amazon and local public libraries
Readings for Parents to Educate Themselves
*Thank you Needham Diversity Initiative for these resources
Please join us for Race Amity Day on June 14th at 4pm for an amazing online engagement together. Please register today.