AFR withdraws from process
UPDATED, Sept. 24: A community conversation focused on racism, racial equity and policing in Arlington, postponed from Aug. 4, with "Closing the Circle, Acknowledgment & Apology," with Lt. Rick Pedrini participating, was rescheduled to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22. A summary was published Sept. 23 >>
To ensure input from community members regarding the agenda, and in response to concerns raised, the town was the host for a roundtable with select representatives of community groups.
On Sept. 18, the town announced that attorney Michael Curry, former president of the Boston NAACP, will be the moderator.
Residents will have an opportunity to submit questions and comments to Lt. Pedrini in advance of the Sept. 22 session. Curry will select questions, which will be addressed live and before a community reaction panel, whose participants are not named.
Questions and comments may be submitted here and will be open for three days after the session to allow the community can have time to reflect, process and provide their comments. All entries will be shared with Lt Pedrini.
The town news release says: "We understand the difficulties and frustrations of having to hold such a delicate conversation during the pandemic, and with input from community members, and within the existing limited means. We hope the moderated structure led by Curry, who will also curate incoming questions from the public, can best foster listening, learning and growth for both the town and Arlington community.
Please register to this session here >>
This session is one of many activities that have taken place and still to come in our ongoing work to make Arlington a safe and inclusive space for all. Future and past Community Conversations may be found at arlingtonma.gov/
Read moderator's bio >>
'Not directly involved'
Leaders of Arlington Fights Racism (AFR), asked to comment about its role in planning, responded Sept. 5, "We were not directly involved" in planning the rescheduled event.
In a series of Facebook posts Sept. 18, Elizabeth Dray, an AFR cochair, wrote that the group will not participate in the Sept. 22 conversation and asks the police chief and town manager to publicly declare the restorative-justice process regarding Lt. Pedrini "illegitimate." See the full statement here >>
A statement Thursday, July 30, from the town had said: "After a great deal of consideration, the Town and the Human Rights Commission has decided to postpone the Community Conversation scheduled for Aug. 4, which was intended to address the matter with Lt. Pedrini. We are extremely proud of the ambitious series of Community Conversations that have been conducted over the last few months, and, we have also been listening and taking in feedback from the public.
"It was a difficult decision, but we feel it is necessary to take some time to revisit the plan for this session and broaden our listening to include more of the impacted stakeholders. We have come to this decision after working with various stakeholders, including the professional staff and consultants that we have relied on so greatly through both the planning and execution of these sessions. This decision has also been influenced by unforeseen circumstances impacting the availability of participants.
"We are committed to conducting this session in the very near future, and we want to be sure that we refine our planning to maximize the inclusion of diverse voices and perspectives within the community as part of this conversation.
"In the coming days, we will be reaching out to stakeholders already engaged in this dialogue as well as enhancing our existing efforts to hear from marginalized community members. We look forward to this work and most of all we look forward to working collaboratively with the community to forward Arlington’s equity and inclusivity work."
Decision follows petition
The decision followed an email sent earlier in the day by Lynette Martyn with a petition asking for a "real conversation" with Pedrini. The petition, which not signed, asked that participants be able to address the officer directly. Asked to identify the petition's author, she wrote: "It was written by Arlington Fights Racism members and volunteers and sent to town officials by anyone who answered the call to action."
True Story Theater Dialogue: Paralleling the town-hosted conversations, you are invited to attend an online “story theater dialogue” to reflect on the issues discussed, put on by True Story Theater.
All are welcome to watch and listen, or share personal experiences that will then be respectfully and creatively reflected by Arlington’s improvisational improv group.
The purpose of these True Story events is to help all of us in town more deeply understand each other in an honest, human way, from the heart.
These sessions will be held every other week and information regarding registering for the events will be made available shortly.Tuesday July 28, 7:00 p.m. – Elevating Suppressed Voices & Visions Inc session
Tuesday, Aug. 11, 7 p.m. – Closing the Circle Session
Watch, listen, or share personal experiences. A week after each Town Conversation event, you are invited to attend an online “story theatre dialogue” to reflect on the issues brought up for you from the town conversation. Register here >>
Wednesday July 29, from 7 to 8 p.m., "Arlington Public Schools Listens to Suppressed Voices: Families of Color are Invited to Share their Experiences within APS," with building and district administrators. It ass moderated by Jillian Harvey, diversity coordinator for the Town of Arlington and Allentza Michel of Powerful Pathways.
See more here >>
Register in advance for this webinar >> After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
ACMi broadcast the July 21 event live. See "Community Conversations: Elevating Suppressed Voices," a conversation to hear from community leaders of color, here >>
Those involved talked with longtime and new residents, youth including students who are a part of the METCO program and individuals who work in town.
This four-part series is meant to open up the dialogue to address challenges past and present the Town of Arlington has faced, acknowledge plans for moving forward in the journey to dismantle the systemic racism that is embedded into all of the town’s institutions and provide an opportunity for community voices and concerns to be heard and discussed.
Monday, July 27: Dr. Michelle Holmes and Doug Weinstock of Visions Inc. will be presenting on the Arlington Police Department: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Climate Assessment and Polices Review, and Recommendations, which they conducted in January.
The presentation will review the process of conducting the assessment, and the findings and recommendations, along with information about review of several of the department’s policies. The report will be available soon. Community members will be notified so they can read it before the presentation. The town asks that questions be submitted before the event.
The first part was "Calling Out the Issues -- A Time of Reflection and Action."
Moderated by Jillian Harvey, diversity coordinator, and Allentza Michel, diversity community consultant, Powerful Pathways, the panel discussion with town leadership reflected upon the roots of systemic racism, its implications for Arlington and acknowledge the calls for action now.
Topics covered town racial-equity initiatives and goals, school data and racial disparities and policing policies.
Panelists included Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine, Police Chief Juliann Flaherty and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Roderick MacNeal Jr.
Attendees submitted questions before and during the event.
Tuesday, July 7, 7 p.m .: APD Visions, Inc. Bias & Discrimination Assessment
This session will be moderated by Crystal Haynes, who will be joined by Katherine Levine Einstein and Manisha Bewtra.
Another presenter, Doug Weinstock of Visions Inc., is recuperating from a bicycle accident and cannot present. Visions Inc. has rescheduled this session for 7 p.m. July 27. In the meantime, the public is invited to view the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Climate Assessment and final report conducted on the Arlington Police Department in January.
Haynes is an Emmy award-winning journalist with more than 15 years of broadcast experience. Her Priced Out series on Boston 25 has been nominated for a Northeast Regional Emmy award, and focuses on exposing the disparate impact of the housing crisis in Massachusetts. She is a Events Working Group Lead on the Arlington Human Rights Commission, member of the Boston Association of Black Journalists, NAACP, and is a trained facilitator in gender-based violence prevention and incidents in racism through Northeastern University's Center for Sport in Society.
Crystal holds a bachelor's in broadcast journalism from Emerson College, and a master's degree in media advocacy (winter 2020) from Northeastern University's College of Arts, Media and Design. She grew up in Springfield, Mass., but has called Arlington home since 2017 joining her husband and his family who have lived in town for more than four generations.
Einstein is an associate professor of political science at Boston University and a faculty fellow at Boston University's Initiative on Cities. She studies urban policy, racial and ethnic politics, housing policy, and land use, and has published multiple peer-reviewed articles on these topics. She is one of the authors of the book Neighborhood Defenders: Participatory Politics and America's Housing Crisis (Cambridge University Press, 2019).
Bewtra, AICP, is a certified city planner, working as the senior associate at Beacon Leadership Collaborative as well as a sole proprietor offering workshop facilitation and public process consultation. She lives in Melrose, where she has served as a Human Rights Commissioner, a city councilor-at-large, and where she ran for mayor last year.
Over her career, Manisha has worked with dozens of cities and towns across Massachusetts and beyond. She’s worked as a planner at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council and the Massachusetts Housing Partnership and has taught urban planning students at the Harvard School of Design and at Arizona State University. She is a knowledgeable and experienced leader who brings different perspectives together, facilitates conversations around change, and generates data-informed solutions that move communities forward.
The presentation will review the process of conducting the assessment and participation, a document review of the departments policies, procedures and practices, and will provide the findings and recommendations.
The report will be available soon. Community members will be notified so they can read it prior to the presentation. We encourage that questions be submitted before the event.
Tuesday, July 21, 7 p.m.: Elevating Suppressed Voices
This will be a conversation in which strictly people-of-color community members will be heard, but the session is open for all to attend. The series is co-sponsored by the Arlington Human Rights Commission, which seeks a one- or two-minute video (horizontal) with your name, role in Arlington (resident, student, work here, etc.), and a one- to two-minute perspective. The deadline to upload to Dropbox was July 17. To remain anonymous, you can also email your written perspective to ahrcevents at gmail.com, and we will share it without identifying you.
Oct. 12, 2019: From fury to reason, 27 address Pedrini issue for 3rd week
This news announcement was was published Wednesday, June 17, 2020, and updated Sept. 24. Much of the information comes from the town's website. Some is reported by Bob Sprague.
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