Your View

Your View is the place for opinion at YourArlington.com. It is the site's only blog. Please submit your opinions to be considered for publication on this site. The best opinions are those supported by facts. You cannot expect to be published if your views lack factual support or if you make personal attacks. For your views to be published, your full, real name is required.
4 minutes reading time (804 words)

She went for a run at AHS -- and ran into hate

Naomi Greenfield, Precinct 15 Town Meeting member and cochair of the Arlington Human Rights Commission presented the following statement to Town Meeting on Wednesday, May 2:

Hate Has No Home Here logo

This morning, on my way to meet my running group at the Arlington High School track, I was stunned and disgusted to see a hateful antigay slur spray-painted on the parking lot pavement next to my car. A few steps away, a similar sentiment was scrawled on the building itself along with a swastika on a nearby trash barrel.

I took photos of the graffiti and notified the Arlington Police Department, who were on the scene before I even finished one lap on the track, and the Rainbow Commission, the Department of Health and Human Services, DPW, the Board of Selectmen, the Superintendent, Principal Janger, the town manager and the Diversity Task Group were already notified and starting to take action before I had even finished my breakfast.

This, my fellow Town Meeting members, is how we do things in Arlington. We should be very proud of this immediate response and the seriousness with which every group treated this incident. 

11 may have been involved

Unfortunately, as I learned later this morning, these hate messages outside the school were not the only damage done. There was extensive vandalism throughout the high school from what we now know is 11 individuals, many of whom were caught on exterior surveillance cameras.

As the cochair of the Arlington Human Rights Commission, I have now been privy to hear about too many hate-inspired incidents in Arlington. In the year and a half I have been on the commission, we have seen the number of these incidents rise, whether it be swastikas, racist, ethnic, antigay, hateful graffiti on the bike path, on private property and in school bathrooms. As we talked about last week, words and language matter and these hateful words, scrolled in our public spaces, in the spaces our educators, students, school building workers, and visitors frequent are unacceptable, offensive and frankly, just disgusting. 

So tonight, here at Town Meeting, on behalf of the Arlington Human Rights Commission, I would like to state that here in Arlington, we are constantly striving and fighting to be an inclusive, welcoming and equitable community. Incidents and human rights violations like this and others we have responded to have absolutely and unequivocally no place in Arlington. This is not who we are. 

That said, if you or someone you know ever feels unsafe or that they are being targeted or treated unfairly or attacked in any way because of their race, gender, ethnicity, or religion, please notify the AHRC and the APD as soon as possible. If you see hate graffiti like I saw this morning, please take a picture of it and share it with us as soon as possible.

Connect at Town Meeting

Please also take a moment during the break tonight to introduce yourself and connect with a current AHRC commissioner, as there are several of us in the room tonight who also serve as fellow Town Meeting Members. I’ll ask them to stand up now: Dave Swanson (Precinct 5), Christine Carney (Precinct 11), Sheri Baron (Precinct 7) and Bill Logan (Precinct 2).

We would be more than happy to talk to you. I want to especially thank AHS Principal Janger for his swift response and impressive mobilizing of the entire AHS community on what should have been a beautiful spring day. I encourage you all to stop by AHS to see the beautiful response of positive messaging that the students chalked on the outside of the building today. Thank you also to the Rainbow Commission for partnering with us to craft a beautiful, thoughtful and empowering statement which I encourage you all to read. 

Be an upstander, not a bystander

And lastly, I want to ask all of you -- everyone in this room -- in addition to the important role you all play as town officials or Town Meeting members or visitors, I’d like to ask that everyone tonight commit to being an upstander and not a bystander.

When you hear someone -- your friend, your family members, your co-workers, a person on the T, on the street, on the internet or in the park -- when you hear someone say something derogatory about someone who looks, lives, or loves different than yourselves, it is your job to speak up.

The people who wrote this hateful language have likely also spoken that same hateful language out loud, in public and to other people. Let’s stop this hate as soon as we hear it. That is our job as citizens, as residents of Arlington and as human beings. It is our job to make sure that Arlington is a place for all. Thank you. 


This statement was published Thursday, May 3, 2018.

Town of Arlington to LGBTQIA+ students: You belong

Related Posts

 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Thursday, 19 May 2022
If you'd like to register, please fill in the username, password and name fields.

Captcha Image

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.yourarlington.com/

YOUR VIEW: Opinions: MBTA, Roe, Alewife, racism, film, Ukraine, letters, poetry

Your Businesses

Latest comments

John Yurewicz Alewife Brook sewage campaign: Support from Ellen Mass
05 March 2022
The Thorndike Place apartment and pavement construction will re-direct natural underground aquifers ...
Bob Sprague Letters: Emailing Advocate? Copy it here. Roe v. Wade?
17 January 2022
Let the public know with a letter to the editor. For details, see https://www.yourarlington.com/easy...

Housing Authority

Your People

Lt. Dan Kelly

Retired Arlington police lieutenant dies at 58

Lt. Dan Kelly Lt. Dan Kelly, a retired member of the Arlington Police Department, died Tuesday, May 3, after fighting cancer for several years, Chief Julie Flaherty said in a report by YourArlington partner Patch. Kelly, 58, served 32 years as a decorated member of the Arlington Police Department.…
Sulinha Boucher, 2022

Younger than 5: 4th album for Arlington musician

Sulinha Boucher “We Should Be Kind." Listen to it here >> Sulinha Boucher, an Arlington musician for 30 years who is originally from Brazil, has recorded her fourth album for children, “We Should Be Kind." Perhaps you have heard her at the Robbins and Fox libraries, where she has performed for the…
Tony and Jeff Whittemore head for Montreal.

Film premieres pony tale: When 2 boys went to Montreal

Tony and Jeff Whittemore head for Montreal. / 1967 family photo UPDATED April 29: In 1967 two young boys and their beloved pony took off on a monthlong adventure that brought them fame, fun and a wealth of great stories. Tony Whittemore, 11 at the time, and his brother Jeff, 9, drove a pony cart…






FACEBOOK BOX: To see all images, click the PHOTOS link just below

 



Support YourArlington

An informed Arlington
keeps democracy alive

Donate Button

YourArlington is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Your contributions are tax-deductible.

Wednesday Newsletter

Your Arts

Your Police, Fire

Development

Site Partners

Patch header

Arlington Patch

Arlington Patch has been reporting about the town since 2010. The national site with local outlets…