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Community Conversations: Racism and Reforms

Listen, learn, and working toward racial equity.

Post Date:06/10/2020 2:50 PM

A series of community conversations centered around racism, racial equity, and policing in Arlington began on Tuesday June 23, 2020. 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. The series is co-sponsored by the Arlington Human Rights Commission.

True Story Theater Dialogue
Watch, listen, or share personal experiences.

Paralleling the Town hosted conversations, you are invited to attend an online “story theatre 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 theater 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: Tuesdays, 7-8:30pm,  7/14, 7/28, 8/11.  You must register ahead to receive the link.  See True Story Theater for examples of their work.  

As the conversations continue to develop, additional information will be provided. At this time if you wish to submit a question or topic please fill out this form.

Anyone needing accessibility information or other assistance in order to attend this meeting should contact Jillian Harvey, This meeting is open to all interested individuals.

Please mark your calendar for the upcoming Community Conversations or watch past sessions.

Tuesday July 21, 7pm: Elevating Suppressed Voices
Elevating Suppressed Voices will be a conversation in which strictly POC (people of color) community members will be heard, but the session is open for all to attend. Far too often community members of color are spoken for or on behalf of. This session is meant to highlight the voices of People of Color that go unheard or are drowned out by the loudest and most vocal voices. Perspectives and experiences will be shared, concerns can be voiced and visions of change will be explored. We will be talking with long time and new residents, youth including students who are a part of the METCO program and individuals who work in town. We encourage that questions be submitted before the event. We are also looking for people of color to share their experiences. Learn more and add to your iCalendar.

Monday July 27, 7pm: VISIONS, Inc. Diversity/Equity/Inclusion Climate Assessment of APD
Dr. Michelle Holmes and Doug Weinstock of VISIONS, Inc. will be presenting on the Arlington Police Department: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Climate Assessment and Final Report that that 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. You may view the report here.  We encourage that questions be submitted before the event. Register and add to your iCalendar.

Tuesday August 4, 7pm: Closing the Circle- Acknowledgment & Apology
Acknowledgment & Apology is the theme for this segment in which Lt. Pedrini will be participating. This is an opportunity for Lt. Pedrini to address the community and we will continue the conversation of civil rights and advocacy. Add to your iCalendar.

Watch Past Sessions

Calling Out the Issues- A Time of Reflection and Action
Session 1 June 23, 2020

Moderated by Jillian Harvey, DEI Coordinator and Allentza Michel, DEI Community Consultant- Powerful Pathways, the panel discussion with town leadership will reflect upon the roots of systemic racism, its implications for Arlington and acknowledge the calls for action now. Topics will cover town racial equity initiatives and goals, school data and racial disparities, and policing policies. Panelists will include Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine, Police Chief Juliann Flaherty, and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Roderick MacNeal Jr. Attendees will be able to submit questions before hand and during the event. Watch the first session below.


Community Conversations: Racism and Housing
Session 2 July 7, 2020

Due to broad public interest, the Town is adding another community conversation on July 7th. This session will discuss the intersection of race and housing and how past government policies created massive inequities.  Residents are encouraged to watch this short film, narrated by Richard Rothstein, author of “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America,” to familiarize themselves with this topic of the next session on July 7 at 7:00 p.m. We encourage that questions be submitted before the event. Read details and panelists bios.  Watch the second session below.

Session References

Study: Qualified Renters Need Not Apply: Race and Voucher Discrimination in the Metro Boston Rental Housing Market
Siteline Institute: This is How You Slow Walk Into A Housing Shortage
Housing Politics Lab  
Racism & Housing: Manisha Bewtra Presentation


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