Arlington Response Coordination Plan for Human Rights

Arlington has as its mission to be a warm and welcoming community to all. Occasionally this mission is tested by human rights violations and/or a hate crime that may be directed at the whole community*. When Town leaders speak in unison, it sends a clear message to those who have been targeted that they are valued members of our community and that hate will not be tolerated. A unified response also helps dissolve confusion and misinformation while reinstituting calm.

In order to provide a unified voice, a Response Coordination Team (RCT) has been formed under the auspices of the Arlington Human Rights Commission (AHRC). The RCT is chaired by the AHRC and is comprised of the Chief of Police, the Superintendent of Schools, the Town Public Information Officer, and representatives of the School Committee, Selectmen, the Diversity Task Group of Vision 2020, and local clergy.

 In the event that a human rights violation affects the community at large, the RCT will convene in a timely manner to determine a course of unified action with the goal of preserving civil discourse and behavior in the Arlington community:

  1. When a human rights violation, or threat of one is reported to the AHRC, a determination will be made as to whether it rises to the level of a full community response. If it does, the RCT will be notified.

  2. The RCT will convene, along with any community members pertinent to the situation, to determine a response plan. Such a plan will take into consideration:
    • Ensuring individual, group, and community safety
    • Supporting the individual/group affected
    • Developing a joint statement from Town leaders, providing clear information
    • Determining methods for how town members can support the individual/group
    • Reaching out to State and National agencies for support services

  3. Subsequent actions will be determined according to the specific incident.

The work of the RCT is but one vehicle the Town uses for addressing human rights violations. Many Town-based groups provide an array of services including educational forums, supporting the schools in addressing related issues, and ensure fair housing and employment practices.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of a human rights violation, please refer to the Hate Crimes Resource Guide at arlingtonma.gov, or contact the Arlington Human Rights Commission at 781-316-3250 or info@arlingtonhumanrights.org.

 

*Definitions

  • Hate Crime: “Hate crime is the violence of intolerance and bigotry, intended to hurt and intimidate someone because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, religious, sexual orientation, or disability. The purveyors of hate use explosives, arson, weapons, vandalism, physical violence, and verbal threats of violence to instill fear in their victims, leaving them vulnerable to more attacks and feeling alienated, helpless, suspicious and fearful.” (U.S. Department of Justice Website on Hate Crimes)

     

     

  • Human Rights: “Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.” (United Nations Human Rights, http://www.ohchr.org/en/issues/Pages/WhatareHumanRights.aspx)