Dr. Maria Madison & Andrew Nyamekye

Committee campaigns for a more inclusive Concord

By Kelly Walters - Correspondent

The Town of Concord has created a new committee designed to combat racism and promote inclusivity called the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Commision.

The commission began operating in the Spring of 2021, and includes nine Concord residents who reflect the diversity of the town and set goals to ensure that all who visit, live, work or attend school in Concord are welcomed and respected. Link: DEI-Commission

Nancy Brown, who co-chairs a DEI group at the League of Women Voters’s (LWVCC) pushed for the creation of the commission after the murder of George Floyd in 2020 by appealing to Concord’s Select Board.

“We started looking at what other communities were doing,” Brown said. “We became aware that there was not a DEI Commission in Concord and there is in fact in most other towns… so that became our mission.”

The commission is currently hosting a series of seminars in collaboration with the LWVCC that brings in speakers to discuss Concord’s history, education system and land use through a DEI lens. Historians shared about the role black and indigenous people played in the early days of Concord’s founding, and local educators considered the ways in which the Concord and Carlisle public school system can create more inclusive learning environments for all students. Andrew Nyamekye, who directs a DEI group at the Concord-Carlisle school district, stated that while the town’s schools host students from 80 nationalities, teachers of color make up just 10 percent of educators. The seminars have garnered an enthusiastic response from the community, Brown shared, with about 70 people attending the first event in person and many more tuning in on zoom.

The commission also plans to learn more about the experiences of Concord residents from historically underrepresented groups through a biannual town survey, Select Board Chair Matthew Johnson stated. This year, the survey will include questions designed to gather information about residents’ experiences in order to identify areas of systemic racism in Concord. Link: DEI-Commission-Charge The DEI Commission is not alone in its efforts to make Concord a more inclusive place moving forward, particularly as town officials look ahead to Concord’s
250th year celebration in 2025.

“I think this town needs to wake up,” Brown said. “It has not been truly a welcoming place for people of color… I would like to see this become a much more diverse town.”

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