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Community Conversations: Racism and Reforms

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

Dear Arlington friends and neighbors,

The Town of Arlington will be holding a series of Community events over the next few months. Below are the dates, times and descriptions of each event, as they were posted on the Town's website. We will update this page with links to register as soon as they are made available.

Community Conversations: Racism and Reforms

Listen, learn, and working toward racial equity.

Post Date:06/17/2020 2:50 PM

A series of community conversations centered around racism, racial equity, and policing in Arlington is set to begin 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. Please mark your calendar for the upcoming Community Conversations. Tuesday June 23, 7pm: Calling Out the Issues- A Time of Reflection and Action 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. Attendees will be able to submit questions before hand and during the event. Watch this session.

Tuesday July 7 Community Conversations: Racism and Housing 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

Arlington is committed to studying and addressing issues of housing discrimination. On July 1st, The Housing Discrimination Testing Program (HDTP) at Suffolk University Law School, Analysis Group, and the Boston Foundation released a new study finding Greater Boston landlords and agents are discriminating against Black renters and those with Section 8 housing vouchers, illegally shutting out qualified renters.

Testers were sent to 11 neighborhoods in Boston proper, and nine Greater Boston cities and towns including Arlington. 

Below is the report. 

Download PDF • 1.86MB

Also included is a recent "Fair Housing and Equity Assessment for Metropolitan Boston" from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). 

MAPC Fair_Housing_and_Equity_Assessment
Download • 4.33MB

Session 3 Wednesday July 15, 7pm: Arlington Public Schools Talk About School Discipline

Arlington Public Schools administrators will present findings on school discipline, and answer questions posed by Arlington families. The panel will include Superintendent Kathleen Bodie and Assistant Superintendent Roderick MacNeal, Jr. They will be joined by Principals from Arlington High School, Ottoson Middle School, and the Gibbs School, as well as several elementary school Principals. All district families have been invited to register for the talk and to submit a question ahead of time. Prior to answering questions, the panel will share recent discipline data together with an analysis of it, and the district’s current plan to address issues of disproportionality. Learn more about the speakers. APS Talks about School Discipline Presentation

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. Watch the video below.


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. Register and add to your iCalendar.

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 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: Tuesdays, 7-8:30pm,  6/30, 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.

Arlington values equity, diversity, and inclusion. We are committed to building a community where everyone is heard, respected, and protected.

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Phone: 781-316-3250

By Mail: 27 Maple Street

Arlington, MA 02476


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