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Respond & Prevent: Empowering Young People in Aftermath of Hate

Updated: Jun 6, 2019

AHRC and the Bishop Diversity and Inclusion Group sponsored a special dialogue to discuss how APS families, teachers, and staff can address, respond, and prevent incidents of hate and bias in our schools.

When incidents of hate, such as hate symbol graffiti, occur in our community, one of the first questions many people ask is, “What should we tell the children?” This interactive forum will provide educators, family members and other interested community members with guidance and recommendations for addressing hate incidents with our students. It will also explore ways that families and community members can partner with and support our schools to help prevent and respond to school-based incidents.

This program was moderated by Stacy Davison, an Arlington resident with two children in the Arlington Public Schools, who for nearly two decades has served our community, as a former member of the Arlington Human Rights Commission, Ottoson Middle School Building Respect Task Group, Arlington Superintendent’s Diversity Advisory Committee and facilitator for a community dialogue series called Race and Place. Stacy has facilitated anti-bias training programs for the Anti-Defamation League's A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute since 2000. She launched and managed ADL New England’s anti-bias program for educators and family members of preschool children. She has an MA in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University and is a certified mediator.

Opening Remarks by AHRC Co-Chair, Naomi Greenfield

Welcome everyone to this evening’s program: Respond and Prevent: Empowering Young People in the Aftermath of a Hate Incident. My name is Naomi Greenfield and I’m the Co-Chair of the Arlington Human Rights Commission and a parent of a 3rd grader and kindergartener at Stratton. This program came together as a joint effort by the Bishop Diversity and Inclusion Group, the Arlington Human Rights Commission, and the Anti-Defamation League’s Education team as a response to recent incidents of hate symbol graffiti in our town and, specifically and most recently on the blacktop at Bishop. The hate incidents that occured in our town reflect a growing trend nationwide of people acting on hateful impulses. In light of this trend, we felt it critical to come together as a community to learn why these incidents are on the rise and to explore what we can do to react, respond, and empower students in their aftermath.

The goal of this evening is for us to come together as a community--parents, teachers, principals, school administrators, police officers and community members--to better understand what is going on in our schools and community related to hate incidents and hate graffiti. We have invited the ADL Education team who have been doing the important work of responding to and preventing hate incidents all over the state, region and country so that we can learn from their expertise and walk away with some tools for responding and preventing these incidents. We are so grateful this evening to have Stacy Davison, an Arlington resident, parent, former member of the AHRC and a longtime member of the ADL Education team as our program facilitator for the evening.

I want to thank 5th grade Bishop teacher Rebecca Bell, the Bishop Diversity and Inclusion Group, and Principal Mark McAneny for all the hard work they put in to pull this together. And I want to thank the ADL for listening to our needs and putting together what I know will be an informative and empowering program for our community.

Before we get started, I want to acknowledge that the topic of hate incidents, especially in our schools, can be a really difficult one to think about and stomach. Some of us in the audience may have had direct experience with one of these incidents in the past or recently. I want to remind everyone to be present and respectful in our discussion, to be active listeners, to use “I” statements when talking, ground your statements in facts and not conjectures, and to assume best intentions of everyone who is here tonight. Tonight is not about pointing fingers, assigning blame, or making excuses.We are all here because we care about our community, our students, our families and our schools and it is time for us to work together to fight and prevent the rise of hate in our community. Every time we come together as a community in the face of adversity, we make our community stronger and better.

Before I pass off to Stacy, I just want to note that there are postcards and a small basket on the resource tables in the back. If you have a question that you would like to get answered during the Q and A session, please write it down and put it in the basket. We will try to get to as many as possible in the end, but if we run out of time, we will make sure to read all of them and try to answer them in the follow up to the event. Also in the back table, the AHRC is selling Hate Has No Home Signs and there is a book display table with some suggested titles of books that may help guide some of your discussions with your children and students.

So now I will pass off the mic to Stacy to begin the program.


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