The Recorder - My Turn: To the Greenfield School Committee — A missed opportunity

Published: 11/18/2020 8:41:56 AM On Monday, Oct. 14, I attended a Greenfield School Committee meeting, planning to speak in support ...



Published: 11/18/2020 8:41:56 AM

On Monday, Oct. 14, I attended a Greenfield School Committee meeting, planning to speak in support of funding racial justice programming in the schools. I was surprised when School Committee Chair Amy Proietti, announced she would only allow a single public comment.

At the end of the three-plus hour meeting, committee member Glenn Johnson-Mussad made a motion that $15,000 be allocated to racial justice programming. Mayor Roxann Wedegartner who identifies herself as an ally, said “if there’s a need to allocate additional funding beyond the SRO, that would be appropriate.”

Chair Proietti said, “Our school district is an inherently racist system . . . [T]his proposal is well-intended, but it doesn’t go far enough.”

Based on their comments, I was surprised when Chair Proietti and Mayor Wedegartner — along with Jean Wall, Susan Eckstrom, and Susan Hollins — voted the measure down. (Thank you to Glenn Johnson-Mussad and Katie Caron for voting yes!).

As a therapist in Franklin County, I’ve seen the impact of racism on kids of color: unfair disciplinary practices, parents afraid of retaliation if they speak up, districting of elementary schools that amplifies the impacts of race and class, and more. Chair Proiettii seems to be saying that nothing is better than something. I disagree.

As an experienced manager, I get that budgets are complicated and that dismantling systemic racism requires many actions sustained over time. However, community members are not asking for perfection. We are asking the school committee for transparent governance and community engagement. We are asking the committee to invest financially in what they say they value, which they didn’t do by rejecting a direct and reasonable ask from the community.

As a white parent, I take seriously my responsibility to teach my kid to be an anti-racist. It’s easy for us white people to express our dismay and horror at what we have the privilege to not experience every day.

But to actively disrupt white supremacy, we must put our feelings into action. Greenfield Savings Bank modeled leadership with swift, bold and sustained messaging at every facility this past summer. It is time for our city’s leaders to put their good words into good action.

Eve N. Bogdanove is a resident of Greenfield.



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Newsrust: The Recorder - My Turn: To the Greenfield School Committee — A missed opportunity
The Recorder - My Turn: To the Greenfield School Committee — A missed opportunity
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