On Monday, the Marblehead Racial Justice Team hosted its monthly Conversations on Race program that took place in the Marblehead Museum as well as on Zoom.
This month’s topic focused on “What Afro-Latinos Want You to Know (about Racism)” and before starting, Dr. Cheryl Boots, who runs the Conversations on Race and the Racial Justice Team alongside Pamela Barker, told those in attendance why the program was started in the first place.
“We started Conversations on Race as a way to bring people together from Marblehead.The important thing for us was that these were conversations that offered a safe and welcoming place,” said Boots. “We wanted people to feel like they could ask questions about biases and privilege. We wanted to be a place where we listen to each other, we can speak honestly, but compassionately and that we can engage in topics that are related to racism in America.”
Boots then went over guidelines for the evening before attendees were shown a four-minute video focusing on Afro-Latinos and their experiences with not only racism, but the struggle also of dealing with racism even within their own communities.
After the video, a discussion was held on diversity and inclusion of Latinx people in Marblehead, specifically focusing on why there is a lack of diversity in the town and what others can do to make it a more inclusive community.
Lou Meyi, a member of the Racial Justice Team, commented on those attending the program and how they have a real chance to have a serious conversation on diversity and inclusion in their own community.
“We have this opportunity among ourselves here to experience and talk about this because we don’t necessarily get to be in environments in our own town that can let us see this,” Meyi said referring to seeing people of other ethnicities in town.
Meyi also noted during the conversation that in the last few years, the number of people who identify as Hispanic and have moved into town has increased, according to data that was gathered just prior to the 2020 Census.
Conversations at the event on creating a more inclusive community involved creating store signs in both Spanish and English, as well as making housing in the area more affordable.
The Marblehead Racial Justice team has been running for nearly a decade and has a primary goal of “dismantling racism in Marblehead and in the larger world.”
The next program in the series will be a panel discussion called ”Untold Stories: A History of Black People in Lynn” which will take place Jan. 23. Leading the discussion will be Lynn Museum/Lynn Arts Executive Director Doneeca Thurston, board member Iris Kimber, and Lynn resident Tara Agaba.
To register for the event, visit https://fareharbor.com/embeds/book/marbleheadmuseum/items/408079/calendar/2023/01/?flow=667971&full-items=yes.