Undoing Racism Organizing Collective hosts racial equity meeting at Jones

On Saturday December 19, a meeting “for racial equity” was held by the Amherst chapter of the Undoing Racism Organizing Collective.

The group met in the Amherst Room at the Jones library, with about a dozen attendees.

The stated goal of this meeting, according to the group’s announcement, was “to hear what families are happy about, have concerns about, and are needing for their children, especially in regards to the children’s schooling.”

The meeting consisted of the reading of different questions about the experiences of people of color in the Amherst school system and then free discussion about the question.

The first question was “How do you feel your culture is respected?” which was followed by “How do you feel your culture is not respected?”

Positive experiences parents recalled in

cluded a Cambodian cultural celebration that took place in Amherst elementary schools in years past.

However, parents had more concerns when faced with these questions. One issue discussed was the idea of having separate awards nights for minority students.

Some thought that having a separate ceremony when only minority students were honored implied that minority students wouldn’t be able to get an award on the all-school achievement night.

Other parents felt that minority achievement nights were necessary to provide encouragement and incentives to students of color with a historical achievement gap compared to white students.

The meeting proper started with the reading of a “contract.”

Each time a point of the contract was read, it was written on the whiteboard and left up for the rest of the meeting.

The contract contained rules like “cultivating a space of respect,” about how to interact and participate in a respectful manner.

UROC’s mission is to “organize, educate, communicate, and provide resources to undo racism in our families, communities, and institutions.”

Group members seek to do this “with humanity, integrity, and accountability.”