FRAMINGHAM – “In the wake of the recent murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau, Rayshard Brooks, and countless other Black men, women, and children I have been dedicating my time to listening and reflecting on the long historical impact of racial injustice. It is a national tragedy and we must be united in standing up against all forms of racism and oppression,” wrote South Middlesex Opportunity Council Director Jim Cuddy to staff this week.
“All Black Lives Matter. Social and economic justice are at the core of our mission at SMOC and we plan on continuing to carry out that mission with actions that match our words. Going forward we remain committed to redoubling our efforts to identify and dismantle systemic racism both inside and outside our walls. We stand with the entire Black Community – We must protect, uplift, and amplify diversity and inclusion for our Black men, women, children, and LGBTQ+ community,” said Cuddy in an email.
Listed below are some of the actions SMOC is and will be taking:
- We will operationalize our Diversity, Access, Inclusion, and Equity Committee based on the framework developed by the pilot group in 2020. The committee will help guide our continued efforts as an agency to provide leadership and facilitate conversations on matters of social justices.
- We are holding workshops for our staff to directly address the trauma brought on by racism, police brutality, and racially-motivated violence.
- Our board has recommitted to emphasizing diversity and inclusion in board recruitment and nomination practices and by partnering with community educators and organizers to ensure the board reflects the diverse communities we serve.
- The Framingham Community & Cultural Center, along with its community partners, will offer support, resources, and programs to young people who will become the next generation of social and racial justice leaders.
This original artwork was done by SMOC program specialist Melanie MacEacheron