Town Manager Andrew Flanagan announced that Andover has created a new division of local government focused on diversity and inclusion.
“The division will provide resources and will take dedicated, thoughtful actions and initiatives to promote goals we aspire to in our town,” Flanagan wrote in a statement June 29.
The statement follows recent racist incidents in town that came after George Floyd, a Black man, died while in police custody in Minneapolis over Memorial Day weekend. Outrage ensued and race relations were catapulted back into the national spotlight.
Following Floyd's death, protests swept the nation, including one here in Andover.
Soon after, racist social media posts made by Andover High School students began recirculating. The posts, which were years old, were sent to school administrators and the administration sent them to police. Police at the time said they were looking into them.
In another incident, an off-duty lieutenant with Andover Fire Rescue was placed on paid administrative leave after he was caught on camera accusing a 19-year-old Dominican woman and lifelong Andover resident of stealing mail from her own mailbox.
“As we all know, our community experienced an incident involving race several weeks ago that had no place in Andover,” Flanagan wrote. “This incident is in the process of being addressed and our focus remains on what will result in the most acceptable outcome to the resident that was impacted.”
In addition to the creation the Diversity and Inclusion Division, Flanagan has announced a community forum on racism that’s expected to take place in July.