Editor, Townsman:

“It's Up to Us to End This,” a recent article by the Rev. Michael Malcom, of the Alabama Interfaith Power and Light, is a call, especially for white people, to do the work of dismantling racism.

This includes educating ourselves about the 400-year history of racism in America and the Black experience.

What it is like to be a person of color living in Andover? 

We need to read, watch and listen as we raise our awareness of racism, and work to dismantle systemic oppression in our circles of influence, using our privilege as white people. 

Courageous Conversations’ goal is to advance and amplify a discussion about race, privilege, equity, inclusion and justice; to educate ourselves to recognize and understand the systems that tend keep white people in power, and people of color at the margins.

It has never been more important to recognize and name the injustices caused by systemic racism. It is imperative that, as white residents and community leaders in Andover, we commit ourselves to call for meaningful change in our schools, police and fire departments, businesses, and town governance.

A recent racist social media post by local students was devastating — especially to students of color. They are crushed both by the video and also by their friends who did not call it out.

We should all be crushed.

This is the most recent in a long line of racial incidents in Andover. A person of color who lives in Andover is stopped by the police while jogging, or is pulled over in his Andover neighborhood and asked why is he there, or is confronted at her own mailbox and accused of stealing. 

Racial epithets are shouted at students from car windows. People of color feel they are surveilled walking in public spaces or shopping in downtown businesses.

We cannot look away from what happens here in Andover. We must listen, reflect and wrestle with how to be an equitable, just and inclusive community that values every person — a community where Black Lives Matter too.

We need to make reforms, change policies and educate our community.  It's up to us to end this.

Mary Pritchard

Andover

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