Weston begins working toward a more antiracist atmosphere

Weston+residents+at+BLM+protest+in+May

Livvy Yun

Weston residents at BLM protest in May

Alexandra Liang and Livvy Yun

In light of current events involving racial injustice, the Weston community has been reflecting about its part in racial issues and how they have been addressed in the past. Although steps have been made in the right direction, WHS continues to strive toward a more antiracist environment.

School committee member Alyson Muzila talked about the opportunity that Weston has to model anti-racist initiatives through public forums, marches, dialogues, and events. 

“Many of us who are the beneficiaries of white privilege are just beginning to see the painful truths that built America’s racist past and present. Witnessing these truths requires constant learning, listening, and moving aside to allow the voices and stories of BIPOC communities to share their experiences,” Muzila said. “We must listen and affirm their traumas, whether they happen in Weston schools, as members of a religious community, as CEOs or employees, while driving a car, or walking on a street.”

Police Officer Andrew Gribbons is also striving to listen more to other’s experiences. He spoke on his perspective as a police officer.

“I know that although people may have had negative interactions with police, each interaction I have is one opportunity to regain their trust.” Gribbons said. “Like many, I became a police officer to help people, and my number one goal is to treat people like I would want any of my family members to be treated.”

METCO director La Toya Rivers shared her thoughts on how the school should approach the root of racism starting with teachers and the administration. 

“We need to make it known that there is a zero tolerance policy for racism. We should equip teachers and administrators with training on how to handle matters of racism as well as find developmentally appropriate support for those students who violate and show a lack of understanding,” Rivers said. “Those supports would include restorative justice measures to help repair damage done. It will also consist of race and tolerance education to help develop a deeper understanding of the impact of their actions on our community.”

Last may, hundreds of Weston residents participated in a BLM protest for the killing of George Floyd and countless other lives. Furthermore, the administration and student body responded in several ways, from sending out formal emails condemning any form of racism to creating an Instagram page called “pocatweston”. Through this page, people of color (POC) can share stories of racial incidents at school. 

“I think the way Weston handled it was very mature, and creating that Instagram page allowed people to become aware of the things that happen in Weston and in our society,” junior Natalia Hyman commented on these responses. “Things that could be little to them could be super big to other people. But I think Weston should’ve already handled it correctly in the first place.”

Similarly, Muzila believes that Weston has been circling around the issue of race but not properly addressing it. She spoke about her hopes for Weston’s future in racial justice. 

“It is time to stop talking in circles, to stop generalizing about race, color, profession, hometown, gender, sexual preference, and age—and to hear the young people and those who are angry—and to not walk away,” Muzila said. “We need to face the facts, find our common love for humanity, become an anti-racist ally, and fight for justice. Weston—that’s your challenge.”