On October 21st, the Town learned that a symbol of hate was placed in the front yard of a home in Andover. Symbols and acts of hate have no place in Andover and in every case, they will be actively and thoroughly investigated by the Andover Police Department.
Andover is not immune to such acts and symbols of hate, and we must work collaboratively to reject such expressions and embrace our shared values: tolerance, inclusiveness, and respect of diversity in all its forms. The symbol discovered yesterday is not reflective of the community, its strong commitment to combat the realities of racism, and its ongoing efforts to build a more inclusive Andover. While these acts are both destructive and hurtful, we cannot let them impede the progress we are making together.
On September 28th, the Select Board and Town Manager adopted a goal for 2020-2021 that focuses expressly on advancing the community’s work around diversity, equity, and inclusion. Here is a summary of the goal:
Advance community discussions around diversity, equity and inclusion and develop roadmap for next steps:
Work towards this goal is well underway. We are fortunate to benefit from the talents and commitment of several leaders in the community who stepped forward as we advance these efforts. They leaders are:
Together, this group will finalize a survey instrument and design our approach to focus group conversations with residents and businesses. That work is underway and will continue through the month of October.
We intend to launch the community-wide survey by the end of October and to schedule and begin conducting focus groups shortly thereafter. Once these activities are completed, Project Consultant Rick Pinderhughes will provide the Town with a set of recommended action steps that align with the community’s shared priorities.
The Select Board and Town Manager will continue to provide regular updates on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative. The next update is scheduled for the November 2nd Select Board Meeting.
The Select Board and Town Manager thank you in advance for your participation.