It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our dear friend and NDI president, David Summergrad.
David was a tireless advocate for inclusivity, equity, love and kindness amongst all peoples. He cast a wide net with his heart and mind - inspiring, encouraging and educating in Needham and in multiple communities beyond. He will be missed by the Needham Diversity Initiative and all the other communities he contributed so much to.
In this week of turmoil, we pause for a moment to pay tribute to those that did so much before us. But to honor their memories, we cannot help but make this absolute pledge.
David Summergrad, today we mourn, but tomorrow we continue the fight.
Parents, there is work to be done. In a time of violence and civil unrest and seeing the fissures if racial inequality to clearly, let is all take action and make a difference. Here is how: 1. Teach our children to be upstanders, not bystanders (and then model this ourselves) 2. Call out racism (conscious and unconscious) when we see and hear it, and do this in a public way that our children can see 3. Teach, teach, teach them - and read together, a book like: Between the World and Me - by Ta-Nehisi Coates 4. Remind children (and ourselves) that we can make a difference in our respective spheres of influence. If we can affect only one life we have contributed toward the change we hope to see
Children should be encouraged by parents to open discussions about race, bias and difference at home and with friends
Children can inspire conversation by asking their teachers questions to help them and their peers better process issues about race, difference and bias
Allow kids to practice advocacy/speaking up in a safe space at home with examples of different scenarios - we used episodes of ABC's What Would You Do? with John Quinones as the stimulus for family conversations about standing up for others
Have you heard about the Lived Experiences Project (LEP), Needham's grassroots "stories for change" initiative? If you have experienced racism or identity-based violence, please participate. All stories are anonymous and can be shared confidentially. Participants can share a story on behalf of themselves or someone else. LEP's first report, drawing on aggregate story data, comes out in September. If yes, please tell us your story.
WITH SUPPORT FROM: 100 Women Who Care of Needham Needham Human Rights Committee Needham Cultural Council Massachusetts Cultural Council Needham Baha'i Community Needham Congregational Church First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church Needham Community Education and the Needham Public Schools