Wellesley Select Board to discuss recent reported racist incidents

The Wellesley Select Board has scheduled a meeting on Friday at which it will discuss its response to “recently reported racist incidents in Wellesley.”

The meeting takes place Feb. 19 at 10am, and can be viewed live online via Wellesley Public Media or on TV at Comcast 8/Verizon 40.

Any reported racist incidents that are part of the discussion will undoubtedly be considered through the lens of the Tolerance Pledge, adopted in 2016, in which the Select Board reaffirmed its position that “Wellesley is a town that highly values diversity, dignity and respect for all individuals. Wellesley strives to be a welcoming town; therefore, the Board opposes expressions of hate, intolerance and discrimination. The Board encourages the entire Wellesley community to continue to exhibit caring and supportive actions in support of our diversity.”

A Town Meeting member and candidate for Select Board said she recently received a letter that was racist in content and tone from a fellow Town Meeting member. The writer was said to have taken TMM and Select Board candidate Ann-Mara Lanza to task for her views on diversity saying, “Just because you think you are ‘good’ by forcing diversity, does not mean you are. You are simply imposing upon the rest of us what you want. Not what we want.”

Lanza on her campaign website lists celebrating diversity as one of her values saying, “Every person brings an important and unique perspective to the conversation, strengthening our town.” She read an excerpt of the email in an episode of Chatting it Up With Rama on Wellesley Public Media (go to the 12:37 mark).

Although Lanza did not identify the writer on Wellesley Public Media, after the interview a conversation surfaced on social media, garnering over 100 comments and leading to an eventual “outing” of the email writer, who specifically targeted Black people. The email writer’s TMM current term expires in 2021, and she is listed a candidate for re-election for another term.

World of Wellesley put out a statement saying the views of the writer are “indicative of the sickening reality that we have a great deal of work to do to ensure that all members of the Wellesley community, regardless of their race, ethnicity or nationality, are treated with the dignity and respect that we all deserve.”