There’s an important resource in our neighboring town. The Winchester Multicultural Network serves not only Winchester but also nearby towns like Arlington. For some time, I’d noticed announcements of their events and workshops – especially interesting to folks like me who work in the arena of diversity.
And then this spring the Network sponsored a day-long workshop on “Multicultural Communication” – just what I needed as our Arlington Diversity Task Group was moving more actively and visibly into addressing racism and unheard voices in the community. It was a challenging, practical, and excellent workshop led by Dr. Valerie Batts who modeled the communication strategies and behaviors she was inviting us to try out. The three of us representing our Diversity group talked about ways to “take home” to our group what we were learning.
I was impressed that a number of workshop participants were Winchester residents who wanted to use their town committee positions to increase and improve communication with and involvement of the diverse populations in their town. Clearly this Network, through its education and support activities, strengthens relationships, systems, and institutions within its town. It offers both a model and educational resources to those of us who are neighbors – also concerned about establishing welcoming communities that listen to and honor all our residents.
Mary Harrison is a member of Arlington’s Vision 2020 Standing Committee and Diversity Task Group.