Message from the Town Manager (provided to the Select Board on October 22, 2020):
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:
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:
- Michael Eatman, Director of Community Life, The Pike School
- Dana Allen Walsh, Senior Pastor, South Church
- Jorge Allen, World Language Program Head, Andover Public Schools
- Elizabeth Walther-Grant, Co-Founder, Merrimack Valley Black and Brown Voices
- Nicki Wiggins, Board Member, A Better Chance
- Mary Pritchard, founder, Courageous Conversations
- Rick Pinderhughes, Consultant, VISIONS
- Jemma Lambert, Director of Community Services, Town of Andover
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.
October 27, 2020
Diversity in Recreation Programming
The Recreation Division is looking for community volunteers to help us look at our array of programming with an eye to equity, diversity and inclusion.
Our hope is to make positive change in our classes, celebrations and special events to better reflect our community’s interests, values and cultural practices.
If you have an interest in working collaboratively with others by contributing ideas or suggestions, please reach out to Jemma Lambert, Director of Community Services at:
The Town of Andover would like to thank all that participated in Andover’s community conversation on matters of race/racism, equity, diversity and inclusion. Some 125 individuals came together for a virtual meeting to talk about making positive change here in Andover.
That work will begin with the completion of a community-wide survey and a series of focus group conversations to better understand our shared values and priorities here in Andover. The voices of our community will shape the direction of the work to come in both the short and long-term.
Project Consultant Rick Pinderhughes and the town's Director of Community Services Jemma Lambert will be working together with community members to complete these important first steps. Here’s what to expect in the coming weeks:
- Identification of a small, ad-hoc working group comprised of community leaders, project consultant Rick Pinderhughes and Jemma Lambert to complete the survey design, articulate a project timeline and a road map for our focus groups. It is our intention to identify community volunteers for this work in the next few weeks and to hold our first meeting in October.
- We intend to roll the survey out to the community in October, followed by the launch of a series of focus groups with a wide range of community interest groups and individuals.
- Regular status updates related to the progress of this work will be posted on the Town’s website, provided to Andover’s Select Board, and shared via social media.
Early October, 2020
Work continues toward making positive change on matters of race/racism, equity, diversity and inclusion here in Andover.
We’re exceedingly fortunate to be benefitting from the talents and commitment of several leaders in the Andover community who stepped forward to volunteer their time on our short-term working group. They are:
Michael Eatman, Director of Community Life, The Pike School
Dana Allen Walsh, Senior Pastor, South Church
Jorge Allen, World Language Program Head, Andover Public Schools
Elizabeth Walther-Grant, Co-Founder, Merrimac Valley Black and Brown Voices
Nicki Wiggins, Board Member, A Better Chance
Mary Pritchard, founder, Courageous Conversations
Andover municipal team:
Rick Pinderhughes, Consultant, VISIONS
Jemma Lambert, Director of Community Services, Town of Andover
Together this group will finalize the survey instrument and design our approach to focus group conversations with all of you. That work is underway and will continue through the month of October.
It is our hope and intent to launch the community-wide survey in 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 activities you, our community, tell us are your shared priorities.
Please share this update with your circle of connections.
We look forward to sending out a link to the survey in the coming weeks.