WESTWOOD, MA – As the country prepares to celebrate Black History Month in February, the community group Inclusive Westwood is gaining momentum in the movement toward equity for historically marginalized populations.
Formed in 2016 by a group of concerned parents, Inclusive Westwood recently garnered more than 500 signatures in a signature drive to demonstrate residents’ commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in Westwood.
“This was a very grassroots effort,” said Inclusive Westwood cofounder Mandy Taft-Pearman, who has three children who attend the Westwood Public Schools. “It was parents coming together initially to engage about issues in the schools about diversity, inclusion and equity. We questioned whether all students are supported in the ways that are needed and whether they felt included and welcomed.
“We sought to be a broad umbrella when we talk about the different angles of inclusivity,” she added. This umbrella includes people of different races, cultures, religions, abilities, and sexual orientations.
Taft-Pearman said that the organization is entirely comprised of volunteers committed to this effort. There have been waves that have triggered increased participation, particularly the town election in 2016, anti-Muslim discrimination in 2017 and the murder of George Floyd coupled with COVID-19 in 2020.
The group has b
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