Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition wishes to express its enthusiastic endorsement of the 12 Commitments put forward by the Building Equity Bridges movement (“Call by Building Equity Bridges: Cambridge must become an antiracist school district,” Dec. 20). Over the past two years, BEB – a joint effort of the Cambridge Public Schools and the Cambridge Education Association – has engaged more than 200 youth, families and teachers to name entrenched barriers to equity. This community-based process resulted in commitments that include making antiracism and racial equity training mandatory at every level, and elevating direct youth power.

Many of the CNC’s member organizations work directly with students of color in Cambridge and understand the harm caused to them on a daily basis by racism in our schools and around our community. Other CNC member organizations work with adults of color in Cambridge who also experience the personal pain and economic consequences of racism in their daily lives. Cambridge is not unique in its struggle to address racism honestly. But we have an opportunity to respond in a uniquely courageous way and break ground together as a community.

The commitments are the product of an enormous effort that centered the experiences of youth and adults of color. They provide a bold, valuable framework for dismantling racism and pursuing equity in our school system and wider community. We are lucky to have such a dedicated and diverse group of community members leading and organizing this effort. The CNC is grateful that Cambridge’s superintendent of schools, Kenneth Salim, endorsed these commitments and that the Cambridge School Committee passed a resolution on Jan. 21 endorsing them as well.

CNC members are similarly committed to antiracism work within our own organizations and recognize how important it is that we mirror and complement the efforts that will be undertaken by the district. We recognize that to do this and ensure our decisions and programs are also guided by an antiracist lens, we must engage in the same difficult reflective work and build institutional capacity to do so on an ongoing basis. In an effort to advance such work across the nonprofit sector, the CNC will continue leading conversations among nonprofit leaders regarding the implementation of a similar set of commitments for CNC members.

The CNC wishes to thank the young people, families, educators and providers involved directly in the Building Equity Bridges movement. We encourage all individuals invested in the Cambridge community to combat racism courageously in their personal and professional life and to find a place in our communitywide efforts in pursuit of equity.

The Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition advances equity and justice in the community by strengthening the Cambridge nonprofit sector, building collective voice and promoting collaboration.

CNC member organizations include:

Maria LaPage, Agassiz Baldwin Community
Rouwenna Altemose, All In Energy
Jenny Tak, Allium Montessori School
Gina Scaramella, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
Elissa Spelman, Breakthrough Greater Boston
Dan Yonah Marshall, Brookline/Cambridge Community Center for the Arts
Sharon Zimmerman, Cambridge Camping Association
Darrin Korte, Cambridge Community Center
Susan Fleischmann, Cambridge Community Television
Tina Alu, Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee
Robert Gittens, Cambridge Family and Children’s Service
Theodora Skeadas, Cambridge Local First
Jan Latorre-Stiller, Cambridge Neighbors
Meg Ramsdell, Cambridge School Volunteers
Laurie Rothstein, Cambridge Volunteer Clearinghouse
Jessye Kass, Cambridge Women’s Center
Laura Jasinski, Charles River Conservancy
Jane Hirschi, CitySprouts
David Gibbs, Community Action Agency of Somerville
Eryn Johnson, Community Art Center
Gail S. Packer, Community Dispute Settlement Center
Salvatore Bramante, Dante Alighieri Society of Massachusetts
Michael Delia, East End House
Ben Clark, Enroot
Sasha Purpura, Food For Free
Steven Nutter, Green Cambridge
Peter Daly, Homeowner’s Rehab Inc.
Michael K. Dawson, Innovators for Purpose
Carl Nagy-Koechlin, Just-A-Start
Kimberly Massenburg, Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House
Paulo Pinto, Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers
Martha Sandler, On The Rise
Robin Nadeau, Per Scholas Greater Boston
Ronnie Millar, Rian Immigrant Center
Jyoti Sinha, South Asian Workers’ Center
Bonnie Bertolaet, Science Club for Girls
Alice E. Kidder, Solutions at Work
Christopher Hope, The Loop Lab
Joan Squeri, The Union Partnership for A Whole Community
Sarah Gyorog, Transition House
Elaine Ng, TSNE MissionWorks
Kathryn Fenneman, Tutoring Plus of Cambridge
Bruce Bird, Vinfen
Martha Hinkley, Violeta Montessori School
Eva Martin Blythe, YWCA Cambridge

Elena Sokolow-Kaufman, managing director of the Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition