To the Editor:
Like many of my neighbors, I have taken notice of the lawn signs and literature popping up this spring alongside the dandelions and daffodils. I very much respect the free-thinking nature of our town and admire the right to free speech we all enjoy. In that spirit, I have some thoughts of my own to share before the upcoming vote on Easton’s Resolution on Racism and Public Health.
Recognizing systemic racism is no more about calling your community “racist” than acknowledging original sin is about casting your neighbors as “sinners.” And yet, there is an original sin in America that is still observable today. Through a mountain of evidence, we can see that race matters when it comes to a host of public health opportunities and outcomes—from education to incarceration, home ownership to food security, employment to income, and much more. These empirical and significant gaps can be seen across large populations of Americans, and as long as they persist in our nation, we do not measure up to the aspirations and “unalienable rights” put forth by our founders.
Critical Race Theory (CRT) is not liberal dogma and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) should not aim to deliver identical outcomes for each and every citizen. CRT is a broad academic pursuit—a collection of ideas, hypotheses, and examinations that seek to explain well-documented disparities in our society. DEI initiatives work to create a freer and more fair society where opportunity is accessible to all, despite our differences. Diversity fuels innovation; inclusion is fundamental to the civil liberties we hold sacred; and equity is the precise quality by which a genuine meritocracy must be measured against. Like any complex endeavor, these approaches and interventions can be misunderstood, misapplied, or distorted, but their central tendencies represent progress in America and align with American ideals.
Let us also not forget that our community is not only the sum of beautiful families and persons who reside in Easton, but include a workforce of dedicated police, teachers, town employees, and laborers who work at our farms and service our homes. These good people play a vital role in our ecosystem, so they too are affected by the values we embrace. MLK said, “The time is always right to do the right thing.” Adopting this resolution and taking a stand against racism is the right thing for Easton—even if our own backyards are bucolic, green, and full of flowers this spring. Please join me in voting to approve Easton’s Resolution on Racism and Public Health on May 4.
Gabriel B. Rossi