Supports school district’s proposed diversity policy despite talk it is not necessary

To the editor:

I write today to express my support for the district’s proposed diversity, equity and inclusion policy, which will be read for the third time at the board of education meeting scheduled for Tuesday.

It is painful to believe that I live in a community where there is a dialogue circling about whether or not it is necessary to have a policy that speaks to diversity, equity and inclusion. Why is this a fight? The concepts are simple and on their face, nonthreatening.

What is diversity? The practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.

What is equity? The quality of being fair and impartial.

What is inclusion? The practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of other minority groups.

These are all simple ideas of how we should exist in a community in which all members feel that they belong. But here I am putting pencil to paper to make sure that the board of education understands that there is support in the community for moving forward to affirmatively support the two-page policy on diversity, equity and inclusion that simply sets forth the idea that we should be a community that is inclusive, welcoming and provides equal opportunities to all.

In a community that is steeped in privilege, I should not be surprised that there is a fear that diversity, equity and inclusion policies might take away or diminish in some way. To be clear, this very innocuous two-page policy is not going to upend the status quo in Pelham. But to not support this policy sends a very clear message—we are not a diverse, equitable or inclusive community. It is painful to believe that this is the community where I live. I hope not.

Debra Stern
40 Third Ave.