Welcome to the New Castle Council on Race and Equity (CRE) newsletter. Since this is our first issue, we want to tell you a little bit about ourselves by answering a few questions. Thanks for taking the time to learn about the newest town committee!
Why do we need this committee?
The CRE was formed last spring, in response to several deeply disturbing racist incidents in our community. Unfortunately, these have proven not to be isolated events. Over the summer and into the fall, more racial slurs, including the use of the “N” word, have been reported at our high school and at one of our middle schools. Alumni of color from Greeley have begun to share their own experiences with structural racism and microaggressions. But it’s not just our schools. Recently, Black Lives Matter signs have been repeatedly vandalized on private property, and threatening graffiti has been scrawled in town parks and in front of a Black family’s home here.
What do we hope to accomplish?
The CRE is committed to working towards racial equity, holding institutions accountable, educating our community, and helping New Castle become a safe, welcoming place for all families.
How is the CRE structured?
The CRE is a Town Government Committee. It is led by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and comprised of two BIPOC co-chairs and eight BIPOC team leader overseeing 115+ New Castle resident volunteers. The eight working groups in the first phase focused on community outreach and education, business and commerce, housing, planning and more. Each group has a team leader and Town Council member support. Our town has made it very clear that hate crimes will not be tolerated. As we move into the next phases of work, we welcome more volunteers. We will put out a call shortly – stay tuned!
What is the CRE working on?
We are just finishing up our initial planning stage. Phase One was eight weeks of research and due diligence to identify best practices and case studies to make recommendations for the town across all eight workgroups. Please follow future issues of this newsletter for details as our projects develop. We do already have some initiatives up and running:
CRE booth at the Farmer’s Market
For more than a month, the CRE has had a presence at the Market. We’re there to raise awareness, and hand out material, including free car decals and lawn signs. Please stop by and get to know us.
Supporting BIPOC Businesses
The CRE and the Farmer’s Market, in conjunction with the New Castle Chamber of Commerce, are pleased to announce that several BIPOC owned restaurants will be making Pop Up appearances at the Farmer’s Market, with prepackaged hot foods available for purchase under the Chamber of Commerce tent inside the market. Come by and taste something new and delicious. Up next:
- Raasa Restaurant – (Indian) – 9/26 and 10/3
- Lalibela – (Ethiopian) – 10/17 and 10/24
- Cravin – (Jamaican) – 11/7 and 11/14
Drive in Movie Night
The CRE has partnered with the New Castle Recreation and Parks department to add a drive-in movie night on October 3rd. The feature film – Black Panther and is for Town of New Castle Residents only. Tickets can be purchased here.
The New Castle Newcomers Club
A CRE initiative to welcome new BIPOC residents moving into town.
Interfaith and Cross-Cultural Organization
The CRE has established relationships with 18 religious organizations, and has plans to collaborate with the faith community on several joint-events.
Earlier this month, the CRE and The Interfaith Council held a Community Vigil to gather against racism. Sixteen secular and religious speakers offered comments and/or prayers for racial equity and understanding, for the eradication of hatred and division, and for unity and civility within our community. More than 100 people attended.
The CRE has also launched a Facebook Page, Instagram Page and Twitter page, so that the community can learn more about the CRE, its leaders, its initiatives, and anti-racism in general. Follow us today!
Join us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram
Visit us on MyNewCastle.org
A Note from Our Co-Chairs
Friends and Neighbors,
Like much of the country, New Castle is a community straining under the tensions of social injustice, hatred, bigotry, xenophobia, and racism. New Castle prides itself on being a "good" place with "good" people but we need to engage self-reflection to mature into better than we are. Against that backdrop, the CRE was established to address systemic racism and promote racial harmony, to lay the foundation and build a roadmap for the way forward. When the CRE was formed in June, we had no idea what the path before us held, nor how we as Co-Chairs would manage such a monumental undertaking. We were thrilled that the call for volunteers yielded more than 115 members of this community, BIPOC and ally residents, who pledged their time, energy, and efforts to accomplish this important work.
Volunteers were divided into eight workgroups: Education, Outreach, Partnerships, Events & Programs, Communications, Housing & Planning, Business and Commerce, and Town Administration, We appointed BIPOC Team Leaders for each of the workgroups and assigned key performance indicators for each. Then the CRE came to life.
Over the course of two months, our volunteer residents essentially assumed an additional full-time job - dedicating numerous hours weekly to research, diligence, advocacy, meetings and planning for a better New Castle. In the most incredible display of unity and solidarity, without ego or pride, our neighbors rolled up their sleeves and invested significant time and effort to actualize that better New Castle. We as Co-Chairs were blown away by the dedication and commitment demonstrated and the results generated by our Council.
Together we have completed Phase 1 of the CRE's work, compiling a cumulative 300 pages of recommendations, suggestions and case studies, outlining the framework for New Castle to pursue true racial equity, which will be presented to the Town Board in October. As we approach Phase 2, implementation, we invite you to join our efforts. The only requirement is an open mind, a helping hand, and a commitment to centering, uplifting, and amplifying the voices of your BIPOC neighbors.
Together, we are stronger. We can make New Castle the gold standard for true racial equity and justice. We thank you for your commitment, your love, and above all, we thank you for your unequivocal belief in the value of our lives.
It is our honor to serve this community.
Nichelle Maynard-Elliott & Zabeen Mirza
OUR NEXT UPCOMING EVENT!
Art for Hope, Healing, and CommUNITY
Let’s Celebrate Diversity, Unity, Togetherness, and Race Equity through Art
- Date of Event: Saturday, October 3, 2020
- Location: Family Britches in Chappaqua
- Time: 3:00 - 6:00 pm
- Music: Jimmy Kate
Proceeds will benefit Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ). SURJ is a multi-racial coalition dedicated to bringing members of all backgrounds together to oppose racial bias, violence, and discrimination, with a special emphasis placed on mobilizing white community members to stand up with and for their disproportionately disenfranchised neighbors.
Ask Us Anything. (Really.)
Every member of the CRE is a fellow New Castle resident. We’re all neighbors and want to be a resource for our community. Talking about race can be uncomfortable. It can feel safer to say nothing than risk saying the wrong thing, or saying it the "wrong" way.
But that doesn't help us have honest, open conversations, or ask genuine questions that we are afraid will sound silly, ignorant, or even racist. So- we are launching a monthly column where we will answer reader questions - big and small - on racism and related topics. Have you ever wondered:
What does microaggression actually mean? What is an example of one?
What's the difference between BIPOC and Person of Color?
Is it ok to say Black, or African American? Should I ask someone what their preference is, or is that question itself offensive?
Please send us your questions! All submissions will remain anonymous. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
What We Are Listening To
Upcoming CRE newsletters will feature regular sections, including interviews, features of local residents, and our reading and listening recommendations.
Right now, we are listening to:
Nice White Parents A five part podcast about building better schools and what gets in the way from Serial, by the New York Times.
“Nice White Parents” looks at the 60-year relationship between white parents and the public school down the block. We know American public schools do not guarantee each child an equal education. Two decades of school reform initiatives have not changed that. But when Chana Joffe-Walt, a reporter, looked at inequality in education, she saw that most reforms focused on who schools were failing: Black and brown kids. But what about who the schools are serving? In this five-part series, she turns her attention to what is arguably the most powerful force in our schools: White parents.
Interested in learning more about CRE or helping us in our work? Please email email@example.com