Members of the Revere Human Rights Commission completed a two-day training workshop in diversity and inclusion designed to foster a deeper understanding and awareness of oppression and unconscious bias to promote more virtuous, healthy behaviors and attitudes in the workplace and community interaction.
The training was presented by Courage of Care Coalition over two full-day sessions held at the Revere History Museum, 108 Beach Street. Commission members engaged in lecture presentation, discussion, and small group activities.
“The training was an important and productive step to help our Commission develop a common and informed perspective of the historical issues that continue to challenge modern society,” said Commission Chair Janine Grillo Marra. “This work is really about re-humanization and belonging. Often, antagonism and inequity in human interaction is a result of assumptions, misunderstanding or misinformation. Education, training, and the willingness to deeply listen are some of the best ways to expand everyone’s appreciation and respect for one another.”
“It was also a welcome chance for members of our Commission to spend a significant amount of time together,” Grillo Marra said. “With the Commission re-established amid Covid restrictions that prevented in-person meetings, it was not a surprise that there was some sense of disconnection among us. The training, in an intensive, thought-provoking, and heartfelt environment, was an invaluable means for our Commission to bond as a group.”
Vice Chair Chaimaa M. Hossaini concurred, “After the training, I finally saw a shift in dynamics between the Commission members,” she said. “I saw that we were all in sync and that we are at a new level of comfort that we did not have before.”
Hossaini added: “I hope that this new level of respect for each other can help members be more open about their opinions and I am excited for how this Commission will go on in the future. I recommend that members of other committees and the politicians in our city go through the same training to further emphasize the importance of anti-racism and anti-oppression in a city that has a minority-majority population.”
Commission member Attorney Lynn Alexis agreed. “This training was necessary and enriching! We dug deep into so many aspects. One of my takeaways was that it allowed us to see that inclusion, by the numbers, without equity, is a farce.”
Alexis continued, “As a country, along with the good and the great, we must be willing to learn how our nation and many others, were developed through some racist and patriarchy ideas. We can’t be afraid of those words – we must know them, how they show up, how and who they can affect, consciously and subconsciously – and work hard to understand and dismantle them. So, the result is not just inclusion but equal treatment for all, which starts individually with each of us.”
Fire Chief Chris Bright, a Commission member, appreciated the training. “Thanks to Courage of Care Coalition for the resources, and more importantly…inspiring us,” he said.
Another Commission member, former State Representative Kathi Reinstein, added “It was an honor to share space with the Courage of Care facilitators and my fellow Commissioners for two days last week. I look forward to the work we will do together.”
The Human Rights Commission, created in 1994 and re-established last year by Mayor Brian Arrigo, is charged to educate and inform the City about the effects of prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry. The Commission, which meets monthly, seeks to improve community life by advocating mutual self-respect, harmonious intergroup relations, and peaceful enjoyment of life, while also working with municipal government to assure compliance with local, state, and federal laws addressing human and civil rights.
The City is currently conducting interviews to hire a Director of Diversity and Inclusion who will work in concert with the Human Rights Commission, leaders of city government, and community groups to establish policies and practices that assure fairness and equity in all aspects of community life.