Please join us in assessing and addressing the issue of institutional racism in Somerville

Dear Community Leaders,
As you know, the Mayor is looking forward to working directly with members of the community on our efforts to assess and address the issue of institutional racism in Somerville, as part of our support for solving the issues raised by the national Black Lives Matter movement. This is a complex challenge that will naturally result in various approaches, initiatives, and public conversations. Initial efforts will include, but will not be limited to: the Mayor meeting directly with individuals in the community, a relaunch of the City’s very successful Community Conversations series, and intensive anti-racism training for The Police Department with the goal of ultimately offering such training to other staff. Again, this is just the start.


The office of Health and Human Services will be serving as the City’s organizing hub for this effort, and to that end, we’d like to reach out to you, as community leaders, with four requests:

If you are in interested in participating in a working group on this issue, please contact Nancy Bacci at or 617-625-6600 x2250. We will send a formal announcement to you announcing the group and how to get involved. (And, of course, we will broadly promote this to the entire community.)

If you would like to apply to facilitate a Community Conversation group, please contact Doug Kress at or 617-625-6600 x4310. During our last series, about 200 community members participated in conversation groups of about 10-12 persons and each was led by a facilitator. This powerful format has proven to be an excellent way to bring a broad range of voices into a community dialog on difficult issues.

Please help us collectively reflect on where we have room for improvement around ensuring City services and programs operate in an equal and fair way for all. Once we have established a working group, the group will be available to accept any ideas, concerns, suggestions on problem areas to address, etc., that will help us actively address any unfair or unequal treatment within any of the City’s work. Please watch for contact information once this working group is established.

Many of you work closely with members of the community, so please let us know if you have further community contacts that we should reach out to engage in this process. We will need community volunteers and participants for the Conversations series to start and be fruitful. We expect that additional efforts will evolve out of the process.


Please feel free to forward this notice to others or send Nancy or Doug any recommendations for persons we should contact.


This effort will be most effective the broader the participation. The Mayor feels the most important insights will come from members of the community and staff on the ground. We thank you in advance for your cooperation and your commitment to making this a meaningful effort.   
Doug Kress, Director, Health and Human Services Nancy Bacci, Director, Human Services

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