Cambridge to Dig DEEP for Racial Equity

Cambridge, MA: Mayor Marc McGovern and Councillor Sumbul Siddiqui are pleased to announce the launch of “Cambridge Digs DEEP,” an initiative designed to engage the entire Cambridge community in conversations about equity, power, privilege, diversity, inclusion, and race in a series of community forums and workshops starting November 2018 and continuing throughout 2019.

Mayor McGovern and Councillor Siddiqui’s Offices are partnering with consultant Dr. Darnisa Amante, CEO of the Disruptive Equity Education Project (DEEP), to co-design the community conversations. Mayor McGovern and Councillor Siddiqui cited DEEP’s extensive experience working with the Cambridge Public School Department and familiarity with the City as factors that positioned DEEP as an ideal partner for this initiative.

Five events have currently been scheduled with several more events expected to be added in the coming months. The first event, a city-wide community forum, will take place on Wednesday, November 28th, 2018 at 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the Fletcher Maynard Academy Gymnasium, 225 Windsor St., Cambridge, MA 02139. It will offer participants an opportunity to establish a shared framework for communication and learning, to share feedback, and to build the relational trust necessary to engage in these discussions.

“Cambridge Digs DEEP represents a citywide commitment to the difficult and ongoing work of social justice,” says Mayor McGovern, “From the viral video depicting a negative interaction between a Harvard employee and a young mother living in affordable housing to concerns raised by the Black Students Union at CRLS, we know that despite our reputation as a progressive city, Cambridge is not immune to issues of race and class.” As a Pakistani-born, Muslim woman of color who grew up in Cambridge affordable housing, Councillor Siddiqui has been aware of this reality since childhood. “Certain things differentiated my day-to-day experiences [in Cambridge] from those of my more privileged peers, who were often unaware of these disparities.” Siddiqui hopes that the upcoming community-wide conversations will “help grow our collective understanding of what equity looks like in Cambridge.”

McGovern believes “these conversations will require us as a community to step out of our comfort zone, to honestly grapple with our biases and approach challenging topics with a willingness to listen to and learn from each other.” Siddiqui agrees that only through “deep listening, engaging in dialogue across difference, and learning from the stories of others” can the Cambridge community “begin to see the ways in which identities—such as race, class, gender, religion—impact our lives.”  

Both are hopeful that Cambridge Digs DEEP will, as Mayor McGovern says, “encourage the community to live up to its values and move us closer to realizing our vision of a truly just and equitable Cambridge.”

“Ideally, it will catalyze further conversations,” adds Councillor Siddiqui, “from boardrooms and classrooms to the dinner table."

The following events are scheduled for 2019:

  • Saturday, January 26th, 2019 at 12:00pm - 2:00pm, facilitated by DEEP (location TBA)
  • Thursday, February 7th, 2019 at 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, presented by the City of Cambridge and the Cambridge Public School Department (location TBA)
  • Thursday, March 21st, 2019 at 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, facilitated by DEEP (location TBA)
  • Saturday, April 27th, 2019 at 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm, facilitated by DEEP (location TBA)

For more information about Cambridge Digs DEEP, contact Ana Barros, Deputy Chief of Staff, at abarros@cambridgema.gov.

Disruptive Equity Education Project is a professional development and strategy organization that is focused on the intentional, developmental, and complex work that is associated with changing mindsets around equity and dismantling systemic oppression and racism. For more information, visit www.digdeepforequity.org.


Page was posted on 10/22/2018 5:48 PM
Page was last modified on 6/17/2019 3:29 PM
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