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Cambridge Digs DEEP

About Cambridge Digs DEEP

Cambridge Digs DEEP is an initiative launched by former Mayor Marc McGovern and current Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui to engage the community in conversations about equity, privilege, diversity, inclusion, and race in a series of forums and workshops starting November 2018 and continuing through 2019. Mayor McGovern and Councillor Siddiqui’s Offices have partnered with Dr. Darnisa Amante, CEO of the Disruptive Equity Education Project (DEEP) to co-design and facilitate these conversations. DEEP is an organization focused on changing mindsets around equity and dismantling systemic oppression and racism.

Hold the date for these upcoming events:

Past Events

Building Understanding on Differing Perspectives (11/28/18)

The series kicked off with a city-wide Community Forum held on November 28, 2018, at the Fletcher Maynard Academy. Over 150 attendees gathered for a conversation facilitated by Dr. Amante to establish norms, share feedback, and engage in dialogue about equity. Feedback from this first session will be used to inform future sessions. 

Intent vs. Impact: Exploring Microaggression and Tools for Change (01/26/19)

In this second session, participants gained greater understanding of implicit bias and learn tools for recognizing and responding to microaggressions through interactive activities and role-playing scenarios.

Equity Inventory: Inclusive Policies and Practices Across Cambridge City Departments (02/07/19)

The third in a series of conversation on equity, diversity, and inclusion, the "Equity Inventory" discussion brought together Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui, Betsy Allen from the City's Office of Equity & Inclusion, CPD Commissioner Dr. Branville Bard, Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Salim, and Roman De Jesus, Directory of Diversity Development for Cambridge Public Schools for a presentation on the City's work toward a more equitable, anti-racist Cambridge through its policies, practices, and education.

Cambridge Affinity Spaces: Exploring our Identities in Community (3/21/19)

This session supports groups in being able to say the things that need to be said in an affinity community. Affinity groups not only support restorative healing but it also supports groups in being able to understand and discuss our own identities as well as other perspectives. We will process the content from the first two sessions in our affinity group spaces. It is suggested that if you didn’t attend, you should at least watch Dr. Amante’s keynote video to provide context for the discussion.

Special thanks for the support in compiling resources to Manuel Fernandez of Cambridge Street Upper School, Mirko Chardin of Putnam Ave Upper School, Amy Short and the Library Media Team of Cambridge Public Schools, and the Library staff at Cambridge Public Library.

Materials from March Meeting


Additional Reading Recommendations for Children


Why are we having these conversations?

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. The truth is that even here in Cambridge, we have much work to do. Even those of us who may consider ourselves to be “allies” in the fight for social and economic justice have deep-rooted biases that influence our interactions. Cambridge Digs DEEP represents a city-wide commitment to the difficult and ongoing work of social justice.

What are the goals of having these conversations?

While no specific policy goals have been set, the Mayor and Councillor have identified the following goals for the Cambridge Digs DEEP initiative:

  • Grow our collective understanding of what equity in practice looks like
  • Understand ways in which aspects of our identities, such as race, gender, class, impact our lives and our interactions with others
  • Create a space to engage in dialogue about how we can move beyond diversity to create a culture of inclusion and equity in our City
  • Encourage us to live up to our values as a community
  • Move us a step closer to realizing our vision of a just and equitable Cambridge for all

Why was DEEP chosen to lead these conversations? 


  • DEEP’s extensive experience working with the Cambridge Public School Department and familiarity with the City as factors that positioned it as an ideal partner for this initiative.

If I didn’t attend the first session, can I still participate in upcoming events?


  • Yes! While the sessions do build on each other, we encourage you to attend at whatever stage you are able to. Sessions will alternate being held on weekdays and weekends to allow more flexibility. Slideshows and other materials from the sessions will also be available online on the Resources tab.

News and Updates:

About DEEP


Established in 2016, The Disruptive Equity Education Project (DEEP) was formed to focus on the intentional, developmental, and complex work that is associated with changing mindsets around equity and dismantling racism. DEEP defines equity as providing communities with what they need, because they deserve it. It acknowledges that traditionally communities of colors and marginalized and minoritized groups are disproportionately impacted by inequity.


As an organization, we believe that if the work of equity is not personal, intentional, and carefully planned then it will not be sustainable. To attain lasting results, DEEP engages leaders and organizations in transformative workshops which challenge their conceptions and perceptions on equity and build opportunities for individuals to explore both their individual roles and team roles in dismantling oppression and inequity in their own communities.

To learn more, click here (http://digdeepforequity.org/)


Dr. Darnisa Amante, CEO

Dr. Amante

Dr. Darnisa Amante is an educational and racial equity strategist that is deeply committed to the study of culture, innovation, and adult development. Since earning her master’s degree in Anthropology from Brandeis University, and her doctorate from Harvard’s Educational Leadership Doctorate (Ed.L.D.), Dr. Amante has honed her knowledge of culture and adult development to transform organizational and school cultures on issues of equity; change management and re-design. Dr. Amante currently serves as the CEO of The Disruptive Equity Education Project (DEEP) and as system level leadership lecturer at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

For questions, please contact Liz Liss at eliss@cambridgema.gov or Sarah Stillman at sstillman@cambridgema.gov.

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