What are your thoughts on race relations in the Borough? As a community, how can we work together to take down barriers and improve our connections?
Racism isn’t new, but America and our own community of Collingswood is certainly looking at the issues of race and racism with new eyes. In my mind, that is a good thing.
Over the last few months, with the leadership and help of so many in the community, we marched together, stood silent, shouted, cried, and asked for meaningful change. That need for change--both within each of us and among us all--is still needed. So much to do. So much to do.
One thing we can do, together as a community, is to listen, share, and learn from each other. It is why we are launching Collingswood Conversations, a series of programs and projects to do just that. As we discuss issues of race, perhaps some people will step out of their comfort zone; perhaps others will be comforted by the experience. We have no answers, but what we do have is a willingness to try--to open our eyes, our minds, our ears, and our hearts to the stories of others and maybe even gain a fuller understanding of the story of us (in all of its goodness, faults, and complexities). That’s what Collingswood Conversations is about.
The Borough is fortunate to have an experienced and energetic partner in this process—the local non-profit organization Custom Ed. For those who are unaware, Custom Ed works for organizations small and large to design and deliver educational experiences and training programs. Their knowledge and experience has been so helpful. It’s great to have them as part of the team.
To get things started we would love to know more about you and your thoughts, opinions, and experiences related to race and racism. Our online survey should only take a few minutes to complete but can be a big help as we kick things off. You can access the survey here.
In the weeks ahead, also look for our mobile, pop-up bulletin board for more community conversation questions. We plan to move our board throughout the community, so everyone is afforded a chance to participate (by writing out their answers and posting on the board). We will also host a Collingswood Conversations Online Workshop where we can dig deeper and work together to talk about race, bias, and how to build a stronger, more inclusive community.
Beyond that, who knows? We’ll start by creating an opportunity for thoughtful, respectful, and productive conversations and then see how it goes (and where we can grow). Collingswood is a truly special community and it isn’t because we are perfect, but it is because we a good at putting the WE before the ME. Now is one of those times to do just that.
On behalf of Mayor Maley and Commissioner Leonard, I do hope you will join us on this important journey. No matter what you know, where you stand or what you think, we would be honored to have your participation.
Here's where we can start:
Take the survey.
Working together we can improve relationships and work towards positive change in our community.