By Beth David, Editor
At its meeting on 12/18/23, the Fairhaven Select Board voted to adopt a resolution condemning racism and pledging to promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) among all Town Departments and in the community.
The resolution notes that Fairhaven has a long history of promoting the ideals of liberty, independence, and the values of its diverse residents.
“Fairhaven recognizes that diversity and inclusion are integral to the very fabric of our community, uplifting all people irrespective of their race, national origin, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity,” reads the resolution.
The resolution states it is in response to the “regrettable defacing of Rogers’ School with racially charged graffiti,” and acknowledges Fairhaven’s “commendable generosity towards unsheltered and migrant families housed at the Seaport Inn.”
The resolution condemns “all forms of racism, discrimination, and intolerance within our Town,” and pledges that through “purposeful action,” the board will promote initiatives among Town Departments, Boards, Committees, and residents, “fostering partnerships and dialogue that uphold the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
The resolution charges the Belonging Committee with a creating “substantive programs addressing the issues of race and DEI.”
“This proclamation stands as a testament to our unwavering commitment to combat racism, foster inclusivity, and create an environment where all individuals are treated with dignity and respect.”
The resolution has been posted on the town’s policies page on its website at or at http://tinyurl. com/2sap96xx
At the meeting, SB member Stasia Powers suggested taking the item out of order and taking it up early in the meeting, while the room was still full of people. The board voted to take the item out of order, and Ms. Powers read the proclamation.
“Hopefully the implementation of the proclamation will be received with more enthusiasm than the making of the motion to read said proclamation,” said SB Chairperson Leon Correy.
He then immediately moved on to the next item he wanted to address, also out of order, which was the mural painted at the Rogers School.
Town Administrator Angie Lopes Ellison interjected something, and Mr. Correy then said he would entertain a motion to accept the DEI Resolution.
“I’d like to enthusiastically make that motion,” said SB Member Bob Espindola.
“I will second,” said Ms. Powers.
There was no discussion, and the resolution was adopted unanimously.
The board then took up the item recognizing Brian Tillett and two of his friends for painting a mural of Henry Huttleston Rogers on the wall of the Rogers School.
Ms. Ellison said that after the racist graffiti was painted on the school, Mr. Tillett contacted her office with the idea.
He saw the issue, she said, and “Rather than being a passive voice, reached out and made an initiative to put something more beautiful there, and try to promote something more positive out of the negative situation.”
Mr. Tillett said he and his friends recognized the “gravity of what was going on those walls,” and they wanted to do their part to change it.
“We’re just glad that we could do it,” said Mr. Tillett.
“You guys are absolutely talented and I just appreciate the fact that you took….that it wasn’t a passive effort,” said Mr. Correy.
It was an “active effort” for them to reach out and suggest it, he said.
The board also took some time to recognize the Fairhaven High School Football Team, which won the MIAA Division Six State Championship on 11/30/23. The proclamation declares November 30th as FHS MIAA MIAA Division Six State Championship Day.
Coach Derek Almeida and several players were on hand to receive the proclamation. Mr. Almeida said not all the captains could make it because they play other sports.
“Congratulations,” said Mr. Correy. “What you did was amazing. And like, just really special.”
“We’re extremely proud of this,” said Coach Almeida. “I think this group really embodied the town of Fairhaven and the spirit and the heart of this town.”
He said the team was an “extremely hard working group, and he did not think anyone outside of the group ad high expectations for the team.
“And through hard work dedication and commitment to each other they just got better and better as the year went on,” he said. “Some of them had to check the ego a little bit at the door.”
He said they just practiced every night and committed to the total team.
“And I think they really made the town proud,” he said. “I know I’m proud and you guys should be too.”
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