OPEN LETTER TO THE ARLINGTON COMMUNITY

Arlington Advocate, MA
http://www.wickedlocal.com/arlington/news/lifes tyle/columnists/x514712737
May 1 2008

On November 27, 2007 the No Place for Hate Steering Committee sent the
Board of Selectmen a letter informing them of our withdrawal from the
No Place for Hate program. This withdrawal was in response to the Anti
Defamation League's (ADL) position on the Armenian Genocide. We decided
that we would not be able to continue our involvement in the program
unless the ADL revisited its stance on the Armenian genocide. The
ADL did not revisit its decision and we withdrew from the program.

At the time of our withdrawal, the steering committee decided by a
unanimous vote to continue to work along with many other groups and
residents, to ensure that Arlington is a place that is welcoming to
all and where the diversity that each of us brings is celebrated
and mutually respected. Over the months following our withdrawal,
we looked at how we could continue our work outside the umbrella of
the No Place for Hate program, making certain that anyone who wants
to join us in this effort will feel welcome.

The Committee has been reformed under a new name, Arlington Common
Threads. We still are comprised of representatives from the Board
of Selectmen, town manager's office, Arlington Police Department,
Arlington Public Schools, Human Rights Commission and several community
organizations. On March 30, we went before the Board of Selectmen to
ask for their formal endorsement of Arlington Common Threads. They
unanimously agreed.

Arlington Common Threads is committed to fostering a positive
understanding between residents of all ethnic, racial and religious
backgrounds. We are committed to working closely in cooperation with
and to help further the important work of the many boards, commissions
and community groups in town that are working on issues of acceptance
and diversity in Arlington.

Currently we have two major projects in the works. One is the
development of a Web site, which will be used to inform Arlingtonians
about events that represent the diversity of our town and to provide
information about groups that work on issues of acceptance and
diversity. The other project will be to develop a community-wide event
that explores in a positive venue the diversity of cultural heritage,
ethnic and religious backgrounds in the town of Arlington.

In order to be successful we are seeking volunteers to expand our
committee and help with our projects. Everyone is welcome to become
involved with Arlington Common Threads. We are looking for energetic
and committed volunteers from all parts of the Arlington community. To
learn more and to get involved please contact Cindy Friedman at
[email protected] Any amount of time you are willing to give
is appreciated!

We would like to thank the Board of Selectmen and the police department
for their active encouragement of this committee. While we are no
longer affiliated with the No Place for Hate program, we are as
eager as ever to continue our work. Please join us as our community
works together to ensure a high level of respect for diversity and
anti-bias efforts, as well as maintaining a zero-tolerance policy for
hate crimes and incidents. With your help we know we can be successful.

Cindy Friedman Chairman of the Arlington Common Threads Annie
LaCourt Selectman Clarissa Rowe Selectman Lt Kenneth Hughes Arlington
Police Department Brian Sullivan Town Manager Pearl Morrison African
American Society of Arlington Patricia O'Donoghue Affirmative Action
Advisory Committee Theresa Aceto-Black Community at large Maria Hood
Community at large Caroline Osterman Community at large Bettie Connors
Disabilities Commission Miriam Stein Diversity Task Force Vita Cohen
Human Rights Commission Marlene Schultz Human Rights Commission Janice
Bakey Martin Luther King Committee Joe Curro School Committee Sharon
Grossman SPOT Mary Megson SPOT Jane Howard Vision 2020