Community Health Network Area 17 (CHNA 17) is one of 27 CHNAs in Massachusetts.
Established in 1992 under the direction of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Office of Healthy Communities,
the CHNAs are coalitions made up of representatives from public, non-profit and private sectors.
SERVING THE COMMUNITIES OF ARLINGTON, BELMONT, CAMBRIDGE, SOMERVILLE, WALTHAM & WATERTOWN!
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ORGANIZING RACIAL JUSTICE IN THE SUBURBS

After attending a community conversation in 2015 with six local police chiefs (Acton, Boxborough, Carlisle, Littleton, Maynard, and Groton), Lexi Ladd recognized the need for work to be done around racial justice in the suburbs. She began reaching out to individuals who expressed interest in equity and Fostering Racial Justice Group was born. This effort was kindled by the national spotlight on racial injustice and in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

FRJG’s first effort was inviting the town of Boxborough to include anti-bias and equity language into their master plan. The group was successful in getting specific anti-bias trainings added to the section on how to make Boxborough more welcoming and inclusive. This effort expanded the focus beyond police officers to the entire town, and provided the structural foundation for the next steps. In July 2016, FRJG applied and received a collaborative grant from CHNA-15, DoN funds from Winchester Hospital. Collaborators include — the Town of Boxborough, Boxborough Police Department, Carlisle Police Department, Boxborough Well-Being Committee, and United Church of Christ - Boxborough.

The grant will provide all Boxborough and Carlisle police officers, Boxborough town employees, and the local community with anti-bias and racial justice trainings and workshops. The work will involve working on identifying structural, institutional, and systemic racial injustice — often barriers that are invisible to those who are not impacted.

FRJG just announced its first focus group – "Bringing it into focus: Race, Ethnicity, and Life" – being held on Monday, November 14th at 7:00 PM at the Boxborough library. A series of focus groups, several with affinity identities, will be organized and data gathered will be used to inform the trainings and workshops. The group hopes to complete the focus groups by the end of January. The trainings and workshops will begin in the spring of 2017.

Lexi began her racial justice work as a 14-year resident of Boxborough and life-time resident in the area. She recently moved to Boston and participates in CHNA-17. Her hope is that the work being done in Boxborough and Carlisle will be used as a model for other communities to take on this important work.

Please contact FRJG if you'd like to join this initiative, or if you'd like to participate in the local workshops. You can read more about the group at at their website. More information about the focus groups and workshops will be shared once they are scheduled.

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