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ABOUT

"I created the Facebook group Westfield Parents for Change on June 4, 2020 due to an event that had occurred in the school system involving racism and discrimination. In just four days, we accrued hundreds of members that were not only parents but also educators in the district, human resource coordinators, former Shamrocks, and mental health professionals that were looking to impact the way Westfield Washington Schools can grow in their ability to work with the ever-changing student demographic.

 

The idea was to be a peaceful activist group determined to work with and alongside WWS to determine the best courses of action for when our children are confronted with, are witness to, or are survivors of racism. Over time, new leadership has grown it into something a bit more confident and outspoken, of which I am very proud and supportive.

 

Though we began with the goal to first address racism in the schools, the hope was for our actions to inevitably advocate for anyone in the community that may be subjected to discrimination based upon any number of reasons.

 

One of the most important characteristics of WP4C members is that they must be good listeners. They have to be actively engaged with the idea that racism does exist and that many members of the Westfield community have experienced it; they cannot dismiss claims or make excuses.

 

I am a firm believer in the teachings of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire and wanted to open the doors for members of the community to learn from one another and to do better. As Freire stated, 'Without dialogue, there is no communication, and without communication, there can be no true education.'"

– Jessica Gilpatrick

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