On Sunday, April 7, community members joined Network staff, Steering Committee members, and Board to greet new Network Executive Director Liora Norwich and appreciate those who sustained the Network through its transitional phase. Many thanks to Kappy’s Liquors and Fine Spirits for the wine donation and the Jenks Center for the meeting space, as well as the many volunteers and staff who worked behind the scenes to make the event such a success.

Liora Niorwich’s Remarks

Welcome everyone. I’ve been in my new role as Executive Director of the Winchester Multicultural Network now 1 month and 3 days and it’s remarkable how many people I have connected with and yet judging from this room, how many more still there are to meet! It’s a pleasure and privilege to be part of such a thriving community here in Winchester.

I’m really excited about my new role, and during the last month, I’ve had the opportunity to get into the weeds, so to speak, with Elena and Shawn, committee chairs, board, and steering committee members to strategize around the network’s ongoing programs and initiatives.

In my experience: Social justice work is messy and advancing equity and inclusion can be a chaotic business. The work rarely happens as planned, it’s hard to measure when you’ve succeeded, and triumph is never tied neatly with a bow. I’m pretty sure that’s why I’ve been drawn to this work throughout my life.

As many of you likely know, while I’m originally from Canada (born and raised in Toronto), I’ve spent a significant amount of my professional career working cross-border with Israelis and Palestinians. What’s interesting is that every politician and academic claims how unique the Middle East is, yet I found that it taught me the most universal lessons. Engage with others by meeting them where they’re at, garner trust by showing up, listen when it’s hard to hear what is being said about you, and work in coalition, even when it’s easier to go it alone.

I am hoping to bring many of these lessons to my work with the Network. In this tumultuous political climate, we all have a responsibility to speak up and take action. Remaining on the sidelines feels less and less like an option, and in fact, I’ve been asking myself if sidelines still exist, or even ever did in the first place. In engaging everyone in our equity and inclusion movement, my vision is to “meet people where they’re at.” This means we will create comprehensive, intergenerational programming for listening, for learning, and for taking action around social justice, designed for everyone, from kindergarten to (as they say in Hebrew) ‘ ud meyah ve’esrim (to the age of 120)’.

The Network needs to not only continue to initiate difficult conversations around race, equity and inclusion, but to build the capacity to lead them.  I want to see these conversations about class, privilege and intersectionality taking place not only in classrooms and libraries, but in pubs, galleries, and public parks in Winchester and beyond. I want to ensure these conversations resonate as learning opportunities, and also establish a model that can be replicated in suburban communities across the country. I want to be part of taking action through campaigns where we show up for others, and they show up for us as well –  as partners in our programs, and as supporters of our campaigns. I want to create programming that helps people take a stand wherever their heart is, whether it’s through arts and culture, early childhood education, food, and cooking, or storytelling. This is how I envision the future of social justice, and this is what I can’t wait to build with you all.

I can’t do this work without you, so I want to keep having these conversations- please reach out to me. My door on 63 Shore Street is literally open, and I want to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Thanks for coming today and enjoy the rest of the event. Make sure before you leave today to come find me, or visit the Network’s offices, if you want anything at all.