Overview of the Response and Advocacy Committee
The Response and Advocacy Committee (RAC) addresses a wide range of concerns, including those related to race, religion, national origin, socioeconomic status, political views, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, and disability.
The RAC provides consultation, support, and advocacy for people who feel they have been targets of or witnesses to such actions as harassment, offensive remarks, bullying, hate crimes, or discrimination. The action we take is planned in collaboration with the individual(s) who have contacted us, and may be kept confidential, if that is preferred.
The RAC: facilitates conversations between residents and government/school officials and/or town employees; provides information about community resources; gives feedback to individuals and/or businesses or organizations who have had a negative impact; and provides support and solidarity to those who feel isolated or excluded.
The RAC advocates for and takes action to achieve cultural and systemic change to increase inclusion and equity in our community. We work with elected officials, town employees, community leaders and local business to promote policies and procedures that would lead to a more welcoming, inclusive, and just community.
The RAC collaborates with other Network Committees and community-based organizations to promote educational programming and training to highlight the voices of people in historically excluded groups, to raise community awareness of inequities and exclusion, and to build the capacity of individuals and organizations to address these issues. In addition, the RAC makes public statements promoting equity and social justice in the local newspapers, on the Multicultural Network’s website, and on social media.
Most of the concerns brought to the RAC are not about hate crimes. However, because it is important for our community to understand what constitutes a hate crime, this brief definition is provided. A hate crime in MA General Laws is “any criminal act motivated…at least in part by racial, religious, ethnic, handicap, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation prejudice, or which otherwise deprives another person of his constitutional rights by threats, intimidation or coercion, or which seeks to interfere with or disrupt a person’s exercise of constitutional rights through harassment or intimidation.”
For the complete definition, as well as an accounting of criminal activity that could be considered as a hate crime, refer to MA General Laws: Chapter 22c, Section 32; Chapter 265, Sections 37 and 39, and Chapter 266, Section 127A, and Chapter 272, Section 98B.