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Posted on: November 22, 2022

Select Board Antisemitism Actions

November 22, 2022
Public Notice about Select Board antisemitism actions


Based on a recommendation from its Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, the Westford Select Board approved motions at its November 15 meeting that reinforce its stand against antisemitism. This action is in response to the disturbing increase in antisemitism around the world, in the United States, and in Massachusetts including in Westford, and is consistent with the Select Board’s commitment to fostering and encouraging diversity and embracing belonging in Westford.

Specifically, the Select Board declared January 27 as Holocaust Remembrance Day in Westford and January as Holocaust Education Month in perpetuity.  The Board also adopted a working definition of antisemitism that has been adopted by states, cities, and towns across the country, by the state of Massachusetts along with Danvers, Peabody, and Sharon.

The definition sends a message that governments understand antisemitism and the threat it poses, and is an important step in being able to address it.  Here is the definition of antisemitism developed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA):   Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.   International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism: 

Additionally, Westford’s DEI Committee will work with the Westford School Committee and the Superintendent to develop an approach to further integrating information about the Holocaust into the curriculum of the Westford Public Schools. While there will be an emphasis on Holocaust awareness during the month of January, the significance of the Holocaust can and should be included in the curriculum at any point during the school year.

The Select Board will consider a proclamation to be offered by its DEI Committee at its December meeting that will memorialize these three steps in one document.  Taken together -  Holocaust Remembrance Day, Holocaust Education Month, and the adoption of a working definition of antisemitism - are an expression of Westford’s character as a peaceable community that stands against all forms of intolerance and is devoted to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

 


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