Medway Youth Against Racism strives to fight racism on all levels Group includes current and former MHS students, and others
Medway Youth Against Racism members (top, L to R) Kara Graney, Eust Eustis, Brian Walsh, Anne Muise, Kendall Trelegan; and (bottom, L to R) Christina Spinazola, Kerry Sendrick, Lindsay Boyle, Yashoda Dhole, Kaite McKenna. Courtesy photo.
By Theresa Knapp
Medway Youth Against Racism is a local group that started in the summer of 2020 after a former Medway High School student shared their experience on Facebook.
“One of our former classmates generously shared their experience as a Black student at Medway High School. They included a call to action for former white classmates to support the fight for Black lives and Black liberation, by looking at how our own community upholds white supremacy,” said Kendall Trelegan, a member of MYAR who spoke with Millis Medway News recently. That post became the foundation for the group.
The group then extended its reach to other graduating classes, and was “pleasantly surprised by how many people across the Medway community are supportive of this work,” they say.
Current MYAR members range in age from 26 to 19 years old, and include Medway High School alumni; they will soon welcome current students who are part of the MHS group TADA (Tolerance Acceptance Diversity Alliance).
Though most alumni no longer live in Medway (one member lives in Australia), “We still feel passionate about anti-racist progress in our hometown. We are composed of a wide variety of experiences, professions, and ideas all brought together by a shared passion of optimizing Medway’s value of inclusivity,” says the group.
The overall purpose of the group is “to fight racism and white supremacy in our town, the U.S., and the world at large. We aim to do this through education, community building, and direct action” and MYAR members say that, as a youth group, “not only do we offer distinct perspectives on areas of improvement, specifically within the schools, but also unique means to catalyze that change. We hope to be allies in this anti-racist work and inspire more youth to take action.”
Members say that, during the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in summer 2020, “many of us felt called to put in the work somewhere we know that desperately needs it: our hometown. Since Medway is predominantly white, our group being reflective of that, we must take responsibility for being a welcoming, inclusive, and safe place for all.”
The group also collaborates with Medway Marches (including the recent “Allies in Action” presentation), TADA, Medway’s School District’s Superintendent and Director of Student Services, and hopes to work with more groups in the near future. They also try to attend Town Select Board meetings to keep up with town events, particularly around the Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Advisory (IDEA) Committee.
And people have embraced the group with open arms.
“Sometimes, when we have met with groups of older adults, they encourage us to be realistic with our goals and, yes, we do try to be strategic but we try not to let what seems ‘realistic’ get in the way of what we truly believe would be best for our community. Within our group, we represent a multitude of opinions and perspectives so we definitely challenge each other in our discussions on how to best approach progress within the community,” the group says.
The group says its future plans include:
Completing a video project to highlight perspectives on Medway and reveal opportunities for improvement;
Forming an alumni network to “connect with current students as many of our members have learned invaluable lessons since graduating that we wish we knew while living in Medway; equipped with this new knowledge students could be empowered to improve Medway’s culture and dismantle systems of oppression that operate below consciousness;” and Welcoming additional members.
“We encourage EVERYONE to join the movement. You do not have to be educated about racism, or an experienced activist. What’s important is that we are all open to learning and listening, and committed to taking action,” according to the group’s Facebook page.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/Medway-Youth-Against-Racism-107435684338595, email [email protected] or complete their interest form at https://forms.gle/bNC8L2v1rgMA7Jff7