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Meet Alexis Ladd of Fostering Racial Justice Group in Boxborough

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexis Ladd.

Alexis, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Our community group was formed in 2015 after we were awakened by the Black Lives Matter movement. In solidarity with those doing racial equity work across the country, we gather in the suburbs of Boston, MA to foster racial equity and justice. Membership of our group is open to anyone interested in supporting our communities to move forward.

Mission:
Fostering racial equity and justice by activating the community to dismantle bias and systems that reinforce racism.

Vision:
To live in a world without racism.

FRJG Receives Grant:
We recognize that the national spotlight on racial injustice offered us an opportunity to act locally to make change in our communities. Fostering Racial Justice Group, in collaboration with the Town of Boxborough, Boxborough Police Department, Carlisle Police Department, Boxborough Well-Being Committee, and United Church of Christ – Boxborough, received a grant to provide anti-bias training to the community.

The Collaborative Grant was received on July 1, 2016, from CHNA15 — a partnership between the Department of Public Health, community organizations and citizens that provide funding for community-based prevention and health promotion initiatives in twelve surrounding towns. Funding for this project is through the CHNA 15 DoN funds from Winchester Hospital.

The grant allowed all Boxborough and Carlisle police officers to receive anti-bias and racial justice training. Boxborough Town employees also received anti-bias and racial justice training and the local community participated in a series of community discussion on race/racism as well as anti-bias and racial justice workshops. The work involved working on identifying structural, institutional, and systemic racial injustice — often barriers that are invisible to those who are not impacted.

FRJG completed the grant this month and is in the process of finalizing the next series of community education programming for the spring. In response to a request from another local police chief in the area, we are seeking funding to provide anti-bias and racial justice training for officers in this department.

Has it been a smooth road?
It has been a tremendous amount of work. We have a committed team, who often worked tirelessly to build the structure that we have in place today.

The nature of this work is difficult because it makes white people feel very uncomfortable to confront their racism. We discovered that some people, although they said they’d do the work, were not as willing when it came down to it. There is still a tremendous amount of work to do.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Fostering Racial Justice Group story. Tell us more about the business.
We are not a business or a company, but a group. We are unique because we took on the work of breaking down racism on multiple levels — both personally and structurally. There aren’t any other groups in the suburbs, that we know of, that are working on encouraging people to really look at how they can break down the barriers that keep these communities segregated.

We’re proud of the incredible work that we’ve completed (our first grant) and that there are still many who want to continue the work in the future. However, I am most proud of how we addressed a resident flying the Confederate flag. Through respectful dialogue and education, that flag is no longer flying in Boxborough.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The current political climate requires our work to continue. Without staying engaged, we run the risk of our communities silently endorsing white supremacy.

We hope that FRJG will continue to get funding for the work, and we believe that there are multiple funding sources available that we have yet to explore.

Contact Info:

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