Jan Klausner-Wise: Hoping initiative will help Amherst heal wounds

Friday, July 11, 2014
To the editor:

I have lived in Amherst for 41 years. In all that time I cannot recall a more polarizing and toxic climate in town.

Many of the issues the schools are now tackling are ones that were addressed in the 1990s by the board of the Amherst Education Foundation. We seem to have made little progress on some matters, but I am heartened that this administration and School Committee are taking them seriously and welcome community input. I have not always felt this way.

What disturbs me most, however, is the intimidating atmosphere we live in. If you are white, you may fear being called a racist if you speak up. If you are a person of color, you may fear being called a traitor. How can we have an honest conversation about these issues if we are afraid to speak up?

It is my hope that the new liaison and initiative proposed by Town Manager John Musante and Superintendent Maria Geryk will be able to move us forward in addressing the many aspects of equity — race, class, gender.

Jan Klausner-Wise