Faces of Bedford 2016: Transcending African-American Stereotypes

Submitted by Bedford Embraces Diversity

Bedford-Embraces-Diversity_The Bedford Embraces Diversity group is sponsoring a free, hands-on workshop on what the community has done — and can do — in response to subtle and blatant acts of racism, locally and nationally.

Faces of Bedford 2016 — Transcending African-American Stereotypes will take place on Saturday, February 6, at Town Center, 12 Mudge Way. Participants must register in advance, as space is limited. For reservations, program time and other details, contact Valerie Rushanan (valrushanan@verizon.net) or Marilou Barsam (barsammarilou@gmail.com). Light refreshments will be served.

The guest facilitator will be Maria McDuffie, international student adviser at Middlesex Community College. McDuffie has held numerous workshops related to diversity issues. Also involved are peer leaders from Bedford High School. They have already begun the work to promote a diverse and inclusive environment at BHS. Teens and adults will work in separate discussion groups.

“We hope both teens and adults who want to lead positive changes in the community will join us for Bedford Embraces Diversity’s first educational event that aims to critically examine stereotypes, share experiences, and strengthen community ties,” Rushanan said.

Bedford Embraces Diversity (www.bedfordembracesdiversity.org) is a byproduct of the community response to episodes of anti-Semitism in 2014. Its mission is “to educate the community about the diverse cultural groups that make up Bedford’s population, to take actions showing that Bedford stands on the side of respecting all individuals, and to celebrate the wonderful benefits of living in a community like Bedford that is so rich in diversity.”

Last April hundreds attended the group’s multi-cultural festival at BHS. Planning is well underway for another spring multi-cultural event, and more volunteers will be welcomed.

“We recognize that discrimination and hate acts occur regardless of time, place, or group being targeted,” Rushanan said. “While such acts exist everywhere, communities can take a stand against them.”

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