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Amherst Addresses Racism Issue

amherst(AMHERST, Mass.) (WGGB)– Amherst is taking action to address issues of racism and diversity in the community.

A number of events this year including the targeting of an African-American math teacher have the town looking for answers.

Carol Ross, an Amherst native, is the new media and climate communications specialist in charge of uniting the community.

This past year has seen racial strife in the town including the targeting of African-American math teacher Carolyn Gardner.

Town Manager John Musante says this is a community wide effort and not just a school issue,”Sadly those issues are still challenges for all of us, but we’re ready and able and are rolling up our sleeves and want to work with every member of the community to help move our community forward,” says Musante.

That’s where Carol Ross comes in,”We’re all people, we’re all human beings, we’re a human race, we have human needs my goal is to focus on those in terms of focusing on that and bringing us together to resolve common goals and find out what are similarities are,” says Ross.

Ross says she will be looking at models that work like a program based on Harvard educator Ronald Ferguson, considered a nationally known expert on the racial achievement gap.

In the meantime, Ross will work to get a sense of people’s needs and how to meet those needs,”I’d like people to look within and ask who am I without an identity, a construct, who am I and what kind of community do I want to live in,” says Ross.

Carol Ross has been on the job for only a week now but she’s encouraged by what she’s seen. She says the challenge of bringing this community closer is one she’s excited and confident about.

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