EMAC Conference to focus on breaking the cycle of racism

EMAC Conference to focus on breaking the cycle of racism

Jean Conley, Editor/Writer

EMAC 2018

"Wake Up! Break the Cycle of Racism" is the theme of this year’s Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee Conference.

The conference will take place at the DoubleTree Bedford Glen Hotel in Bedford on Friday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 8.

EMAC Chair Yan Yii said the conference will build on conversations about racism and white privilege that have occurred over the past few years at EMAC conferences, the MTA Summer Conference and various forums.

Yii said the theme of the conference represents an urgent call to action to all MTA members, regardless of whether they have participated in previous discussions.

“Whether or not you are an ethnic minority, it is time that we all woke up and started getting beyond just talking about racism,” she said. “We need to move toward changing the social dynamics that allow racism to continue to exist.”

She added, “When the rights of our students, our families, our neighbors and our friends are being questioned because of the color of their skin, how can we stay silent? How can we allow this behavior to continue?”

“We need to move toward changing the social dynamics that allow racism to continue to exist.”

EMAC Chair Yan Yii

The keynote speaker on Friday evening will be former METCO Executive Director Jean McGuire.

In 1973, McGuire took the reins at the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity one year before court-ordered busing began in Boston. She went on to oversee the program, which is aimed at expanding opportunities for students in underfunded school districts and increasing diversity in suburban schools, for the next 43 years.

Ethnic Minority Affairs Conference


Friday, Dec. 7 &  Saturday, Dec. 8
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Boston
44 Middlesex Turnpike
Bedford, Massachusetts 01730

Learn More & Register

McGuire is a former teacher and school counselor in the Boston Public Schools. In 1981, she became the first black woman elected to the Boston School Committee. McGuire has a degree in education from Boston State College and a master’s degree from Tufts University. She was named humanitarian of the year by the Boston Ethical Community in 2004, and she received a lifetime achievement award from Community Change in 2012. She was awarded an honorary doctor of public service degree from Tufts University in 2017.

On Friday evening, participants will also be treated to a performance by classical Indian dancers from the Triveni School of Dance in Brookline. In addition to training dancers, the school is a nonprofit organization dedicated to social awareness and celebrating cultural diversity.

Another highlight of the conference will be a panel discussion on Saturday that will focus on the theme of the conference.

Also on Saturday, morning workshops will be held on topics that include creating safe places to break the cycle of racism, developing relationships between students of color, and decolonizing the curriculum.

In the spring, the committee intends to conduct regional forums focused on the state's history and social science curriculum framework.

 “We hope that you will join us at the 39th annual EMAC Conference,” Yii said. "There is much to be discussed, and we can’t break the cycle of racism if we aren’t willing to talk about it." 

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