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West Hartford Parent Community Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Groups Host Social Event – We-Ha | West Hartford News

The West Hartford Parent Community Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Groups hosted a social event for West Hartford families of color on the grounds of Wolcott School.

Matt Rivera, Executive Director of The Dream Support Network and Ice Cream for a Dream. Courtesy photo

On Sunday, Oct. 24, West Hartford Parent Community Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Groups, in partnership with West Hartford Public Schools Office of Equity Advancement and with support from Mayor Shari Cantor, hosted an affinity event for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) families on the grounds of Wolcott Elementary School. The purpose of the event was to provide a safe community for families of color to come together and celebrate the beginning of the new school year with games and activities, connect with resources, as well as establish and grow networks of support.

Two young attendees are mesmerized by West Hartford Fire Department Station 5’s fire truck. Courtesy photo

“We wanted to provide an affinity space for families of color in West Hartford as we know that we share many common experiences, challenges, joys, and goals for our children,” shared Yukiyo Iida, one of the lead organizers for the event and West Hartford EDI co-founder. “Recognizing that many of the obstacles have been exacerbated through the COVID-19 pandemic, remote schooling, and increased conflicts over racial justice worldwide, it was important to us to hold an event to celebrate and support each other as caregivers, and allow our children to just have a great time together as it’s important for them to see themselves in their peers.”

Guests enjoy a rousing and energizing speech by Kevin Booker, Jr. Courtesy photo

The highlight of the event was a very unique ice cream truck, Ice Cream for a Dream, the signature component of My People Community Services, Inc. and The Dream Support Network. founded by Matthew Rivera, a 2020 Trinity College graduate. Each attendee shared a personal dream with Rivera in exchange for a frozen treat to motivate all dreamers of all ages to “Never Stop Dreaming.”

Speakers for the event included Rivera from Ice Cream for a Dream / The Dream Support Network; Yukiyo Iida, co-founder of West Hartford Parent Community Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Groups; Chief Greg Priest, Town of West Hartford Fire Department; Dr. Scott Ratchford of West Hartford Public Schools Office of Equity Advancement; and Diversity Expert and Educator Kevin Booker, Jr. Other partners providing information and resources at the event included Town of West Hartford Social Services; WHPS School Counseling Department; WHPS Security staff/resource officers; Root2RISE; WHPS Open Choice Program; Rachit Foundation; Town of West Hartford Police Department; Town of West Hartford Leisure Services; Community of Concern parent volunteers; and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Groups volunteer parent leadership from several WHPS schools.

More than 100 attendees from over 35 families, including multi-racial and interracial adoptee families, enjoyed the beautiful autumn weather, fun outdoor activities, support, and more together. The event was made possible through financial support from WHPS Office of Equity Advancement and the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Groups and Parent Teacher Organizations/Associations of Aiken Elementary; Braeburn Elementary; Bugbee Elementary; Conard High School; Duffy Elementary; Norfeldt Elementary; and Sedgwick Middle School.

Members of Rachit Foundation, which provides financial assistance for families who have had organ transplants. Courtesy photo

While this was the first event of this kind, West Hartford Parent Community EDI Groups plan to hold another outdoor event for families of color in the spring.

The purpose of the West Hartford Parent Community EDI Groups is to create a collaborative space for parents, educators, and community members to come together to listen, learn, and take action on equity initiatives for systemic change that will ensure all children have the opportunities for educational success. In 2017, the first parent-led, school-based Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion group was established. Since then, other EDI groups have been established at almost all public schools in West Hartford. For more information, follow West Hartford Parent Community EDI Groups on Facebook, website, or by contacting [email protected].

Parent EDI Leaders Hannah Jackson and Nakia Alexander with Dr. Scott Ratchford of WHPS Office of Equity Advancement. Courtesy photo

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