In the July issue of The Villager, BAPA ran a front page article on the Moms of Beverly Facebook page and its anti-racism policy.
The article generated more response that any other story in the 40 year history of The Villager. Some of the emails, calls and social media messages were from people who chastised BAPA for reporting on the local social media group that they perceive as anti-police and anti-white. (The group has clearly refuted those claims.) But more communications, by far, came from people thanking BAPA for sharing information about the Moms of Beverly and its policy that takes an unyielding stand against racism.
The messages revealed how far we’ve come as a community since integration began here in the 1960s, and how far we have yet to go. Here are a few excerpts:
“We cannot tout how our neighborhood is proud of its integration without admitting that there is still work to be done and the many people working to move the community forward in that direction. Our neighborhood will rise up against the hate and I’m glad BAPA is on the right side of history.”
“I believe our neighborhood is at its best when we are inclusive and welcoming and diverse. I admire the work these women put into ensuring the page is safe for moms of color, and I commend BAPA for drawing attention to that work.”
“I find it hard to believe that in this neighborhood, in this day and age, one needs to worry about an article about a group trying to be anti-racist for themselves and their children.”
“To see that so many of my neighbors feel the same about combatting racism makes me love this neighborhood and feel confident that we made the right decision to move here.”
“I think a lot of people misunderstood the message because they themselves have not learned more about racism and how it manifests, but a group like [Moms of Beverly] really pushes people to think.”
For the BAPA staff and leaders, the response to the piece underscored how important it is to fight against bias of all kinds and work for productive conversations that will, finally and as fully as possible, bring people together.
BAPA is confident that Beverly/Morgan Park is up to the challenge as a community where connection and support defines us. Look through the pages of this issue of this publication to see our neighbors, our volunteers, our local busiesses and our families togehter building community, supporting one another and our first responders, and working together to love where we live.
The Villager highlighted the Moms of Beverly because of their commitment to anti-racism. As our reporter Kristin Boza wrote in the article, “In light of the actions and conversations taking place around racism across the country, the [Moms of Beverly] admin team decided an anti-racist statement was essential to move the group’s conversations forward, stating in part: ‘The reality is that discussing parenting is not possible in a diverse group of women unless conversations of race and equity are had. In this group, we will not be silencing the voices of Black mothers or anyone who seeks to be heard (except if you are blatantly racist) . . . We will, through our words and actions, oppose racism in all forms and seek to actively support initiatives that seek to promote equity and unity in our community.’ They asked all members to commit to anti-racism.”
At BAPA, we don’t see every social media post or hear every conversation, but we read and hear a lot.
We know that these are especially turbulent times, and that people are passionate about their beliefs. And we believe that we must always stand on the side of what is fair, just and inclusive.
The overwhelming positive response from our community to the Moms of Beverly article is an affirmation of this mission.