Liz Exton, School Committee

I am writing to enthusiastically endorse Greg Christiana for town moderator.

I met Greg when I was first elected to Town Meeting in 2019. I happened to sit next to him in Town Hall, and he became my mentor, helping me understand the systems and procedures of Town Meeting. He immediately made me feel welcome.

In my work as a public school teacher, I frequently think about civics and its relationship to diversity and belonging. In one of our recent conversations about participation in local government, Greg brought to mind an equity continuum that I’d learned about during an educator workshop. The continuum describes the process of moving from diversity, to belonging, to inclusion, toward the goal of equity.

We often hear these words, but it’s not always clear what we mean by them, so I want to relate them specifically to Town Meeting and Greg’s priorities as moderator.

Diversity: The diversity of Town Meeting has increased over the years with a greater representation of races, genders, ages and economic backgrounds, but that is just the first step.

Belonging: Belonging relates to the culture created to welcome people across differences. It includes the physical space, the written word, and the conversation. It’s important to request information from Town Meeting members about how they’d like to be addressed and the correct pronunciation of their names. Accessibility of the space (in-person or virtual) and other accommodations also help create a sense of belonging. These are priorities for Greg.

Inclusion: Inclusion is the concept of participation. Greg will ensure that diverse populations are involved in decision making. As moderator, Greg would solicit and listen to feedback from members on the operations of the meeting. ALL members need to feel comfortable speaking and participating at Town Meeting. Greg will collect and analyze data and work toward diverse representation of speakers and appointees to town committees.

Equity: True equity requires changing the structures of power and privilege so disparities of historically underrepresented groups are eliminated. That is ongoing work that requires discomfort and courageous conversations from all Town Meeting members, but I know Greg is committed to working toward equity.

The moderator establishes the tone for the meeting and influences the culture. I believe that with Greg’s leadership, we can make meaningful progress toward equity in our town government. Please join me in voting for Greg Christiana for town moderator on April 2.