Over 10 years ago we changed our name from the Winchester Substance Abuse Coalition to the Winchester Coalition for a Safer Community. Although we spend a lot of time working to educate the community regarding issues of substance misuse and other risky behaviors, we also address issues of mental health, identity and self-esteem since we believe that they are all interrelated. We wanted our name to represent our broader mission.
As an organization committed to the safety and well-being of our residents, we condemn anything that threatens this safety and well-being. We condemn racism and violence in all forms. We were sickened by the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis officers, which is just one example of so many horrific assaults against the black community. We stand in solidarity with those who are protesting peacefully.
Our town has evolved and grown, and we welcome residents from many countries and cultures. We celebrate our diversity in our schools and town organizations. We believe that recognizing white privilege is a critical step in building a community that is just and equitable for all members, and we will work to educate ourselves regarding issues of systemic racial injustice. We will continue to stand for policies that treat addiction as a public health issue and to call for treatment — not jail sentences — for those who are struggling. We will look for concrete steps that we can take to make change.
As part of this, we will continue to work with our partners: Winchester Public Schools, Winchester Police Department, Winchester Fire Department, the Jenks Center, Winchester Public Library, Parent to Parent, the Winchester Foundation for Educational Excellence, and the Network for Social Justice. We are pleased that our town leaders are also committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, with zero tolerance for racism, hatred or bigotry.
For those who want to take steps right now, see the links below from the Obama Foundation: https://www.obama.org/anguish-and-action/.