Betty Vaughan

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Litchfield Mirror, LCTV, LCM, the Town of Litchfield or it’s elected officials.

I think in America we have come a long way in overcoming racism and sexism.  Most people don’t consider themselves racist and will address racism that they see.  What are our next steps?  I see our next steps as confronting the issues that the “divisive concepts” bill is trying to avoid.  I would like to see NH and the country do research about the ways that systemic racism and sexism affects our culture.  A year ago, after the death of George Floyd we all had a reckoning.  The letter of unity by the school sort of summed up how we were all feeling and showed our willingness to make changes in our culture to be more inclusive and equitable.  Now that time has passed and the pain of seeing George Floyd murdered has lessened, we are now seeing people backtracking on the idea that we can make systemic changes in our town, state and country that will make it more equitable for all people.  

I guess my concern now that I heard the two state reps from Manchester speak is that the legislature is now dictating how and what teachers can teach.  They came to the school board meeting and one rep shared the most extreme examples of of how people would want our country to change  in response to racism to validate why they created HB544.  One state rep basically threatened the school board with they better listen and they better not teach CRT or else.  Those two people speaking sort of crystalized for me how wrong and inappropriate it is for the legislature to be dictating whether or not we can talk about or act on racism and sexism in a public or government entity. 

My belief is that we can be sensible and pragmatic and still acknowledge that there is inequity and racism in the world.  We can acknowledge that there is systemic racism.  The below “divisive concepts” bill is the state legislature trying to control whether we progress in becoming a society that recognizes inequity and works to change it.  They would like to stop us from understanding systemic racism and acting to make our communities more equitable.  This bill is asking us to move backwards and accept all the ways our society treats people differently based on race or culture or gender.  We need to stand up and say we don’t accept the legislature dictating to us how we run our schools or police departments or any other public entity.  We can take that next step and make our communities better for everyone. We can learn from history and know we don’t want the ugliness of racism and sexism to exist any longer.  We can change. 

Link to HB544 https://legiscan.com/NH/text/HB544/id/2238380