The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion page offers a space for families to tell us about their views on equity. We will post submissions along with responses, resources, and an invitation to continue the conversation.
Community response: “When others feel as safe in our communities as your average white man.”
The response below was provided by Dr. Janis Velasquez-Farmer, director of equity, diversity and inclusion for Bellingham Public Schools.
The concept of safety in physical, social, and mental applications should be considered. Our current racial climate questions unapologetically the safety of our Black and Brown community members, discussed in movements such as Black Lives Matter and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Finding safe spaces often means finding those with similar justice lenses, similar backgrounds, and honestly, similar racial constructs and ethnicities. The place where many Black and Brown individuals feel “as safe…as your average white man” is most often the place they create for themselves, in solidarity and away from public spheres.
Safety can be an ongoing issue for people who identify as and present as women, where objectification and deep disrespect can lead to physical, social, and emotional harm. Worldwide, women tend to feel less safe than men, or male-passing individuals.
Trans individuals face safety issues from a multitude of sources, impacting everyday social interactions, such as going to school or meeting friends for lunch. There is a contentious relationship with been seen and valued and being safe.
Does this mean that all White men share the same level of safety? No. There are many gaps in safety to explore and while Gallup offers national research, our local environment may offer a different story. Important to note: Crime rates and the concept of safety are not the same.
This is a big topic and we presented only a couple of considerations. It could be possible for communities to create safety, if all contribute equitably, not equally, to the cause.
How do you contribute to safety in our community? Please continue the conversation in the comments.