RESTORATIVE HISTORY: Spotlighting The Untold Stories
YCARE members have formed 2 project groups that are working to tell a fuller history of this place we call Yarmouth; a history that includes pre-settler colonial presence and spotlights the people and stories that have been excluded from our local narrative. Members of these groups are searching for answers in historical archives, listening to those most impacted, and connecting with communities across the state that continue to resist these exclusions. Together, with their diverse voices, these groups are making history and imagining a more just and inclusive future.
YCARE Indigenous Awareness Group Established in 2020, this group is focused on increasing resident’s awareness of the indigenous history of this area we now call Yarmouth. Members include indigenous and non-indigenous residents of Yarmouth. You are welcome to join current efforts to:
Create Park Signage Highlighting Indigenous History and Perspectives- YCARE and YCS have been fortunate to engage with with Dwayne Tomah, Passamaquoddy language keeper to create signage for the Riverfront Woods Preserve. Signage will include a land acknowledgement and feature some of the living beings found in the area.
Rename the Royal River First Falls as Pumgustock- YCARE and the Royal River Conservation Trust (RRCT) recently sent a request to the Town Council asking them to initiate a USGS naming process for Pumgustuck. The hope is that the Council will use the opportunity for education on Yarmouth's rich Wabanaki history, to amplify the work of others to date, and to embrace Yarmouth's many Wabanaki residents living and thriving today as leaders. Read the request here.
Organize Local Educational Events for Indigenous People’s Day Oct 9, 2023 and beyond...
YCARE Group Re-centering the History of Black and Other Racially Marginalized People Many communities in New England are researching, revealing and beginning to reckon with their complicity in the slave trade and the global economy of enslavement while re-centering the stories of its racially marginalized groups. YCARE members have just begun this process. They are digging into local and state historical archives and connecting with churches and other community organizations who often have records stored away. They have also joined the collaborative research platform and learning community created by the Atlantic Black Box Project (ABB). The ABB serves as a very inspirational hub and a clearinghouse to all those who wish to support this work. We invite you to join us as we dive into our collective past and explore its full complexity.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Research, Advocacy, Engagement
Over the past two years, YCARE, the Yarmouth Police Department and Town Council members have learned together about the work of Police Services Advisory Committees (PSAC) and laid the groundwork for what a committee could look like in our town. We're pleased to inform you that in May 2023 our Town Council created a PSAC and is now seeking members!
YCARE has been interested in the formation of such a committee since the spring of 2020 with the George Floyd murder at the hands of Minneapolis police officers and the subsequent nationwide protests that followed. We began to envision our town having a committee that would be a resource in times when racism in our town is visible, such as when racist, homophobic graffiti was painted on Little John Island causeway, but would also address the invisible racism, such as the persistent experience of bias in policing that members of our community regularly face. It was around that time that we became aware that Freeport and several other nearby towns had adopted a similar process of citizen involvement.
YCARE now envisions a committee that fosters dialogue and problem-solving among law enforcement, town council and community members and supports efforts to prevent and remove opportunities for bias by instituting practices, policies and protocols that require all of us to address institutional racism.
Over the past two years, YCARE, the Yarmouth Police Department and Town Council members have learned together about the work of Police Services Advisory Committees (PSAC) and laid the groundwork for what a committee could look like in our town. We are very happy to inform you that our Town Council has created a PSAC and is now seeking members! If you've ever wondered what you can do to help further the cause of racial equity in our town, this could be an opportunity for you to help foster dialogue. As always, contact us if you have any questions. Apply here.
Here is a link to read the Resolution Establishing Police Services Advisory Committee — 2023 (link on new town website is coming soon)
Since 2019, YCARE members have been engaged in relationship building and information sharing with Chief Dan Gallant and the Town Council. Ongoing discussions, research and advocacy has centered around:
Yarmouth's Use of Force policies- YCARE registered Yarmouth in the Campaign Zero/8cantwait data base (https://8cantwait.org) and discovered that Yarmouth is in compliance with 5 out of 8 use of force policies.
Gathering data on traffic stops and other police actions to discern differences in treatment (requests of the YPD and anecdotal reporting by Yarmouth residents)
Advocating for the purchase of body cams by the local police
Educating ourselves on the use of tasers over firearms
EDUCATION REFORM: Serving on Yarmouth School Equity Task Force
In 2020, the School Committee authorized formation of the Equity Task Force (ETF) to promote an inclusive environment where all students may thrive; identify the systemic inequities that impact educational spaces; and propose recommendations to address all forms of institutional bias in the Yarmouth Schools pertaining to race, religion, country of origin, gender or gender identity, age, sexual orientation, disability, socio-economic status, or any other protected category or identity.
In the 2021-22 school year, the ETF invited community members to participate in 4 working groups: policies and protocols, student leadership, academics and programming, and family engagement. YCARE members served on each of these working groups.
In 2022-23, the School Committee passed a Transgender & Gender Expansive Policy based on feedback from ETF and the wider community.
Upcoming work of the ETF includes two projects:
implementation of an Equity Audit with anticipated start of August/September 2023
developing Policy/Procedures to Address Harmful Language including N-Slur/N-Word Guidelines and currently drafting Discriminatory & Harmful Language Guidance. The plan is to implement at the start of 2023-2024 school year and include training.