Unity Day: Doing Something Together
The second annual Unity Day took place at the Elks Lodge in Natick on January 10, 2018. The event was sponsored by the MetroWest Human Services Advocacy Coalition. The Coalition is made up of four area human service agencies: Wayside Youth & Family Support Network, South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC), Advocates, and Justice Resource Institute (JRI).
Emceed by Wayside’s Director of People & Culture and Chief Diversity Officer, Guimel DeCarvalho, the afternoon began with a “postcard avalanche.” Participants were invited to make their voices heard by submitting their requests for change and improvement to their local, state, or federal representatives. To learn more about different ways to help, we encourage you to visit our online toolbox – waysideyouth.org/unityday – for a range of additional resources.
The day also featured four individuals telling their real life stories around this theme of taking action and “Doing Something Together.”
Nanci DaSilva, Wayside’s Risk Management Coordinator, spoke about her own personal advocacy work. She urged the audience: “do not allow yourself to be silenced.” Dhruba Sen, founder of Showing Up for Racial Justice, spoke of his life long fight for justice from the nonviolent walk out that he led. Dhruba emphasized his bystander training and how “it’s common sense to intervene when someone is being harmed.”
Following Nanci DaSilva and Dhruba Sen, the next speaker was Sean Rose, the Executive Director of JRI in Connecticut and the recent elect to City Counselor of Worcester District One. Sean spoke about his mother and how he learned about public service and social justice from her. He remembered his mother telling him: “Things may not be so great for us but there are others in more need and we have a responsibility.” Sean talked about his drive to get on the City Council and how he was not going to get “out-worked” because he has “sweat equity” and his belief in these four words: Energy, commitment, passion, and drive.
Finally, the current and first mayor of Framingham, Yvonne Spicer, spoke about how “if we are to be a city, we will be the best city we can be!” Framingham had previously been a town since 1700 but the recent election voted for the move to a city. Mayor Spicer talked about the most disenfranchised people who “don’t have boots to put on-let alone the ability to pull themselves up by their book straps.” She spoke of her 32 years living in Framingham and how the city has “good bones”. The Mayor’s message was for the possibilities and opportunity to come together for Framingham to “be our best and do our best”. She talked about leading from her heart and appreciated the idea of unity as a way to begin.
As a way to help the event allow people to practice, each table was asked to form an affinity group based on an assigned topic, ranging from Star Wars Loves to Singers. An affinity group is defined as a group of people linked by a common interest or purpose. The end of the event announced the cross-agency affinity group, a place where staff from across the four agencies will have a place to connect with one another for advocacy work. The group will be co-led by Taiany Goulart from Wayside Youth & Family Support Network and Deirdre Hunter from Justice Resource Institute. If you are interested in attending the group please email: [email protected].
We are thrilled that the second annual Unity Day was so successful and continue to spread the message of how important it is to Do Something Together!