Human Rights, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee

Members Contact:

Staff Contact: John Bugbee

On March 22, 2021 the Board of Selectmen voted to establish an advisory committee known as the Human Rights, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.  Below is the Charge of the Committee:

Purpose. There shall hereby be established an advisory committee to the Board of Selectmen to be known as the Wayland Human Rights, Diversity, Equity[1], and Inclusion Committee, hereinafter referred to as the “Committee.” The purpose of creating the Committee is to affirm that the Town of Wayland is an inclusive community that has, as one of its core values, the freedom from discrimination, disrespect, bigotry, other forms of microaggressions, macroaggressions, hatred and oppression, and to reaffirm the Town’s commitment to upholding and defending the rights of all individuals to enjoy the free and equal exercise of their human and civil rights and privileges.

To that end, the Committee strives to ensure that all persons enjoy the equal opportunity to participate in local affairs, including but not limited to housing, employment, education, public accommodation, access to Town services, insurance, credit, banking and health care, regardless of race, color, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religion, disability, health status, marital or familial status, military or veteran status, socioeconomic status, and/or ex- offender status.

Composition. The Town Administrator or designee shall serve as an ex officio non-voting member of the Committee. The Committee shall consist of nine (9) voting members and may have up to an additional seven (7) non-voting members.  The non-voting membership of the Committee shall include two (2) youth members.  To the greatest extent possible, the members of the Committee shall be diverse and be drawn from underrepresented groups.  To that end, the Board of Selectmen shall strongly endeavor to ensure that its members represent: (1) historically marginalized communities, and (2) relevant experience in human rights/equity, community engagement, municipal government, and advocacy for individuals who are targets or mistreatment or discrimination.

Term. The voting members shall be appointed initially as follows, and thereafter for terms of three years: three (3) members until 30 June 2022; three (3) members until 30 June 2023, and three (3) members until 30 June 2024. Non-voting members shall be initially as follows, and thereafter for terms of three years: two (2) members until 30 June 2022; two (2) members until 30 June 2023, and three (3) members until 30 June 2024.  The members of the Committee shall serve without compensation.  Members may only serve two (2) consecutive terms.  Members are eligible to be re-appointed to the committee after one (1) year of break in service.

Duties. The Committee shall serve in an advisory capacity to the Board of Selectmen, and shall have the following charge and responsibilities:

  1. Create action plans for advancing the purpose and goals of the Committee, and periodically conduct equity assessments and audits in collaboration with appropriate Town officials and for resolving issues identified in any such assessment.
  2. Serve as a portal for residents or visitors to make a report about concerns, complaints or questions of discrimination or unequal treatment of individuals within the Town of Wayland, so that victims and witnesses can feel safe and town officials can investigate such reports, concerns, complaints or questions.  The Committee shall develop procedures for accepting and managing complaints, whether anonymous or named, and protecting the reputation of all parties involved as appropriate and legally required.  While the Committee may report and render recommendations on certain issues involving the Town, the Committee does not have the authority to formally investigate complaints, the power to subpoena witnesses or take sworn testimony, or the power to adjudicate or mediate the resolution of disputes between individuals or entities.
  3. Recommend resolutions or policies for adoption by the Board of Selectmen or the Town Administrator, or for the Board of Selectmen or Town Administrator to recommend for adoption by other departments, boards, and committees within the Town;
  4. Recommend programs and initiatives to promote diversity, inclusion, awareness and anti-discrimination in the Town;
  5. Promote an understanding of the diverse cultures within the Town and surrounding areas by working with governmental and non-governmental human rights organizations through education, organization of community events, conferences, public speaking programs, educational panels, celebrations and other community actions;
  6. Serve as a resource to the Board of Selectmen with respect to issues that challenge any individual or group’s enjoyment of their basic human rights in the Town;
  7. Collaborate with representatives from historically disadvantaged groups to better understand barriers to inclusion, diversity, and equity in the community, promote mutual understanding and respect for differences, develop strategies for ending inequities and eliminating these barriers;
  8. Annually, and more often as may be requested or as may be needed, provide a written report to the Board of Selectmen on the Committee’s activities, and hold a public forum to review and discuss the annual report.  The Committee may also prepare written or oral reports on racial, religious, ethnic, gender, disability, age, and civic initiatives or relationships, including on police relations, to cultivate and encourage an atmosphere of mutual understanding and harmonious intergroup relationships in the Town, at its own initiative or on the request of Town entities, businesses, or residents.
  9. Collaborate with other towns’ human rights committees to share resources, conduct joint meetings, and make joint recommendations as appropriate on issues concerning the communities in the region;
  10. Encourage citizen attendance at panels, meetings, conferences, celebrations or other educational or community events held by municipal or regional human rights committees, private or public corporations, organizations, high schools, or universities.

Procedures. The Committee shall annually select from amongst its members a chair, vice- chair, and clerk.  The clerk shall be responsible for the preparation of meeting minutes, agendas, and other administrative matters for the Committee, all of which shall be posted in accordance with the Open Meeting Law.

A majority of members of the Committee shall constitute a quorum, and a majority of those present and voting shall be sufficient for any action taken by the Committee, unless otherwise required by law. The Committee shall be subject to and governed by the requirements of the Open Meeting and Public Records Laws.

[1] Equity is defined as: the condition of fair and just inclusion into a society.  Equity will exist when those who have been most marginalized have equal access to opportunities, power, participation and resources, and all have avenues to safe, healthy, productive and fulfilling lives. (thanks to MAPC for definition).