WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2013/2014

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/210435

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Page 117 of 211

World of Welesley board members interviewed for this article expressed a deep desire to keep diversity at the forefront of the community's conversation. "Understanding is the building block of tolerance," says Je'Lesia M. Jones, the current President of WOW, "but we have a ways to go. For instance, young black women from Wellesley College will patronize businesses on Central Street and they will still be treated differently or there will be an incident." It is these kinds of injustices that keep this small band of board members energized. But as the US enters its fifth year of having an African American president, the question of WOW's relevancy is one that needs to be addressed. "I think people today see a president of color and perhaps think all is right with the world," says Professor Gimbel Schnitman, "but we need a WOW to keep knocking us on the head to remind us that we are still not there yet. " The WOW Essay Program is another way of reminding us that we are not there yet. Every year, 400 fifth graders complete an essay on the theme of diversity. The topics raised in these essays reflect the acute awareness that young people possess about the We l l e s l e y We s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 3 / 2 0 1 4 damage that every day prejudice can inflict. It is of the essay program that Richard McGhee is most proud. "We engage young people at a time when it is important for their development," he says. "We aren't going to change any old heads so we need to start with the young ones." 116

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