Stratham, NH., October 16, 2021 - The Racial Unity Team (RUT) is proud to announce the appointment of Mark Whitney, VP of Strategy at Exeter Health Resources, Exeter Hospital to its Board of Directors. Mark will serve the remaining one-year term of Board Member Rev. Robert Thompson, who stepped down because of other obligations. RUT is grateful for Rev. Thompson’s service and wishes him the very best in his future endeavors.
The Newfield, NH resident was accepted by unanimous vote by the RUT Board of Directors. “I am excited to welcome Mark as RUT’s newest Board member,” said Ken Mendis, Board Chair. “He is no stranger to RUT, having already served on two committees. His addition to the board embodies the spirit of community and adds a new talent, deep community knowledge, and a passion for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.”
“RUT is very fortunate to have Mark join our team as Board Member, as we continue our mission to advance relationships among people of different racial identities, increase understanding, and reduce racial bias in our community,” said Mendis. To learn more about the work of the Racial Unity Team or if you wish to volunteer, visit their website at www.racialunityteam.com.
The mission of the Racial Unity Team is “ To advance relationships among people of different racial identities, increase understanding, and reduce bias in our community.” Clearly a peaceful, loving, humanitarian view of the world lies behind this mission.
In order to achieve this mission, RUT works to focus on the diversity of our United States population, the need for equity (fairness) in all our policies and practices, the value of seeking inclusion of all peoples in the study of history and culture , in the framework of justice for all, a basic American principle.
Focusing on these goals, the Racial Unity Team has engaged in public and online programs, including fireside chats, workshops and training, to educate all of us so we may build a better, more unified society for all.
Yet these very goals are apparently threatening to some: the kind of anti-racism education and activity we are engaged in is labeled “propagation of divisive concepts” and should be prohibited – in any organization or workplace that receives state funding! The intent of HB544 is to prohibit diversity and anti-racist training in the workplace by denying history and limiting freedom of speech.
FEAR of expanded views of our country’s history and vigorous anti-racist activity is clearly a source of this proposed law: when HB544 was introduced at a legislative hearing, the public was told that the author of the “idea” of this proposed bill needed to remain anonymous because, as a professor/ he/she would jeopardize his/her position and could be the victim of job retaliation! The origin of this bill therefore bears close scrutiny. It is hard to imagine that an institute of higher learning would regard a study of systemic racism as divisive.
To examine system racism, implicit bias, reparations, colorism, the inequitable impact of Covid19 on certain populations, the need to revise educational curricula to bring accuracy to the fore , these have been the targets of the team’s work. Participation in and response to these events has demonstrated the need and value of these offerings. Wider understanding points to greater unity among all peoples in our society – NOT divisiveness!
The Racial Unity Team believes HB544 should be voted ITL (inexpedient to legislate.)
Board Member and Chair, Education Committee
Racial Unity Team salutes the life and legacy of Congressman John Lewis, one of the great moral and political leaders of our lifetimes. As a young man he was beaten and nearly killed, both as a Freedom Rider daring to integrate interstate buses and in the famous 1965 civil rights march at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. He became one of the longest-serving members of the House of Representatives, where he was an unwavering advocate for universal freedom and dignity. He never lost his faith in democracy and nonviolent direct action as the most powerful engines of beneficial social and political change.
Moreover, despite his long and deep experience of racist violence and hatred, he never faltered in his belief that non-violence was not a tactic or strategy but a way of being in the world, one that called him to a continuous affirmation of love toward all persons.
He will remain in our memory and our hearts as one of the truest and most inspiring models of unshakable humanity.
To watch the video "Remembering John Lewis" click on his image.
June 3, 2020
The horror of watching one black man’s life being choked off requires outrage. The violence and inhumanity that killed George Floyd, minute after minute, is the lens through which we see the terrible force of structural racism in our communities, our institutions and our nation. Every screen shot is witness to its brutality in what appears to have become common occurrence today - contempt for the life of a person of color.
The resulting fury — first locally, now nationally and internationally — expresses our collective grief in a moment of solidarity, but it also captures the essence of my anger and frustration and makes me ask what more can I do?
People of color, immigrants, Native Americans, people in prisons, the poor — the ones suffering and dying in greater numbers because of COVID-19 — bear the brunt of racial inequity in this country. That is why I will get up tomorrow and for as long as I can to continue the work we began as part of the Racial Unity Team in New Hampshire. And we need your help more than ever.
It is past time for much larger numbers of white citizens to stand up for the multi-racial, equitable society the United States has claimed to be. More people need to understand the country's actual history, including its complexities and its terrible burdens of racist violence and exclusion. It is those blind to racial inequity who worry us the most and to whom we also need to reach out. The Racial Unity Team needs your support and involvement in this work. Exeter needs your help, our teachers in our schools need your help, and more importantly our nation needs your help to raise up a generation of young people who are not only not racist but who are actively anti-racist.
For those of you with children and grandchildren, I call on you to start that conversation about race with your young children so we have hope for the future of this country that we all love so much.
Chair Board of Directors
Racial Unity Team