Letter to the Editor: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training 'long overdue'

Kent Weeklies

I honorably served as an Officer in the United States Navy. I am a senior manager in a Fortune 500 company and adjunct faculty at an “institute of technology.” I speak 3 languages. I have multiple technical degrees and professional certifications and was a 2020 Black Engineer of The Year. I volunteer over 100 hours per year.

My eldest child is an HHS graduate with one remaining year of college. My daughter graduated from HHS summa cum laude and is currently attending an Ivy League university. My youngest is still trying to navigate the challenges of being Black in HHS.

The median income in Hudson is $134K, the median home value is $345K. I earn more per year than the median and my home is valued at higher than the median. Not only do I pay my fair share to the city and school system, I pay more than at least half of the other Hudson residents.

Despite our achievements or contributions to this community, it is currently unrealistic for me to expect my children of color to attend Hudson City Schools and not be subjected to racially motivated attacks, solely based on the color of their skin.

At the conclusion of the last BOE meeting, a white parent, in the back, was heard to articulate to a group that “they will never allow Hudson to hire a Black person over a more qualified white person.” Followed by, “that will happen over their dead body.” This is racial discrimination. This may seem reasonable on the surface, but this is an inherently racially discriminatory statement. It is racially discriminatory because no two candidates are ever equally qualified. By introducing race into the discussion, it creates fertile soil for racial discrimination.

Furthermore, not only is it racist, this language, “my dead body,” is in fact a call for violence. This person felt strongly enough about this that they would be willing to die for it.

Unless we embrace the winds of change, the apple will not be blown very far from the tree.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training is needed in the school, it is long overdue.

Thomas L. Peeples Jr., Hudson