Volunteers in Wellesley have started a community-based “Freedom Team” initiative to support people who are victimized by racism and bias.
The effort was begun in response to reports from people who experienced incidents of racism and bias “that are not defined as hate crimes, and therefore, cannot be addressed under the law,” according to a statement posted to the town website late last month.
“The Freedom Team aims to provide a confidential and respectful space to air concerns and to help develop actionable next steps to resolve situations for victims,” the statement said.
Members of the team include community leaders, educators, and faith leaders, the statement said, and the initiative has the support of Wellesley town officials.
Wellesley residents, as well as people who work in town, are encouraged to contact the team if they experience or witness bias-motivated threats, harassment, or violence, the statement said.
The team’s hotline is 339-216-0124, and it can be reached via e-mail at WellesleyFreedomTeam@gmail.com. All calls and e-mails will remain confidential, the statement said.
Residents who fear for their safety should call 911 immediately, the statement said.
If an incident constitutes a hate crime, the team will connect victims to the Wellesley Police Department, according to the statement.
“The team’s intent is to respond with urgency whenever members become aware of individuals who experience threats, harassment, or violence related to race, color, sex, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, or class,” the statement said.
John Hilliard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.