Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at MWLS
At MetroWest Legal Services, we strive to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the services we provide and in the staff that provides them. This includes many viewpoints and characteristics, including race, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, education level, veteran status, immigration status, disability, socioeconomic status, and family and marital status, among others. Our Mission has always been rooted in serving the diverse communities that live in the 45 cities and towns that make up our service area. But we also recognize the goal that our workforce should reflect the communities we serve. We recognize the need to continue working toward this goal by continually educating ourselves.
Acknowledgments – Land and Labor
What is a Land Acknowledgment?
A Land Acknowledgment is a formal statement to show our respect for the Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of this land and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.
Why do we recognize the land?
To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose territory we live and work on, and a way of honoring the Indigenous Peoples who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial. It is important to understand the longstanding history that has brought those of us who are not indigenous to reside and work on this land and to seek to understand our place within that history. A Land Acknowledgment is a small step toward learning about, recognizing, and eventually working to repair the damaging practices that erase the history and culture of Indigenous Peoples. Naming the traditional Indigenous inhabitants of the lands on which we reside, work and commune is, for us, only the beginning of understanding our participation in ongoing colonialism of Indigenous territories.
MWLS Land Acknowledgment
MetroWest Legal Services acknowledges the Indigenous Peoples who first lived on and cared for the land where our building stands today: the Nipmuc and Massachusett We pledge to continue to educate ourselves about the history, legacy, and ongoing traditions of these Indigenous Peoples. We acknowledge the painful history of genocide and forced removal from this territory, and we honor and respect the many diverse Indigenous Peoples still connected to this land. We welcome conversations with Indigenous Peoples to discuss how MetroWest Legal Services might collaborate and provide support to the communities who were robbed of their native lands.
We also want to make another kind of acknowledgment, of the labor of African enslaved people, as well as indentured and immigrant workers who produced buildings in this area. Vulnerable people continue to contribute to our collective life, often working in unfair or abusive conditions due to the greed and oppression imbedded in capitalism. Unacknowledged, unpaid, and enslaved workers generated wealth in this area – and may have contributed to the establishment of numerous organizations and structures in the region. As with the Indigenous Peoples, the ways this forced labor and chattel slavery are braided through our legacy are not fully known yet. We hold ourselves accountable to continue research into these shared historical and present inequities, as well as to make meaningful reconciliation and reparations and, ultimately, to build a multicultural and equitable community.