Photos courtesy of Brooke Bartletta Photography

Photos above courtesy of Brooke Bartletta Photography

We asked our Steering Committee for the Hingham Unity Council subcommittee for racial diversity and inclusion to express why they care and wanted to be part of this group, along with any particular thing they love about Hingham or the area.

michelle ayer

Michelle Ayer

I became involved with the Hingham Unity Council because a car full of young people called out a racist epithet to a black resident of our town as he strolled down Main Street; because a student was subjected to homophobic slurs throughout his high school career; because I saw Nazi symbols carved into the seats at the Sanborn auditorium. I don’t tolerate hate in my home and I won’t accept it in my hometown, so I joined the Hingham Unity Council to find a way to ensure that Hingham becomes a place where everyone can feel at home.

My favorite thing about Hingham is Town Meeting. I mean, I’m glad it’s only once a year, but it is democracy in action and is a privilege we should not take for granted.

Mark Boles

I am the grandson of a fierce Civil Rights Leader. A man who sat with LBJ to architect the machinations of the Civil Rights Act. Who was awarded the Medal of Freedom Award when it actually meant something. Who quietly soothed CEOs of the nation’s largest companies like Ford and American Express and convinced them to hire black people. I want to be involved on this committee and am being pulled into like minded Scituate groups and back into National Urban League conversations and Urban League of Eastern MA conversations on top of the robust family conversations in which my mother attempts to maintain the family name, my Aunt runs the Women’s Foundation of Colorado and is as tenacious as ever and then my cousin Jordan through her art tries to enable people to find simple humanity in black people. And in 1968, my grandfather said, “I have reached the point where I’m not remotely concerned with how white people feel. I’m only concerned with what white people do.”

Yet 52 years later, here we are. And Jesus, I’m tired. And I’m sad. I’m sad that I have two amazing, smart, athletic, talented and beautiful girls and my worst nightmare for them is coming true. They’re having to confront their race in ways that aren’t celebratory but are reminiscent of the struggle of the 1960s and 70s. Except it’s almost worse. They’re not having to embrace, “Black is Beautiful”. They’re having to embrace that their lives “MATTER”. Just matter. Matter.

Favorite area destination/pastime: We’re definitely spoiled down here by all the South Shore has to offer. I can often be found in the woods on my mountain bike. What’s sad is that I have friends who are people of color who aren’t comfortable coming down to explore beyond the more well known places like Nantasket.

Holly Maze Carter

Holly Carter (Advisor)

Dr. Holly Maze Carter brings a wealth of expertise and over four decades of professional experience in the areas of diversity and inclusion, organizational, educational and leadership development. She is Assoc. Professor Emerita at Northeastern University and Adjunct faculty at Woods College for Administration and Leadership at Boston College. She was founder and president of two international and leadership development organizations. She has consulted for academic and cultural institutions, not for profit and private corporations and government agencies. Select clients include The Peace Corps, Oxfam, Intel Corporation, Cisco Corporation, State Street Bank Foundation, The United Way of Eastern MA, MIT, US Department of State Foreign Service Training Institute, The Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Western Cape Education Department and The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. Most recently, Dr. Carter has provided four years of training and facilitation for the First Unitarian Universalist Society Racial Justice Ministry Committee in Newton, MA, facilitator training for Church of the Redeemer Beloved Community Committee, The Racial Healing, Justice and Reconciliation Ministry Network for the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, and co-design and conduct of Adult Education sessions on cultural difference, building beloved community and Sacred Ground at St. John the Evangelist in Hingham, MA. For the Church of the Redeemer and St. John the Evangelist, she also designed a specific facilitator training and training of the trainer manual.

Dr. Carter received her B.A. from Boston University, M.S. in passing and Ph.D. in Political Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Nes Correnti

I am a first-generation US Citizen. Both parents were born and raised in Canada. I grew up in Waltham, a city just 12 miles west of Boston. When I was very young, my father started to wear makeup daily. When I was 13, he underwent gender reassignment surgery without my family’s knowledge. This happened during a time when not a lot was known about transsexualism. At the time, I felt that it was a very heavy burden for a 13-year-old child to bear. I closed up, always worried about what people were thinking or whispering about us. Luckily, I had a wonderful mother who became both mother and father to us. She went back to work full time and raised her four kids primarily on her own. While my mother worked, my younger siblings and I spent every day at the local Boys and Girls Club. We felt a sense of acceptance and belonging there that ultimately helped us through our formative years. It was those experiences that taught me about working for the greater good and instilled in me the desire to be involved and give back to people. I reflect back on my teenage years and wish that instead of gossiping and whispering behind our backs, people instead came out to talk with us to try to understand. I believe there is much we can learn from one another if we actively work to listen and not judge, to understand different lived experiences and perspectives.

Favorite Hingham pastime/destination: I love being able to take advantage of the natural beauty of Hingham and the surrounding area by running, hiking and walking.

Tien Do-Suarez

Tien Do-Suarez

I grew up in a time when Vietnamese immigrants were not welcomed by everyone in the United States. However, it was overshadowed by acts of kindness and strangers willing to take a stand for my family. I always felt that my life introduced me to people that I need to meet and I was fortunate enough to develop meaningful relationships that shaped my perspectives and made me the person that I am. I am proud to be an immigrant, first generation kid, minority, woman, and an activist to help others that long struggle with equality and acceptance. Injustice exists and unfortunately has become a norm in our society. I choose to work hard and use my voice in hopes to bring awareness to issues that are harming others. Therefore, I am very grateful to be part of Hingham Unity Council to continue this work in our community.

Favorite Restaurant: Bloomy Rind
Favorite Coffee: Chemex from Redeye Roasters
Hobby: Cooking
Favorite Zen Place: World’s End

Pam Harty

I’ve been trying to understand why Hingham is homogenous on a number of metrics, and want to hear from voices inside (and outside) the town, and to share what I learn so that we can be a more attractive, inviting and safe community for all.

My favorite South Shore destination is Nantasket Beach, any time of year.

pam harty
Kerry Ni

Kerry Ni

As a South Shore native and 14 year resident of Hingham, I love the many characteristics that make our town unique: the way we support one another, our volunteer culture, and our sense of history, among others. As the white member of a mixed race family and a parent of two children with disabilities, I have seen how important inclusiveness is, both for its members and for the community itself. I am in this to listen, to learn, and because I believe that Hingham will be even stronger as we work together toward understanding our individual experiences.

My favorite thing about Hingham is the beautiful outdoor space and access to nature.

Emmanuel Oppong

I care about this work because my life and the lives of my sons depend on it.

Emmanuel Oppong
courtney orwig

Courtney Orwig

As one of several founding members of the Unity Council, my journey began in special education advocacy and working with parents in the community to ensure the needs of our vulnerable populations were being met. By engaging in disability rights work, parents vocalized experiences with race and sexual orientation discrimination. From my perspective all of these issues are interconnected. I became involved as I want to live in a community where we ensure that all human differences are embraced and all members feel included and valued. I took an eye-opening race dialogue course “Sacred Ground” through St. Johns which taught me how much was missing in our history textbooks and how much more I need to learn. I also want to ensure my own three children understand the past, their privilege and hopefully do their part to make the world a better place. As a resident of Hingham for just over twenty years, we have raised all three kids here and developed life long friendships and connections.

Tina Randall

When I moved to Hingham 12 years ago I used to joke that my family and I constituted the entirety of the 1% Hispanic population of Hingham. I valued Hingham’s reputation as a safe town with a good education system over diversity, but as time passed by, I came to the realization that lack of diversity becomes an obstacle to intercultural awareness and to the development of empathy towards people of different ethnicities, religions, national origins, and languages. I think we can do better as a community, working together to make Hingham a culturally richer, more inclusive town.

Favorite places: Living in Hingham means being close to all the places we love: Relaxing at Houghton’s Pond, spending the day at the beach, hiking in Blue Hills or Wompatuck, going to a museum or a concert in Boston, or simply walking around town!

Tina Randall
katie leavitt sutton

Katie Sutton (Chair)

I have come to love the Hingham community for many reasons. But I have also discovered that many people of color feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, and even unsafe here. Non-white people generally do not seem to want to move to this town and raise their families here. I hope HUC can create opportunities for me and others to discover why this is and how we might make the necessary changes so all people feel welcome here.

My favorite thing about living here is being near the ocean, using the beautiful open spaces and easy access to Boston.

Robin Weber

Our family loves Hingham for its beauty, history, schools and hockey! I joined the HUC to contribute towards a community that is inclusive and welcoming to all people and cultures. I am scared and saddened by the current racial climate in our country. I believe that change starts with individuals, and we can use our privilege to do good. It is no longer acceptable to be silent. I am doing this for my boys so that they are proud of their heritage, safe, confident, loved and appreciated by their peers. I am doing this for all people that feel marginalized and unheard.

Robin Lloyd Weber
Jenny Weymouth

Jenny Weymouth

When I moved here in 2014 I was desperately sad to leave the city and the energy, diversity and life that it held. While I have come to love the space and quiet of Hingham, I am still torn about raising my white children in such a white town. Through other equity work I have done to further my understanding about what it means to be white in our country and world in hopes to raise children who grow up with this understanding, it is no longer possible for me to ignore the power behind my whiteness. I decided to join the Hingham Unity Council to be able to work with other people in our town who have come to the same realization that the status quo is not ok. As a town that prides itself on civic involvement from our Town Meeting, the countless volunteer town committees, to our dedicated elected officials, this town is a place where I do think change can happen if enough citizens want it. The public voice and vote is strong. Our community cares deeply about Hingham and I hope the work I do with other HUC members can help provide resources, opportunities for discussion and most importantly actionable change that allows everyone in our community to feel safe and supported.

Favorite thing to do in Hingham: hiking, running, biking and walking in the conservation properties in our town.