Two committee members at a school in Boston, who reportedly insulted white people in a local neighborhood, have resigned.
What they said: Boston School Committee members Lorna Rivera and the committee’s chair Alexandra Oliver-Dávila made the comments in a text exchange that was first reported by the Boston Globe.
The conversation reportedly took place during an October meeting that focused on a proposal to temporarily nix admission tests and instead look at MCAS scores, grades, and ZIP codes for admissions.
“Best school committee meeting ever. I’m trying not to cry,” Oliver-Davila allegedly texted Rivera, a professor of women’s studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston,
“Wait until the white racists start yelling at us,” Rivera reportedly wrote in the exchange.
“Whatever. They’re delusional. I hate WR,” Oliver-Dávila replied, referring to the West Roxbury neighborhood.
Rivera then said that she is “sick of westie whites,” to which Oliver-Davila wrote back: “Me too I really feel Like saying that!!!!”
The story: Rivera resigned Friday ahead of the texts’ publication, according to the Boston Globe. Oliver-Dávila reportedly told the publication’s columnist Marcela García that she did not intend to step down, but Boston.com reported Tuesday that she too has resigned.
Their response: Rivera claimed that the timing of the texts’ publication was suspicious.
“This is a right-wing coordinated effort to derail [the] BPS exam school vote,” she told the Boston Globe. “The timing and leak of these texts were intentional and an inside job.”
Oliver-Dávila also said she “felt like it was strategy [to leak the texts] at this moment in time,” and that someone waited for the right moment to release the messages.
“I do feel it’s being weaponized against the equity work that we’re doing,” she reportedly said.
Both apologized for the remarks they made in the text exchange.
Oliver-Dávila said they were sent “in the heat of the moment” during “a moment of so much negativity about our children of color,” according to Boston.com.
She claimed that she was “personally targeted in school” in the neighborhood as an immigrant and that Rivera was “attacked online and targeted for her comments on racial reckoning, and has received death threats during her service as a School Committee member.”
“I apologize for my comments and the hurt they have caused,” she wrote in her resignation letter, but noted that she does not regret writing the remarks nor is ashamed “of the feelings from history that made me write those words.”
“Nationally and locally, there are white supremacist groups that are coordinating efforts to ban the teaching of ethnic studies, diversity and inclusion activities, and other racial equity work in our public schools and universities,” Rivera wrote in her letter of resignation, according to Boston.com.
“I am being targeted as a Latina gender studies professor who teaches about racism, patriarchy, and oppression,” she added.
Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said the texts were “disappointing and hurtful to the Boston Public Schools community, and to our larger efforts to combat racism in all forms.”
Acting Mayor Kim Janey said: “The shared experience of Ms. Oliver-Davila and Dr. Rivera, and their decision to step down, amplifies the need for meaningful dialog and important work we must do as a city to address racism. Sadly, their departure also leaves a void in Latina leadership on our school committee that I am determined to address.”
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