Governor's Council on Diversity Pledges Return to Claremont, More Dialogue on Rights

May 4, 2018

Upper Valley residents gathered for a vigil in Claremont last fall after an attack on a young biracial boy by local teens.
Credit Britta Greene / NHPR

An advisory council appointed by Governor Chris Sununu to look at race and diversity issues said they'll return to Claremont after an initial public meeting Thursday night.  

 The city was the site of an attack on a young biracial boy last year that made national headlines. Discussion at the meeting, part of series of listening sessions the council is performing around the state, focused to a large degree on that incident.

“There’s a lot of really good desire to invest in making sure that doesn’t happen again,” said Dottie Morris, who sits on the council and has worked with community groups to facilitate discussions on equity in the city.

Members of the advisory council, though, were hoping for a larger turnout and pledged to return to hear from more residents. Several community members who have been active on race issues chose to attend another local meeting, on renewable energy, scheduled for the same time. In total, less than 20 local residents filled the room, the vast majority older and white.  

They boy’s family, who called the August attack an attempted lynching and said local police initially mishandled the investigation, was not in attendance.

The city’s mayor, Charlene Lovett, and school superintendent, Middleton McGoodwin, said the incident last year was a turning point for them, personally, to reflect on what they should be doing to address racial disparities and discrimination. They joined other local officials in thanking the advisory council for making the trip.