What is F.I.R.E?
The racial equity organization is spearheaded by Webster CSD
Webster, NY - The subject of race has always been a widespread conversation of interest. It has become even more of a topic of discussion as of late. But for Webster organization F.I.R.E, it’s the only topic on the table.
F.I.R.E (Families Igniting Racial Equity) is a parent-led organization spearheaded by the Webster Central School District. Its mission is “to build a racially- and economically-just community,” according to WCSD’s website.
“The meetings have provided a forum for the participants to share their lived experiences, particularly as it relates to those whose backgrounds, languages, cultures, etc. differ from the majority of the residents and staff in Webster,” Terry McCarthy, Webster CSD Director of Humanities, shared in an email.
F.I.R.E’s first meeting took place in March 2019. According to McCarthy, it was established to provide the space for families to engage in discussions related to equity and diversity.
Originally formed by WCSD, the organization has developed into a collaborative effort amongst parents, allies, community members, and WCSD staff. Its steering committee consists of parents, allies, district personnel, and board of education members.
McCarthy says F.I.R.E now has nearly 200 members on its email list, with meeting attendance ranging from 50 to 75 people.
“Much of F.I.R.E’s early work has been focused on establishing a solid foundation of the group and supporting the needs of our families/students,” McCarthy said.
To grow awareness of the various cultures in Webster, McCarthy says F.I.R.E has promoted a number of activities. For example, last November, the group boasted more than 300 people throughout the community attending a Hispanic Heritage celebration in Webster.
“Through the generous support of the Webster PTSA, the local band Cinco Con Swing provided live music and dance lessons,” McCarthy said of the celebration.
Additionally, last winter, Webster elementary students were treated to a school-wide assembly centered on African drumming and dancing.
F.I.R.E had planned on partnering with the PTSA to have the Garth Fagan Dance Company perform at the annual Community Arts Day this year. But due to COVID-19, Community Arts Day was canceled.
F.I.R.E is a much-needed tool for growing WCSD’s message of community-wide inclusiveness, says McCarthy.
“As a district, our approach to diversity aligns with our ‘One Webster’ vision,” said McCarthy. “We believe it is important that we build on those many things that bring us together as part of the ‘One.’”
He added, “Additionally, we think it is critical that we honor the many wonderful aspects that make us different, and thus, ‘One’ as individuals. Through this approach, we believe we can continue to build upon the strong foundation of Webster’s schools, while shaping an education to prepare students for their future.”
Receive more information about F.I.R.E by contacting McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org or (585) 216-0080.