Essex County Community Foundation Looks to Advance Racial Equity and Racial Justice

A 13-member committee made up of a diverse cross-section of local leaders is joining Essex County Community Foundation in advancing racial equity and racial justice within the organization and throughout Essex County.

The Foundation said in a statement that the decision to embed racial equity and justice as a foundational piece to all of the organization’s work came last year as COVID-19 began to “disproportionately ravage communities of color, awareness of violence against Black people increased and events surrounding the presidential election revealed the depth of our nation’s veiled racism.”

“The events of the past year have revealed the depths of racial inequity that exist in our country, and right here in Essex County,” said Foundation President and CEO Beth Francis. “It became clear that it was time for the Foundation, as a leader in the community, to mobilize and take action, and we are so fortunate to have such a passionate group of individuals working with us to move our region forward.”

The racial equity committee is being chaired by Ana Colmenero, who began working with the Foundation in 2017. Colmenero first came to Essex County Community Foundation as a charter member of the steering committee for the Creative County Initiative and, more recently, as a member of the foundation’s board of trustees.

“I am so honored to be a part of this critical work that will ultimately help to tear down walls built by decades of structural racism,” said Colmenero. “By working together as a community, I believe we can make changes in Essex County that lead it to becoming a more just and equitable region for all residents.”

Other committee members include: Karen Ansara, Noemi Custodia-Lora, Dean Marsh, Felicia Pierce, Elsabel Rincon, Pedro Soto, Claudia Fox Tree, John Wang and Foundation board members John Colucci, Bob Goldman, Christine Ortiz and Anita Worden.

Essex County Community Foundation is a nonprofit serving the 34 cities and towns of Essex County.

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