MELROSE, MA—After a rigorous selection process, it is my pleasure to announce that I have selected six members to serve on Melrose’s first 11-member Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Task Force.
My team and I vetted dozens of supremely qualified candidates, and I believe these individuals possess the experience, skills, and expertise will prove vital as we expand our efforts toward making our City more equitable and inclusive.
The volume of talent and interest in this task force made for a particularly challenging selection process. We received over 30 stellar applications from candidates committed to working toward a more just Melrose. Our next challenge will be ensuring that each of these applicants remain engaged with our efforts going forward. That we found so much untapped talent in this City is evidence of the need of this Task Force, and I am hopeful that the remaining candidates will join us on this journey in a different capacity.
The eleven individuals comprising the Task Force come from a variety of professional, educational backgrounds, and we worked to strike a balance of identities in the group, taking into consideration gender identity, sexual orientation, age, marital status, length of time in Melrose and more.
I am thrilled to introduce these individuals who will serve on the Task Force alongside me:
Samir Aslane, a first-generation American of Morroccan descent and lifelong Melrose resident, is currently pursuing his M.A. in Educational Leadership and Public Policy from the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College. His commitment to racial justice began during his undergraduate career where he was a member of the FACES Council at Boston College and spearheaded myriad efforts around race education and discussion, including moving the organization toward a multimedia-based approach.
Sharon Campbell comes to the Task Force with nearly two decades of experience working as a clinical mental health professional in a variety of settings including in-home, community care centers, and most recently in Malden schools. As a Black woman, parent of an MHS student, and accomplished clinician, she is looking forward to lending her expertise and experience to this partnership.
Polina Latta is a first-generation American whose family emigrated from Bulgaria and currently serves as the Director of Human Resources for the City of Melrose. She began her tenure here at City Hall last fall and is committed to developing a comprehensive recruitment strategy to foster DEI.
Manjula Karamcheti is a seasoned education professional currently serving as the Director of Equity and Student Support at The High Meadows Graduate School of Teaching and Learning. She is first-generation Indian American, a longstanding member of the Melrose community, parent to two MHS students, and a member of the Melrose Racial Justice Coalition Steering Committee.
Kelsey Lima (LSW), a newer Melrose resident, obtained her Master’s of Social Work from Boston University in September 2020, and has been working as an adoption social worker since 2018. She has completed coursework in a number of topics related to the Task Force’s mission such as racial justice, social policy, and Afro-Latino studies. As a biracial woman of Cape Verdean and Swedish descent, she plans to draw on her own experiences and well as her educational background while working with the Task Force.
Allyson Livingstone, Ph.D. is an accomplished Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion professional with a wealth of experience in conducting intersectional DEI assessments and developing strategies and curricula for growth in these areas. A Black woman, parent to a future MPS student, and Melrose resident, Allyson also has extensive experience as a social worker both in educational and clinical settings.
Leila Migliorelli, City Councilor-At-Large, is a Pakistani Irish Italian American woman who serves as Director of Donor Relations at Tufts University where she serves on the University Advancement Diversity Equity and Inclusion Task force. A parent to two Melrose public school students, Migliorelli has focused on financial transparency and improving the City’s DEI efforts through her work on council.
Joseph Phillips, a longstanding resident and active member of the Melrose community has served on the Melrose Human Rights Commission since 2020. He is the father of a BIPOC student attending Melrose schools, and is a leader in the finance industry.
Jen Razi-Thomas is serving in her first term on the Melrose School Committee. She is an education professional in the Salem Public Schools, with more than 20 years working as a school counselor and leader in educational and child welfare settings. With her spouse Andrea, she has two children who attend the Melrose Public Schools.
Thida Sam is a new multilingual Melrose resident with extensive experience in public policy in multinational settings. She is the founder of Spread the Words.Cambodia, a non-profit providing books and other learning materials in rural school communities. Most recently, she serves as a board member of Voces Latinas.
These individuals displayed a tremendous amount of courage in vulnerability in their applications and I have been moved by their stories. I am looking forward to what we will accomplish together.