OPINION: Westerly Parent Responds to “Hit Job” by anti-Racism Group

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Anti-Racism Coalition (ARC), is a Westerly, Rhode Island based group, self-billed as the town’s first multicultural committee, whose stated mission is “Embracing multiculturalism to address racism through education and empowerment.”

Concerned parents and ARC have regularly been engaged in a war of words – online and at public meetings – about what is or is not appropriate educational content for K-12 students in Westerly, when it come the larger Diversity Equity and Inclusion agenda.

In a November 5 posting online, directly aimed at parent-advocate, Bob Chiaradio, ARC derided what it called “personal attacks of hate and intimidation from individuals … (of whom) we no longer can doubt their racist motives, the harm they want to inflict … and the division they want to inflict on our community.”

In the opinion piece, below, Robert Chiaradio responds.


Following is my response to ARC’s disturbing, yet predictable hit job on me, for simply telling and showing the truth. Of course, since this letter was written, Westerly voters elected both ARC candidates; Leslie Dunn (School Committee) and Kevin Lowther (Town Council). Dunn was the highest school committee vote-getter. Our job of saving Westerly’s kids and our town just got a whole lot more difficult.

ARC’s response to my posting damaging videos of their members over the past couple of weeks is no surprise to me. Their steering committee mistakenly believes that they are the public body who was in violation during their private meetings with the Westerly town council and Westerly school committee. Anything to claim victimhood.  In fact, the public bodies that are mentioned in the OMA law are the school committee and town council, and not ARC. Those are the public bodies against whom OMA violation complaints have been filed. I have all Zoom meeting invite emails, as well as all follow up meeting emails. I have all the people who were invited and all the people who attended. I also have Westerly town council candidate Kevin Lowther‘s video stating that ARC had three separate private meetings with the school committee, the town Council,  and law enforcement. Not sure how that is hateful on my end. It is the truth.

Secondly Miss Dinwoodie is on video stating the four cornerstones of ARC are as follows: housing, education, “which is the teaching of critical race theory”,  voting rights, and policing. This is also on the video. I don’t care if it isn’t on your website or in your mission statement or where it isn’t. Miss Dinwoodie  said those words, and she cannot run away from them. Please explain to me how this is a racist attack on anyone.. Again, it is the truth. Fact.

Thirdly the authors of their response claim that I have attacked all three people of color in the anti-racism coalition. Those are the only three people that have opined and said anything at all publicly. The white people in this cartel have not said anything publicly, so why would I say anything about them?  Ms Dinwoodie, Ms. Dunn, and Mr. Lowther are all on video making various claims regarding racial discrimination in Westerly, micro aggressions, fear of white police officers, but have offered nothing specific in order to back up these claims. They say I’m from a national group?  These claims sound strangely like those from the national BLM movement.What do they expect when they accuse a town of being racist, with nothing of fact to support such a mean-spirited claim?  Do they expect no opinion contrary to their baseless accusation?  Again, how is this racist on my end?  As always, I told the truth.

As I stated earlier, ARC’s response is not surprising. In fact, it is in keeping with the reactions I have received for two-plus years from our superintendent, assistant superintendent, and school committee chair, when I have presented fact after fact after fact and document after document, proving every single thing I have alleged is going on in Westerly Public Schools. I am defamed, and name called: member of a right wing national group; right wing nut; hitting a new low; member of a hate group; liar; and on and on it goes. ARC simply calls me a racist. This is what the hard left does. When confronted with fact-based information, they have nothing else to come back with, so they resort to name calling and smearing and libeling. Leaders of the school district and ARC do not have the best interests of Westerly‘s kids or our town at heart. They care about an agenda. They accuse me of doing exactly what they themselves do.

ARC is nothing more than spouters of racialized hyperbole, hate, and tribalism, all tactics used to divide us rather than unite us. They prey on those who are afraid to be labeled as racists and bigots for simply telling the truth. Don’t be fooled by this group. I am certainly not intimidated by these people. I am neither a racist nor a bigot, but a Christian who will always stand up and fight for what is right. Seth Logan and Lori Wycall will also. Please elect them both to the Westerly school committee. Reject Leslie Dunn for school committee and Kevin Lowther for town council.

We are nowhere near finished.  These people must know that we are onto them for the race-hustling frauds they are, and that we will never stop fighting for Westerly’s kids, our good teachers, and this great country.

PS: Lori Wycall won election to the Westerly School Committee while Seth Logan lost his bid.

— Robert J. Chiaradio, Jr

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