Non-Profit to Make CT More Equitable

Gabby Moore

SCORE works toward their goal of
making CT more inclusive

Since the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, many new organizations and groups have blossomed with the determination to make the world a better place for people of color, one being the Southeastern Connecticut Organization For Racial Equity (SCORE). SCORE is a nonprofit organization created to help Southeastern Connecticut become more racially equitable. “We can appreciate the work that EL has put in towards focusing on equity in the past and still acknowledge that there is still room for improvement,” member of SCORE and junior Cecile Horst said. EL has been behind on several issues concerning equality, which is why SCORE has focused on the town.

SCORE has worked with the Cultural Awareness Club here at ELHS to present opportunities such as summer internships and scholarships. “We try to influence [government officials] in their decision-making to view important policy issues through an equity lens. So, having them ask questions around, ‘how will this decision affect minority populations as well as majority populations?’ Our goal is to make these leaders use that lens more so they can make decisions that make towns more equitable,” current executive director of SCORE Benjamin Ostrowski said. In June of 2020, Mr. Ostrowski helped organize a protest in EL with the goal of giving people of color a chance to speak
about their experiences. After that event, several people including Mr. Ostrowski started putting forth a more serious effort in how they wanted to make change, eventually applying for 501(c)(3) status which makes SCORE an official nonprofit organization in the eyes of the government. SCORE works with local East Lyme boards of government including the Board of Education, the Board of Finance, the Board of Selectmen, and the police department to
accomplish their goals. Members of SCORE include Board of Education member Esteban Garcia and ELHS graduate Anneliese Lapides. Both use their positions and perspectives to raise awareness.

Recently, SCORE has worked with superintendent Jeff Newton and the Board of Education on how to make the school more equitable. SCORE took action by talking to the Board of Selectmen (BOS) about about an equity panel and viewing issues from an equity perspective. SCORE has focused on getting towns to view racism as a health crisis, which has already happened in several other towns in CT. As of right now, SCORE doesn’t have a formal way of accepting volunteers, but their plans for the summer include focusing on creating a network for people who want to
volunteer or be involved. Currently, SCORE is working with a team of Rutgers consultants to create a newsletter. So far they have had several meetings and will continue to have meetings regarding the newsletter. The newsletter is one instance of action SCORE is taking to raise and expand awareness. “We want to continue what we are doing and expand further. We have done work in New London, Waterford, and EL but we want to expand into more towns. Then, continue to influence more of those town’s leaders to view their issues through equity lenses,” Mr. Ostrowski said.