July 12, 2022
At the Sudbury Select Board meeting of June 28, 2022, a Zoombomb incident occurred, during which racist statements directed at the Black community were added to the chat function by at least one unidentified meeting attendee. The perpetrators were removed and the meeting was temporarily suspended. In response to this event, the Select Board reiterates the following values:
- The Select Board denounces unequivocally any expression of hate, prejudice, intolerance, or discrimination toward any individual or group.
- The Select Board condemns any form of racism, discrimination, or intolerance as a threat to the safety and well-being of the public.
- The Select Board acknowledges that racism is a societal and global problem that requires continuous education.
- The Select Board works to foster a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and just community through broad and collaborative public engagement.
- The Select Board encourages the investigation and prosecution of incidents of discrimination and hate by law enforcement to the fullest extent possible, if a crime has been committed.
- The Select Board calls upon the entire Sudbury community to welcome every resident, employee, and visitor in the Town and to act as allies to those facing any form of discrimination.
Since the Zoombomb incident, the Select Board and Town Staff have worked in consultation with the Sudbury Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commission to map out a response and steps to prevent a similar event.
- All available relevant data from the meeting was shared with the Sudbury Police Department, which is investigating the incident, to the extent feasible.
- The Sudbury Information Technology Department has changed default settings to help prevent Zoombomb disruptions in the future.
- The Select Board organized a meeting on July 6, 2022, to discuss the incident and draft a public statement.
- After consultation with Town Counsel, the Select Board voted on July 6 to remove the chat function from all future virtual Select Board meetings.
- The Select Board and staff are researching protocols to most effectively manage virtual meetings affected by Zoombomb attacks; these protocols will be disseminated to Town committees, commissions, boards, and staff.
We recognize that this event is painful and distressing for members of the Black community and others in Sudbury. We want to listen and welcome individuals to share their experiences. Residents, employees, or visitors who have been the target of prejudice, intolerance, or discrimination may report an incident or receive support from the following groups:
- The Sudbury Police Department: https://sudbury.ma.us/police/
- Attorney General’s Office, Civil Rights Division: https://www.mass.gov/how-to/file-a-civil-rights-complaint
- The Sudbury Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Commission: https://sudbury.ma.us/dei/
- Sudbury For Racial and Social Justice: firstname.lastname@example.org
We thank Town staff, groups, and all community members for your partnership in condemning and taking action against all forms of racism and discrimination in Sudbury and beyond.
Sudbury Select Board