Ellen Garrison vote restored my faith in Concord

May 12, 2024

For the past three months, Article 22 regarding the naming of our middle school, has consumed my waking moments. I have canvassed, spoken, written, donated, and been interviewed, all in service of supporting naming the school for Ellen Garrison. 

Throughout this time, my impressions of the community where we’d chosen to live 32 years ago were challenged, nearly to the point of despair. The tenor of the debate in night one of Town Meeting did little to allay my concerns. However, the discussion and debate centered on Article 22 when the Town Meeting called the matter was remarkable.

Our community’s robust conversation, its response to the proposed amendment, and overwhelming final vote was a testament to the fact that Concord does indeed entertain an expansive concept of community and is willing to act to make that concept a reality. For this, I am moved and grateful. Thank you, Concord. 

Our work, though, has just started. A community as steeped in history rarely has an opportunity to make new history. Naming authority still resides with the School Committee. Article 22 merely “asks” that body to recognize the will of the people and consider naming the school for Ellen Garrison.

In the birthplace of democracy, the strength of the mandate delivered by our community should make clear the School Committee’s next actions. But there remains more to be done in both school and community to make that expansive Concord a reality. Better integrating METCO and CPS cultures, improving AP program adoption across diverse student populations, increasing affordable housing stock, etc. These are but a few of the ideas broached during Town Meeting and with further deliberation, undoubtedly more will follow. 

Thank you, Concord, you have restored my faith. Let’s make some new history of which we can all be proud.

Michael A. Williams

Sudbury Road