Community Response Committee

On Thursday, January 4th, the NRN met at the Needham Town Hall. This was the second-to-last meeting of this first-ever NRN cohort. The focus of this meeting was the review of the draft Community Response Protocol. 


NRN members received a list of experiences and were told to find someone else in the room who could “sign on” for each experience and tell a short story about it. Experiences included things like: meeting a celebrity, planting a vegetable garden, riding on a camel/helicopter, being in a natural disaster, etc. We learned many things about each other and the world, including the fact that you cannot drive a car for hours/days after a volcano eruption (because the dust will clog the exhaust)!    


The rest of the evening was devoted to reviewing the NRN Community Response Protocol as a large group. General updates and feedback from the group are summarized below. 

  • The Community Response Committee as a separate arm of the NRN. The NRN will likely continue (in adapted form) with a new cohort that builds relationships across silos, learns skills in communicating across difference, and tackles a local challenge. Thus, we created a new name for the standing committee that will handle community response: The Community Response Committee (CRC). The purpose of this committee is to help to lead and navigate community response efforts where local groups are affected as a result of local, national or global incidents of hate and violence. The committee will comprise current and/or former NRN Co-Directors,Town leaders in ex-officio status, and NRN alumns spanning all major identity and stakeholder groups in town. It will enlist the support of ad hoc members as needed per incident. 

  • From “rapid response” to “community response.” Though “rapid response” was the title of our workshops and we’ve incorporated best practices in rapid response into our protocol, the term encompasses a large array of immediate responses happening in a community, as per the protocols of the police, schools, and town bodies. Given that the NRN is seeking to complement these actions with a community response, and since situations can sometimes call for a delay in response until more information comes to light, we use the term “community response” to refer to our purpose and process.  

  • Summary of the protocol process. The CRC will establish and monitor a phone line and email address, follow a specified pathway for reporting an incident, scheduling meetings, and collaborating (e.g., from gathering thorough information to supporting affected parties, co-creating statements if needed, back-channel follow-up, organizing events or forums, etc). 

Several revisions to the protocol were suggested and are being incorporated into a revised draft that will be circulated before the February meeting. Since we would like to spend a majority of the February meeting focused on reflection and closing rituals, we are asking that members send prior written feedback if there are elements of the protocol they wish to see changed (see email correspondence from Friday, Jan. 19), and come ready to vote!


This February we will…

  • Vote to approve the Community Response Protocol, explain next steps towards setting up the Committee, and identify who wishes to serve on it. 

  • Reflect on your experience at the NRN: How has participation in the NRN changed you, if at all? What can you “take away” with you—with relevance for your life or your group/organizational affiliation (and how can we help you do that)? How would you like to see the NRN continue to evolve? 

  • Graduate! What would an ideal NRN Alumni Network look like? 


Members reflected on the significance of being in the first cohort of NRN.  

  • I can reach out to folks that I never even knew before to solve local problems.

  • We covered so many examples of ways we can invest ourselves locally in the greater good.

  • Grateful for this space. Appreciative that we will continue to build and explore where this town wants to go.
  • Thankful for this space. Such a nice thing to have people from different worlds come together.

  • Feel very inspired and empowered, having knowledge of many ways to access resources that I never would have thought of before. 

  • Grateful and proud to live in a community where town leaders work so hard and go above and beyond.

  • When asked about Needham, I frequently speak about how the town is a genuine, committed community and how leadership wants Needham to be the best it can be; because of this we’re able to do more. 

  • The beauty of coming together is that it helps us see we don’t have to face challenges alone and in silence - with the pandemic and world events that are so challenging.

  • Grateful for the NRN platform and how it increases belonging and makes us confident about raising our next generation here. 

  • It’s best to get to know other people so when there is a crisis you’re not meeting people for the first time - the working relationships are so important.

  • In an era where no one trusts anything, this has fostered trust. Connections I've made have been amazing and fundamental.

  • Now people will take my call. So grateful!

  • Incredible to live this vision of developing a network of relationships that enables progress and constructive interaction, where we can put each person in the center.

  • Feeling the transition period - tapping into the wisdom - impressive experience.