Practicing Inclusion in Diverse Areas: The Dublin Inclusion Project

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No matter how many speeches I did for the Black Student Union, nobody listened the way they are now. Ignorance isn’t being tolerated. It isn’t perfect, but it’s happening, and it’s necessary. “

 

Catalyzed by the senseless killings of Black Americans due to police brutality, residents of my suburban Bay Area city of Dublin began to explore tangible areas of action we could partake in as a community. In one Zoom conversation, a resident expressed that “Dublin is diverse, but it isn’t always inclusive,” a statement that is echoed by many members of the Dublin community and the greater Bay Area. Thus, the Dublin Inclusion Project was born. The DIP describes itself as “a community organization made to bring Dublin residents together with honest conversations and strategic plans of action, founded as a solution for community members looking to connect with each other to learn about racial injustice, organize locally, and initiate change.”

I recently chatted virtually with Acacia Tripplett, who is a member of the project, prominent Black Lives Matter leader within our community, and close friend. A rising junior in high school, Acacia is an acclaimed orator, the former President of the Dublin High School Black Student Union, and the star of a nationwide Black History Month commercial for McDonald’s. The following interview explores her experiences, both as a member of the DIP and as a Black person within the Bay Area. 

Inclusion and Diversity

What is the Dublin Inclusion Project?

The Dublin Inclusion Project is a project initiated by the Dublin community. There are different branches of the project that include different objectives, such as trying to get more Black people in office. Some of the objectives also include reevaluating our police budget and decolonizing our history within our education system. 

Who is in charge?

There are different branches within the project itself. Everyone is involved in a group message, and everyone on it has a different task to complete. It’s mainly composed of the young people that planned the Black Lives Matter protests within our community, as well as other community members that want to see change. 

What has been accomplished thus far?

So far, we’ve planned a study session with council members, which goes to show that what we’re doing is being taken seriously. We have council members on our side. We’re mainly working on getting the school board on our site, as well as having meetings that allow public discourse to discuss our concerns. We also want statistics within our community to be made readily available for the public. We’ve just created our mission statement, and are working on planning more meetings to address the different goals of the project. 

What’s the biggest issue you’ve faced?

Yeah, *NextDoor has definitely been a challenge. We’ve faced a lot of negativity regarding the protests, which in turn drives people away from our project. Our police chief has also made negative remarks…they offended our community. Not reacting negatively is difficult for us; we want to remain professional. Everyone that has been working for it has been doing so hard. We really do care about the project. 

*NextDoor: A social networking service for neighborhoods. 

What would you share with other students that also want to instigate change?

Honestly, go for it. People will put you down, people won’t agree, people will fight it. But if it’s something that really matters and needs to be done, no amount of people telling you no should stop you. I mean, I was nervous to attend the protests. I thought something would go wrong, but it ended up being beautiful! I’m so happy I went. People pushing for this know that it’s important. 

What do you think about Black Lives Matter specifically within the Bay Area, in which we’re perceived as incredibly progressive/open-minded?

Yes, Dublin is diverse. We love to brag and say, “We’re so diverse!” but that means NOTHING without inclusion. They say, “We’re so diverse,” but they don’t understand its advantages. Diversity lives here, but not equality. And we don’t need everyone to be treated the same. We need people who need help to get it, some people more than others. And Black people need that help right now. I think it’s also clear that ignorance lives in our community. Because we’re so accepting, people say hurtful, rude things jokingly. But it’s not a joke. We aren’t perfect; change needs to happen. Our current movement must continue. As a Black person, this is something that my community has had to deal with forever. It’s personal to me. It makes people uncomfortable, but it’s necessary to make us better people.

Any final thoughts?

Overall, I’ve just been blown away by the support. Everyone’s passion is so evident; it’s powerful to see and be a part of. It’s difficult and annoying and hard working with different people but we’ve had a decent response. Our high school is working hard, and people passionate about it that have previously been ignorant are being held accountable. They’re learning, which wasn’t happening before. No matter how many speeches I did with the Black Student Union, nobody listened the way they are now. Ignorance isn’t being tolerated. It isn’t perfect, but it’s happening, and it’s necessary.