The Wayland Lived Experiences Project, a grassroots story collecting initiative, launched a survey on International Human Rights Day, December 10 last year and it is open for participation to all who live, work, study, worship in or visit Wayland. It is a questionnaire that enables individuals to share personal accounts of mistreatment that they may have faced, on the basis of race , religion, sexual orientation, gender, nationality, or any other aspect of their identity. The Project gathers personal narratives through an anonymous survey so any individual can share their experience without fear.
This is a mid-collection snapshot and data continues to be gathered from various survey distributions around town. From the responses received so far – the top three categories of mistreatment are microaggressions, verbal, and non-verbal behaviors. We saw examples from such interactions across all aspects of town life, including but not limited to residents/neighbors, school authority figures and town officials/public figures. The majority of respondents characterize the mistreatment they experienced as motivated by a racial, cultural, or ethnic difference.
Sharing experiences is a way to influence systemic change locally. It is also a way to amplify the narratives and personalize them in a manner that allows them to become relatable, as we see through the eyes of people in the community whose voices may not yet have been heard. To that end, descriptive data from the survey findings will be published later this year with the goal of inspiring dialogue, raising awareness, breaking down barriers to seeking help, and promoting an inclusive, equitable and welcoming community.
The Lived Experiences survey is available online at WaylandLivedExperiences and online here. Thanks to First Parish of Wayland, paper copies of the survey are now available at selected locations around town, such as the Wayland public library, the Main offices at WHS and WMS. While the survey was initially available in English, it has now been translated into Spanish and Mandarin. For more information contact: WaylandLivedExperiences@gmail.com.