A school official in Boston has stepped down from her position on a powerful committee after text messages about “white racists” were made public more than a year after they were sent. The text messages were exchanged during a committee meeting and were made in reference to white parents of students in the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston.
Lorna Rivera, who is a professor of women’s studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, was a member of the Boston Schools Committee until she recently learned that the text messages she exchanged with another committee member had been leaked. The meeting in question lasted for more than nine hours and has previously prompted another committee member to step down over his own racial controversy.
Rivera had been a member of the Boston Schools Committee since 2019.
As of late Tuesday morning, Rivera was still listed among Boston Schools Committee members’ names on its website. She submitted her letter of resignation on Friday.
After the text messages between current school board chair Alexandra Oliver-Dávila, who’s now the chair of the school board, and Rivera were turned over to school officials because a local reporter requested them. The Boston Globe obtained and published them following a public records request.
“Best school committee meeting ever,” Oliver-Dávila texted to Rivera. She added, “I’m trying not to cry,” because of what the Globe called “the outpouring of support” for a proposal to eliminate the requirement of standardized testing for admission to the city’s schools.
That’s when Rivera replied: “Wait until the white racists start yelling at us.”
Oliver-Dávila responded with, “Whatever. They’re delusional.” She later texted, “I hate WR,” referring to West Roxbury, which is among the top wealthiest neighborhoods in Boston.
Rivera all but replied that she did, too.
“Sick of Westie whites,” Rivera texted back.
“Me too. I really feel like saying that,” Oliver-Dávila agreed.
Both Rivera and Oliver-Dávila have apologized, and Rivera told the Globe she “was never seeking any political power.”
Following that same meeting in which the text messages were exchanged, then-Boston Schools Committee Chairman Michael Loconto abruptly resigned after he was caught on a hot mic making fun of the way Asian names sound.
“That was like Shania, Shanaya, Shanay-nay, and Boo Boo, and David, right?” Loconto said during a Zoom meeting. He quickly apologized and tried to play it off like he “was talking about a children’s book,” but the damage had been done and he resigned.
With Rivera’s own resignation, that brings a grand total of two now-former Boston Schools Committee members to step down following comments that belied the purported racial reckoning that’s been happening around the globe and in the U.S., in particular.
This is America.