LI Anti-Bias Task Force Marks 25 Years

Enda Steck, left, and Audrey Gaines have served together on the East Hampton Town Anti-Bias Task Force since it was created in 1993 to address discrimination. (Photo by Hilary Thayer Hamann via The East Hampton Star)

This July, the East Hampton Town Anti-Bias Task Force will mark 25 years of confronting discrimination and encouraging diversity and mutual understanding in the Suffolk County town. Its founding members, committee chairwoman Audrey Gaines of East Hampton, and Edna Steck of Montauk, speak to Hilary Thayer Hamann of The East Hampton Star about how the group operates in the current environment.

Ms. Steck agreed that the recent rise of anti-immigrant rhetoric across the country has changed the nature of the work they do. A new focus of the task force’s efforts has been to revert to former methods. “Because people are more wary than before about stepping forward or contacting us with concerns,” she said, “we have responded by being more proactive in getting the word out, in being visible.”

“We used to meet in random locations. Church basements, libraries. And now we’ve been getting back to that,” Ms. Gaines said. “We’ve been going into the communities directly. We take our talking points, our script. We want them to know who we are and what we do.”

General meetings are open to the public but some meetings are held privately. Go to The East Hampton Star to find out why, along with more on the task force and whether the political climate has changed the founding members’ hopes for the organization.

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