When I came back to the United States in 2015 after 10 years of living abroad, we were looking for a more socially democratic place. Having lived in Peru for almost a decade I was fed up with bubbles.

When it came to choosing the school where my kids would attend, I quickly realized that I had to choose a box. I didn’t want my kids to go to a Catholic school, since I am atheist, which left 50% of the selection out. Then I had to rule out public schools since they are clearly for the poor. You have public schools for the poor, parochial schools for the middle class, and Catholic and international schools for the elite class. What that creates is a stratified society that does not converse, know each other or even care for each other.

We chose Montclair to live in — a good school system, nice neighborhood and a blue town. Although I am a Latina, because of my pale complexion (due to the genocide of indigenous people perpetrated by the Mestizo a couple of centuries ago) no one would think I am a foreigner until I open my mouth and notice a Hispanic accent. Therefore, it was important to live in a place where my kids were not bullied because of their poor English or their names.

We were looking for what we lacked in Peru, a socio-economically diverse place. The public school is that place where kids spend their whole childhood and for us it was important that they had the experience of meeting and befriending children from diverse backgrounds.

Montclair has become unaffordable for many people, especially those who rent properties. Unless we do something with the unfair housing market we will have to say goodbye to diversity. Both things are inevitably attached. All this to say that if you “really” care about diversity and inclusion you must push to keep rent control in place. The Black Lives Matter flag on your porch is not enough. If you value the Montclair's diversity, then support rent control in town. The next Township Council meeting is March 15. Call and show your support for rent control in town or email your council member.

Maria Eva Dorigo


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