Worcester Interfaith is the non-profit that has been leading the charge to replace well-liked superintendent Maureen Binienda. Their issue with her is that a disproportionate amount of Latino students are being suspended by the schools, the absentee rates for Latino students is too high, and that students of color can’t learn as well because there aren’t enough teachers of color. According to the group these are examples of the the “crazy amounts of racism” that School Committee member Dante Comparetto alleged is rampant in the schools, and the only solution is to replace the superintendent despite her 40 year experience helping students of color in the Worcester schools. They also demand the creation of a “chief diversity officer,” who will make a six figure salary to do nothing, and will no doubt be awarded to someone with close ties to their group.
But their movement wasn’t gaining much traction so they decided to do what activists always do when people are sick of hearing them yap – hide behind a bunch of kids and give them a script to read off of. And that’s exactly what they did last week when they dragged 9 students to City Hall who held a press conference “demanding” that the superintendent resign because she’s racist. Of course they failed to prep the students properly which is why they had to read off a piece of paper the whole video and couldn’t pronounce several buzzwords that were on the script.
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Presenting our YPAR (youth participatory action research) project on teacher diversity in WPS at the Mayoral Commission for Latino Achievement and Educational Excellence this past Tuesday. Thank you to all those that listened to what we had to share. #studentvoices #worcesterma #wps #socialemotionallearning #studentcenteredlearning #teacherdiversitymatters #teacherdiversity #representation #representationmatters #studentleaders #futureleaders
But yet this group has influence with Mayor Joe Petty, as he basically said he’d be giving into most of their demands, and didn’t publicly support the superintendent.
Why is that? Well, for one, Joe Petty isn’t a smart person. He’s the mayor because people think he’s a nice guy, a classic Worcester dude with a limited vocabulary and not many original thoughts in his head. Normally he appeals to moderate democrats who don’t subscribe to the AOC-Bernie brand of left wing activism. But since he’s become best friends with Councilor/Pastor/Ratchet Sarai Rivera, and since he probably didn’t even look into any of the things these kids are alleging, he threw her a bone and went along with it.
But what is Worcester Interfaith, how are the funded, and what’s the deal with their new President Isabel Gonzalez-Webster? Those are the questions I wanted answers to. From investigating these kind of activist groups I know that you should always follow the money when dealing with the racism-industrial complex. These people always find a way to profit off of racism.
This is Isabel Gonzalez-Webster rounding up 9 Worcester kids for her propaganda video.
Notice Dante Comparetto, along with failed Governor’s Council and current City Council candidate Paul Depaulo in the background supporting this circus.
Isabel Gonzalez-Webster isn’t even from Worcester though, and according to her bio she moved here in 2008. She has been feeding off the public trough her entire career, and using her identity as a woman of color for financial gain. In 2010 the Worcester Business Journal identified her as one of the “Top 40 Under 40” to watch for, and she explained her biggest challenges:
My most recent challenge was in moving from doing community organizing for 14 years to shifting into electoral politics. I have realized that you can affect change from working within government as well from outside.
“Community organizing” before shifting into electoral politics. In other words, she’s never had a job in which her salary wasn’t paid for by the taxpayers. As a matter of fact, several of the jobs she held while living in Brooklyn involved translating at the welfare office, something she wouldn’t be able to do if she was not a Latina. The “electoral politics” she was referring to was working on the campaign for former one term mayor Joe O’Brien, a white guy who often used people of color as tokens in order to prove that he’s one of the “good ones.”
Pretty much everything she says is prefaced by “as a Latina woman of color,” because she knows this is how you get jobs from white guilt laden politicians like Joe O’Brien and Joe Petty:
I think that as a Latin woman, a person of color, I see that there is a difference in the way that I am treated. The services provided to me, and my community, and my family [should be the same] provided to white people, to people with more money. So, since the beginning I saw the difference. But instead of saying, “Well, that’s the way things are,” I’ve always had the energy to want to change things. I’ve always wanted justice. And I will die wanting social justice.
I was an organizer, so I used to do community work, bringing the community together, showing them their own power and how they could fight for their rights. So, much of my work was on this. I also worked for an organization for young women of color: African Americans, Latinas. And the people who ran the organization were also African Americans and Latinas. So, we did a lot of work on feminism. We went to conferences, we spoke with Angela Davis and Madonna Thunder Hawk and many other people.
Isabel is married to Angelique Webster, a radical filmmaker who has no ties to Worcester whatsoever.
In 2017 Angelique posted this on Facebook:
Because evidently she believes that black children cannot learn from white teachers. These are the people currently attempting to dictate policy in the Worcester Public Schools and choose the superintendent.
Worcester Interfaith was founded in 1993 by a guy named Frank Kartheiser, but he retired in 2018 and they needed a replacement. Isabel was pushed through by Sarai Rivera’s activist husband, “Pastor” Jose Encarnacion according to their meeting minutes in September:
“Leaders and clergy can help introduce Isabel to the community.”
In other words, no one really knew who this woman was because she was an outsider. Yet, she’s being championed as the leader of Worcester’s religious community now.
When she got the job the Turtlegram did a puff piece on her, in which she discussed her background and why she moved to Worcester in the first place
As a community organizer and political activist, following in her mother’s footsteps as a young child, Ms. Gonzalez-Webster’s experience ranges from working on issues of economic justice, supporting public education/funding, violence against women and anti-racism. Her political work in Worcester includes managing Joseph O’Brien’s campaign for mayor and subsequently serving as Mr. O’Brien’s chief of staff.
Community organizer and political activist are codewords for “unemployed.” But if you do it long enough, say the right buzzwords, and are the right race and gender then doors will open for you with people like Joe O’Brien. And because of this she mad multiple job offers, and could afford the luxury of taking a “sabbatical” to live in Puerto Rico for a while:
She said she took a self-imposed sabbatical and visited her father living on a farm in Mayaguez in the mountains of Puerto Rico. She was later offered several positions: one in California, she said, doing LGBT education work in Spanish, her native language, with farm workers; and positions in Massachusetts doing labor organizing or community organizing around housing, opting to move to Worcester commuting to Boston for eight years until taking the lead at Worcester Interfaith.
Worcester Interfaith is a non-profit that relies on grants from local businesses to pay their bills, and we’ve obtained their financial records. If you’d like to see the entire document you can read it here:Worcester Interfaith
In there they request money from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development run by the USSCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops). Under Kartheiser’s watch the local Worcester Catholic diocese gave money to Worcester Interfaith every year, while claiming not to have the money for historic catholic churches like Mount Carmel. In 2018 they gave $40,000, and were the primary funder of Worcester Interfaith, despite having only one Worcester church associated with the organization (Blessed Sacrament).
But Kartheiser was able to get away with this because he didn’t get himself involved in political controversy, and he didn’t upset people. On the other hand, Isabel Gonzalez-Webster has gone out of her way to turn the group into a politically motivated entity that uses children as pawns to attack the superintendent, in order to profit off of the public schools. Their budget for 2019 included a $75,000 salary for Gonzalez-Webster, which was over half the money they brought in from various groups.
For 2019 they once again went to the Catholic Church, hoping they’d fork over $50,000 from the collection baskets in order to help pay this woman’s salary.
It even says in there that her job duties include focusing on the “disproportionate number of students of color who are disciplined in the WPS.” What does any of this have to do with religion? How is keeping poorly behaved students in the classroom, where they can disrupt the learning process of others, an example of “social justice?”
Then again, according to an interview she did a few years ago, she’s not even religious to begin with:
“She does not practice a religion and, until recently, served the city of Worcester as the chief of staff for Mayor Joseph O’Brien.”
So a woman who hasn’t worked a day in the public schools her entire life, and who admittedly is not religious, is running a group masquerading as a religious organization, and is using children to push an agenda that removes the superintendent from her job because she won’t give into the demands written by Isabel Gonzalez-Webster. They tried to con the Catholic Church, which claims to be too broke to fix Worcester’s crumbling churches, into paying for her salary which she will use to attack our institutions. Luckily the jig is up and they will not be receiving that grant this year. Don’t worry though, they’ll con a local bank or someone else into donating it instead, because these people are really good at repeating buzzwords and cashing checks.
Just to show you how absurd and ignorant they are, Isabel and Sarai Rivera went on Unity Radio earlier this month to talk about the alleged systemic racism in the schools with City Councilor Gary Rosen and former Councilor Tony Economou. At around the 10:30 mark they talk about reasons why students of color are getting suspended:
According to Sarai Rivera, some elementary school kids from an unnamed school wore the same color (red) on twin day, were called down and asked if they were part of a gang, and were summarily suspended. She then told another unconfirmed anecdote about a child being suspended for bringing a laser pointer to school.
Of course these things never actually happened. It’s just Sarai and Isabel taking the words of children as fact and not investigating exactly what happened. Kids don’t get suspended for wearing the same color shirts on twin day. She literally made that up, and is using it to push for the removal of a highly qualified superintendent.
The bottom line is that Isabel Gonzalez-Webster is just the latest con-artist using the racism-industrial complex in order to make a living. Like Melinda Boone, she’s a carpetbagger with no ties to the community, and she will no doubt move on to greener pastures when she realizes that the well has run dry in Worcester.
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