Showing posts with label civil rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label civil rights. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Is the US Headed Towards Another Civil War? | Barbara F. Walter | TED (video)

"Based on her work for a CIA task force aimed at predicting civil wars, political scientist Barbara F. Walter examines the rise in extremism and threats to democracies around the globe -- and paints an unsettling picture of the increasing likelihood of a second civil war in the United States. If you love watching TED Talks like this one, become a TED Member to support our mission of spreading ideas:"
Video link -> 

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Dean College hosted filmmaker Bennett Singer for a screening of "CURED"

"This week, we welcomed filmmaker Bennett Singer to campus for a screening of the documentary "CURED" and discussions with students and faculty on his work making documentaries about activism and social change. 
Learn more:"
Shared from Twitter ->

Dean College hosted filmmaker Bennett Singer for a screening of "CURED"
Dean College hosted filmmaker Bennett Singer for a screening of "CURED"

Saturday, December 17, 2022

MassLive: "Federal judge rules in favor of Ludlow schools in lawsuit over treatment of transgender students"

“Since July 1, 2012, Massachusetts law has provided that ‘no person shall be excluded from or discriminated against . . . in obtaining the advantages, privileges and courses of study of [a] public school on account of . . . gender identity,’” his ruling quoted.

His order also noted that while parents have the option to send their children to public schools, they do not have constitutional rights to dictate how those schools educate children. An attorney for the school system, David S. Lawless, applauded the judge’s decision in an area of law that continues to be challenged across the country.

“Given the novelty in particular, he addressed both the legal issues in the complaint that was in front (of him) and that it’s an evolving area of the law,” Lawless said Thursday after the ruling came down. “School districts are put in a very difficult position; this is one more guidepost for them along the way.”
Continue reading the article online at MASSLive

U.S. District Court, Springfield, Mass
U.S. District Court, Springfield, Mass

Saturday, July 2, 2022

New England Muzzle awards contain a local interest

"A Boston mayor who trampled on a religious group’s right to freedom of expression. A Worcester city manager who trampled on the public’s right to know about police misconduct. A New Hampshire state legislator who trampled on teachers’ rights by demanding that they take a “loyalty oath” promising not to teach their students about racism.

These are just a few of the winners of the 2022 New England Muzzle Awards."

The former Worcester city manager (Augustus) is now the Chancellor at Dean College.

New England Muzzle awards contain a local interest
New England Muzzle awards contain a local interest

Thursday, June 9, 2022

A Living History of the LGBT Movement Since The 1800s (video)

In collaboration with AARP, we present "A #LivingHistory of the LGBT Movement" powered by AARP - a storytelling series honoring past, present and future heroes of the LGBT movement.  
We know that the history of the LGBT movement is still being written. By understanding our history, we can create a better future for everyone, especially for our aging LGBT older adults. Learn More at

To Learn More about the challenges facing older LGBT Americans, please visit AARP's National Survey on Maintaining Dignity here:

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Joint Statement from MSAA and M.A.S.S.

MSAA (@MSAA_33) tweeted  Fri, Nov 05, 2021:  @massupt and @MSAA_33 Release Joint Statement

"We stand ready to work collectively to make our schools a place where respect and civility are the norm."

For full statement ->

Shared from ->

November 5, 2021 –

A Joint Statement from the Massachusetts Schools Administrators’ Association (MSAA) and the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (M.A.S.S.):

"Superintendents and principals understood that the pandemic would not just impact our students’ academic growth but more importantly, interfere with their social and emotional development.

The adult behavior toward a LGBTQ student in Franklin and the student attack on a principal in Boston only highlight what we see in the number of dis regulated students and adults in our school community right now. These behaviors are unacceptable. 

Personal threats, verbal outbursts, and physical assaults have been escalating, creating threatening situations. It is not hyperbole to say that our school and district leaders are navigating through dangerously uncharted waters fueled by these emotions. Equally, we all need to realize that many of our young people are dealing with their own trauma and it requires an entire community to help them deal with this disruptive time in their lives.

We all need to reduce the vitriol in our communication and realize that our students are watching how we adults behave. We stand ready to work collectively to make our schools a place where respect and civility are the norm."

Joint Statement from MSAA and M.A.S.S.
Joint Statement from MSAA and M.A.S.S.


Saturday, October 30, 2021

Voices of Franklin: Arielle Shearer - the word is 'complicity'

As Alan Earls appears to be a friend and supporter of Dashe Videira, his statement in Voices of Franklin on October 28, 2021 (, attempting to shift blame to a righteous voice in our community, is preposterous. He states "Free speech, and all that, it still seemed to be in poor taste and stingingly calculated to burn whatever social bridges remain on our street. And just when I was hoping we could heal."

I know several families on that street. I can't imagine ANY of his neighbors that I personally know being okay with inviting a bigot into their home, or attending an event where one was invited to speak, or even continuing to enjoy and defend an association with the bigot promoter.

I can't imagine ANY of the people that I know on Mr. Earls’ street supporting or accepting a public demonstration such as the one on October 8th, 2021 on Route 140 near the Honey Dew Donuts.  This demonstration was described by Mr. Earls ( as “A group of adults and children bearing flags and signs with patriotic-themed messages.” The photographs in his post show School Committee candidates Dashe Videira and Mark Bisson amidst signs stating “In God We Trust,” “Vote 2021” and “We Are A Christian Nation.” Excluding non-Christians is not patriotic. A public demonstration marginalizing and excluding Franklin residents of other religions from the demonstrators’ nation should not be applauded by being labeled patriotic. It not only hurts people but directly contradicts the United States Constitution, in which the First Amendment prohibits the establishment of a national religion. 

There's a word for Mr. Earls' statement in Voices of Franklin and his “reporting” of the October 8th demonstration. There’s a word that describes his willingness to continue to speak well of people permitting and promoting hate and exclusion. It's "complicity." Attempting to smooth over the natural consequences - sadness, discord, anger, activism, and any other appropriate response - of bigoted and exclusionary acts, writing an opinion such as the one in Voices of Franklin, blaming the person pointing out the hateful choices, at no point indicating or recognizing wrongdoing on the part of the candidates referenced, this pushes it way past being a vocal bystander.

Dashe Videira invited a man into her home as an honored guest speaker. The man is an unapologetic bigot, as anyone who Googles him can determine on their own in less than a minute. Dashe Videira and Mark Bisson participated in a "stand-out" in which they marginalized and excluded non-Christians by promoting the message "We Are A Christian Nation." These are things that happened; no one is contesting that. Aaron Gouveia's post brought these things to light. Rejecting hate does not, as Mr. Earl states, "burn social bridges." Promoting and validating hate speech and exclusion "burns social bridges."

Mr. Earls states "To behave as if a young mother of four children, brimming with energy and kindness, is an existential threat to society, is at best a gross exaggeration." It's one thing to turn your head away and ignore prejudice. That’s bad enough, but that is not what Mr. Earls has done. By looking straight at it and willingly telling a fairytale, by reporting an exclusionary event as patriotic, by attempting to redirect blame onto someone doing the right thing, Mr. Earls has made it very clear that he is okay with what has transpired in recent weeks, and equally clear that he is part of the problem.

Arielle Shearer
Franklin Resident

To add your voice to the discussion, please follow the guidelines

Voices of Franklin: Arielle Shearer - the word is  'complicity'
Voices of Franklin: Arielle Shearer - the word is  'complicity'

Thursday, May 20, 2021

New York TImes: "Lee Evans, Olympic Runner Who Protested Racism, Dies at 74"

"Lee Evans, the Black American runner who won two gold medals at the racially charged 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City and at a presentation ceremony wore a Black Panther-style beret and raised his fist to protest racism in the United States, died on Wednesday. He was 74.

His death was announced by USA Track and Field, which did not say where he died or cite the cause."
Continue reading the article online  (subscription may be required)
Coverage from The Guardian: (Continue reading the article online  (subscription may be required)

Lee Evans raised his fist after receiving the gold medal in the 400 meters at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. With him were his teammates Larry James (left), who won the silver, and Ronald Freeman, who won the bronze.Credit...Associated Press
Credit...Associated Press

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Toward a More Perfect Union: Suit filed on insurrection

In a recent episode of "Toward a More Perfect Union", it was asked who could file a law suit? At least one of the impeachment managers just did per this New York Times article:

"A House Democrat who unsuccessfully prosecuted Donald J. Trump at his impeachment trial last month sued him in federal court on Friday for acts of terrorism and incitement to riot, attempting to use the justice system to punish the former president for his role in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.

The suit brought by Representative Eric Swalwell, Democrat of California, accuses Mr. Trump and key allies of inciting the deadly attack and conspiring with rioters to try to prevent Congress from formalizing President Biden’s election victory. And like the case laid out in the Senate, which acquitted him, it meticulously traces a monthslong campaign by Mr. Trump to undermine confidence in the 2020 election and then overturn its results.

“The horrific events of January 6 were a direct and foreseeable consequence of the defendants’ unlawful actions,” asserts the civil suit, filed for Mr. Swalwell in Federal District Court in Washington. “As such, the defendants are responsible for the injury and destruction that followed.”
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
Franklin's has a series on Monday called "Towards A More Prefect Union" Frank Falvey converses with Rep. Jeff Roy, Dr. Michael Walker-Jones and Dr. Natalia Linos. The show airs on Monday's at 11:00 AM, 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM. Work is also underway to make a podcast version of this show available.
Toward a More Perfect Union:  Suit filed on insurrection
Toward a More Perfect Union:  Suit filed on insurrection

Sunday, February 7, 2021

National news -> "Seditionaries: FBI net closes on Maga mob that stormed the Capitol"

"As prosecutors from the House of Representatives prepare to present their case against Donald Trump at his impeachment trial next week for incitement of insurrection, supporters who heeded his call on 6 January to “fight like hell” and went on to storm the Capitol Building are finding themselves in far greater legal peril.

The trial that kicks off in the US Senate on Tuesday could lead to a further vote that would permanently debar Trump from holding office in the future. By contrast, the mob of fervent Maga acolytes who broke into the US Capitol following an incendiary rally headlined by Trump could face prison for up to 20 years.

One month after the events which left five people dead including a US Capitol police officer, there is no sign of the Department of Justice and FBI letting up in their relentless pursuit of the insurrectionists. In the past week alone there have been arrests of alleged rioters in Seattle, Washington; Las Vegas, Nevada; Corinth, Texas; Garner, North Carolina; and Marion, Illinois."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Thursday, January 28, 2021

A message from the Diversity Awareness Club ...

January 26, 2021

To the Franklin Community:

Three weeks ago, an act of domestic terrorism shocked and saddened the American people and left many shaken by the explicit displays of racial, ethnic, and religious hatred. In the days following this attack, members of the Diversity Awareness Club at Franklin High School met to discuss their feelings and to unite in one voice against the dangers posed by white nationalist groups and their enablers. This letter represents that united voice.

It is impossible to entirely separate this event from current political divisions; however, the Diversity Awareness Club believes that a stand against hatred is fundamental and not political - it is American and not Republican or Democratic. We are convinced that the majority of Donald J. Trump’s political supporters reject these acts as well. Nonetheless, we believe it is important for all Americans to reflect deeply on the unique pain experienced by people of diverse racial and religious backgrounds. More than just an attack on democracy, this insurrection made plain the ongoing threat that extremist groups pose to racial and religious equality in the United States.

Below are the unedited voices of the Diversity Awareness Club members. We ask that you take the time to consider their perspectives. They are your classmates, your students, your neighbors, and your fellow Americans.

…”The terrorisms shown at the Capitol resurfaced many of the feelings I’d know when I was younger. The same fear, disgust, and sadness for our country was back. Not only had people committed acts of hate, but they had gotten away with it in a way that people of color wouldn’t have been able too.”- Mia Story

...“In school we barely learn about the history of slavery and the roots of racism. This affects our everyday lives because if we were educated on topics like this, then it would make people more comfortable using their voice, instead of just agreeing with whatever Trump has to say. This man is abusing his power and getting all his followers to do what he says. He encouraged what happened at Capitol Hill and people still think this is okay. This was an act of terrorism, this was not a protest. But when people do peaceful protests to try and save lives they get shot with rubber bullets and burned with tear gas. It is a pure image of racism in America.” - Shay Kilroy

... “The riot at the Capitol should not come as a surprise to anyone. Trump has been abusing his power for 4 years, encouraging hateful extremist groups to behave with malice and violence. Trump told the groups that stormed the Capitol that he loved them. That’s messed up.” - Ji-Yann Chin

... “The people who stormed the Capitol are filled with hate, and it should not be tolerated. I am scared for what could happen in the future; I should be able to do my schoolwork instead of having to be worried about myself, or someone I love getting hate crimed, but sadly this is what it is like being a teenager in America.” -Darby Nicholson

... “One of the most appalling things seen at the capitol in my opinion was that a confederate flag entered that building. This is the first time since the civil war that a confederate flag has ever got into that building. People fought and died so that flag would never be on Capitol Hill, now not even a week goes by in 2021 and that hateful flag entered the building.”- Julia Atwood

... “Allowing such aggressive, unnecessary “protest” with not nearly as much resistance from law enforcement as Black Lives Matter was met with made me angry, and upset, and many other overwhelming emotions that I did not know what to do with.”- Sofia Chouinard

... “Although one of my teachers did bring it up and we did discuss a bit about how insane and stupid the riot was, all the other teachers stayed quiet. I feel that more teachers should have brought it up because of the amount of pain it caused to others. The racism, anti-semitism, these are real problems and not talking about them will not just make them magically disappear.”

... While there is so much wrong with the riots, and so much to say about them, the anti-semitism is what affects me most personally. Knowing that so many people across the country believe in and act violently on the behalf of anti-semitic rhetoric has always been upsetting and scary. But actually seeing people storm our nation's Capitol building and outwardly expressing that they want me, my family, and people of my ethnicity dead, was literally horrifying. And seeing the sitting president condone those actions was even scarier.

“The riot that took place in the Capitol was a disgrace to the democracy that America stands for. The Pro-Trump rioters believe in making America great again, supposedly support the blue lives matter movement but their actions clearly proved that they are not capable of following the laws which go against the American constitution and they also harmed many capitol police officers”.  -Amulya Chirravuri

“So the most important thing we have to do now is face these problems. We have to fight for the liberty and equality that our country is supposed to stand for. We have to choose to move forward, as a town, as a state, and as a country. The riots last Wednesday only showed a small portion of what is to come, and the potential dangers it can provide to our country if untouched. We must do better.”


The Diversity Awareness Club remains committed to working with the superintendent and members of the school administration in order to help stop the spread of racism and discrimination and to create a safer environment for minorities entering Franklin Public Schools.

Parents, teachers, and students, we ask for your support in making this community a better and safer environment for all students and families.

Thank you,

Diversity Awareness Club Members of Franklin High School

Shared from Twitter:

PDF version of the text:

John Lewis's speech at the March on Washington

A new history podcast has ten episodes that are well worth listening to.

"It Was Said is a limited documentary podcast series looking back on some of the most powerful, impactful and timeless speeches in American history. 
Written and narrated by Pulitzer Prize winning and best-selling author-historian Jon Meacham, and created, directed and produced by Peabody-nominated C13Originals Studios in association with HISTORY Channel, this series takes you through 10 speeches for the inaugural season. 
Meacham offers expert insight and analysis into their origins, the orator, the context of the times they were given, why they are still relevant today, and the importance of never forgetting them. 
Each episode of this documentary podcast series also brings together some of the top historians, authors and journalists relevant to each respective speech and figure."
Ep 9: John Lewis, We Want Our Freedom Now

The text of John Lewis' speech at the March on Washington

YouTube Video of the full speech

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Student first amendment case coming to Supreme Court

In one of the first cases the Supreme Court will hear after the holiday break:
It was a Saturday in the spring of 2017, and a ninth-grade student in Pennsylvania was having a bad day. She had just learned that she had failed to make the varsity cheerleading squad and would remain on junior varsity.

The student expressed her frustration on social media, sending a message on Snapchat to about 250 friends. The message included an image of the student and a friend with their middle fingers raised, along with text expressing a similar sentiment. Using a curse word four times, the student expressed her dissatisfaction with “school,” “softball,” “cheer” and “everything.”

Though Snapchat messages are ephemeral by design, another student took a screenshot of this one and showed it to her mother, a coach. The school suspended the student from cheerleading for a year, saying the punishment was needed to “avoid chaos” and maintain a “teamlike environment.”

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Nikki Giovanni: "We find the song in the darkest days"

From the New York Times:
"Over the course of her 52-year career, Nikki Giovanni has written 12 children’s books and eight nonfiction books, and she has released 10 spoken word albums. But the genre for which she is best known is poetry.

When you flip through a stack of her 19 collections (it’s a tall stack), you find her face, still radiant and smiling at 77, staring back at you from the covers. This is an unusual choice for the jacket of a poetry book, but Giovanni is the rare poet whom a good number of people will actually recognize — a distinction that is all the more noteworthy considering how long it has been true.

She was name-checked in the 1980 Teena Marie song “Square Biz,” featured in the Afropunk Festival in Brooklyn in 2016, and both seen and heard reading her poem “Dream” last fall in a campaign ad for Joseph R. Biden Jr. It was 1972 when Ebony magazine first called her “a personality, a star.” Her staying power over half a century comes from a stream of acclaimed work, her proclivity for a punishing schedule of tours and readings, and a fearlessness born of not caring what foolish people think.

“The best thing you can do for yourself is to not pay attention,” Giovanni said during a video interview from her home in Christiansburg, Va."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Listen to a wonderful interview with Nikki Giovanni and Neil Pasricha

Friday, August 28, 2020

On this Day in 1963 : "I Have A Dream" - Martin Luther King Jr.

 "I Have a Dream" is a public speech that was delivered by American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, in which he called for civil and economic rights and an end to racism in the United States. Delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., the speech was a defining moment of the civil rights movement and among the most iconic speeches in American history

Video link =