Book Club – Parents Diversity Council

The Parents Diversity Council invites all members of the Bedford school community – Bedford, Boston, and Hanscom – to participate in our next book series, reading:

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States – For Young People, by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. In addition to parents and community members, Bedford High School students are encouraged to participate as well. We will host three related meetings about this book:

Wednesday, October 14, 7:30PM – book discussion*

Wednesday, October 28, 7:30PM – book discussion*

Tuesday, November 10 – culminating event (presentation by Claudia Fox Tree, educator and indigenous activist)

*Discussion questions will be sent ahead of time and meetings will consist of breakout groups to reflect on and discuss topics and themes. Email pdcbedford@gmail.com to learn more or register. The first 24 people to sign up and commit to attend both book discussions will receive a FREE copy of the book.

Book Club – Parents Diversity Council

The Parents Diversity Council invites all members of the Bedford school community – Bedford, Boston, and Hanscom – to participate in our next book series, reading:

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States – For Young People, by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. In addition to parents and community members, Bedford High School students are encouraged to participate as well. We will host three related meetings about this book:

Wednesday, October 14, 7:30PM – book discussion*

Wednesday, October 28, 7:30PM – book discussion*

Tuesday, November 10 – culminating event (presentation by Claudia Fox Tree, educator and indigenous activist)

*Discussion questions will be sent ahead of time and meetings will consist of breakout groups to reflect on and discuss topics and themes. Email pdcbedford@gmail.com to learn more or register. The first 24 people to sign up and commit to attend both book discussions will receive a FREE copy of the book.

Bedford is One of Six Recipients of MAPC’s Racial Equity Municipal Action Plan Grant

Bedford will soon embark on a year-long process to plan and implement a racial equity action plan for municipal and school employees, at no cost to the town.

The program, awarded competitively, is called REMAP, an acronym for the Racial Equity Municipal Action Plan. It is sponsored by a collaboration among three government entities: the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the Government Alliance on Race and Equity, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Funding for the consultants involved will be covered as a technical assistance grant. The six recipients were announced this week.

The first four months will focus on “tailored” training, reflection, and self-assessment. Beginning in February, the town will turn to developing a starting to implement a racial equity municipal action plan.

“It is going to be wonderful to have such valuable consulting that we would not normally be able to get,” stated Town Manager Sarah A. Stanton, who said she will be the point person for execution and implementation.

She said the process will focus on “working with staff and some elected officials to put together policy initiatives.” The agenda includes examining current guidelines and procedures and creating an action plan for the next steps.

Parents Diversity Council’s Book Club Choice ~ An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

The second installment of the Bedford schools’ Parents Diversity Council (PDC) book club series is underway, with the first discussion session scheduled for October 14 on Zoom.

Participants are reading a young people’s version of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, an American Book Award winner by the historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.

Discussion questions are being sent to readers, in preparation for meetings on Wednesdays, October 14 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. These sessions will include breakout groups. Then on Tuesday, November 10, the local educator and indigenous activist Claudia Fox Tree will make a community presentation. Each session will acknowledge the tribal land that today is Bedford.

Boston Bridges Initiative is Designed to Build Relationships

Students and families in the Bedford schools will serve as the pilot for a groundbreaking initiative designed to build relationships among people of different races by bringing them together in special social and educational settings.

Boston Bridges Initiative (BBI) “seeks to build meaningful cross-racial relationships within and between suburban and urban communities in the Greater Boston area,” according to its founders, including former Superintendent of Schools Jon Sills, parents Kim Dunsmore and Jessica Castro, and the METCO director, Akil Mondesir.

Town Receives REMAP Planning Grant to Support Equity in Bedford

Bedford is one of three towns among six Massachusetts communities selected to participate in a yearlong project to develop and implement plans for more racial and wealth equity in their communities. The award was announced by Town Manager Sarah Stanton at the September 28 meeting of the Select Board.

Stanton described the work as bringing an expert level of consulting to a yearlong effort to put together an equity plan across all functions of government. She will be taking the lead on this effort and requested that a member of the Select Board serve as a liaison. Emily Mitchell nominated Bopha Malone, Bill Moonan seconded, and the appointment was approved 5-0-0.  Malone agreed to serve saying,  “Thank you, Sarah, for submitting this grant. I would love to serve. I would be honored.”

Newest Bedford Free Public Library ‘StoryWalk’ is ‘We March’

Next time you’re in Bedford center, come take a walk around the library!

Our latest StoryWalk® follows Shane W. Evans’ beautiful picture book We March. It tells the story of the 1963 March on Washington where Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered this iconic ‘I Have a Dream’ speech on August 28, 1963.

It is a book that can be appreciated by readers of all ages, and we are happy to bring this StoryWalk® to you with support from the Friends of the Library.

Spotlight on Diverse Stories ~ A Bedford Library Zoom for Kids ~ 10:30 am on Saturday, August 22

The Bedford Free Public Library, Bedford Embraces Diversity (BED), and the Parents Diversity Council (PDC) offer children from Pre-K through grade 5 and their families a chance to expand their bookshelves with a special “Spotlight on Diverse Stories” storytime on Saturday, August 22, at 10:30 am via Zoom.

The 45-minute event will highlight some of the best recent books and videos by culturally diverse authors, including YOU MATTER, the newest picture book by Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Honoree Christian Robinson, and the Oscar-winning short film HAIR LOVE, created by Matthew Cherry and based on his picture book of the same name.

Update: Bedford Embraces Diversity’s Forum featuring Joe Zellner

Longtime resident and educator Joseph Zellner enlightened and inspired more than 50 people Tuesday evening in the latest of Bedford Embraces Diversity’s continuing series of conversations about racism in society.

Zellner’s thoughtful and powerful remarks on the origins, prevalence, and effects of racism and the unique opportunity that has arisen to effectively combat it was followed by breakout sessions for dialogue.

Gathering to Celebrate Diwali in Bedford

After Anitha Reddy Yajnik and family settled in Bedford, she wished to explore and embrace the town’s Indian community.

Yajnik’s search became an easier task than she had first imaged. “I decided to form my own community,” Yajnik said, at first going through her daughter’s school directory and emailing anyone whose last name sounded Indian. “I had 18 people in my house the first meeting that day.”

Yajnik moved to Bedford in 2011 and helped organize Bedford’s South Asian or Desi community. The community, including those from Pakistan and Bangladesh, held its first Diwali festival in 2013.

First Church of Christ, Congregational Travels to West Virginia to Help Others

We left West Virginia with an even greater appreciation of its rich culture, resilient people and natural beauty — Pastor John Castricum reflects in a press release about his church’s mission trip to West Virginia. The need is great. The statistics show that even though parts of West Virginia are thriving, there are still many pockets of deep poverty.  Unemployment is high and jobs are disappearing with the changes in the coal and gas industries. Many homes have substandard plumbing and electrical service.

Parade of Flags Opens Bedford’s Second Annual Multicultural Festival

Submitted by Bedford Embraces Diversity
Editor’s Note: Because there are so many wonderful images (and a video!) of Sunday’s celebration, watch for Part 2 of The Citizen’s coverage, a photo essay about the festival. Be sure to click each of the parade images to see it at full resolution! Last Sunday was sunny but kind of chilly for May. And that wind – steady all day long, with occasional gusts that could stop you in your tracks. Could there be a better day for a parade of flags?

Update: Bedford’s Second Multicultural Festival on Sunday, May 15

Submitted by Bedford Embraces Diversity

Hundreds of residents and visitors of all ages are expected to assemble at the high school on Sunday (May 15) for the second annual Bedford Multicultural Festival. The free festival begins at noon with a parade of flags, representing the community’s diverse nationalities, starting at the Town Center and continuing along Mudge Way. Click this link to view the Bedford Multicultural Festival schedule. The parade will culminate at the high school’s gym entrance, launching almost four hours of performances, foods, crafts and activities. Bedford Embraces Diversity is the organizer of the Multicultural Festival.

Bedford’s Second Annual Multicultural Festival: Sunday, May 15 from Noon to 4 at Bedford High School

Submitted by Bedford Embraces Diversity

Bedford’s second annual Multicultural Festival will feature an array of musicians, dancers and singers reflecting the rich cultural diversity of the community. The event is planned for Sunday, May 15, from noon to 4 p.m., beginning with parade of flags through the town campus and continuing in the Bedford High School gymnasium and auditorium. Bedford Embraces Diversity is the sponsor of the Multicultural Festival. The group and its activities represent Bedford’s affirmative response to local incidents of anti-Semitism, and racism. Organizers feel that the upcoming celebration of diversity is especially timely as the nation grapples with episodes of intolerance.

Bedford Embraces LGBTQ Diversity

Submitted by The Welcoming Committee at First Parish on Bedford Common

Interested individuals are invited to attend an exploratory meeting to discover the needs of parents, grandparents, friends, and relatives of LBGTQ individuals, and offer support and information to our diverse Bedford community. Are you gay or is someone you know a LBGTQ person? Are you the parent or grandparent of a gay or transgender child? Do you have a friend or relative that just came out? Are you wondering how to support your loved one?

Faces of Bedford 2016: Transcending African-American Stereotypes

Submitted by Bedford Embraces Diversity

The Bedford Embraces Diversity group is sponsoring a free, hands-on workshop on what the community has done — and can do — in response to subtle and blatant acts of racism, locally and nationally. Faces of Bedford 2016 — Transcending African-American Stereotypes will take place on Saturday, February 6, at Town Center, 12 Mudge Way. Participants must register in advance, as space is limited. For reservations, program time and other details, contact Valerie Rushanan (valrushanan@verizon.net) or Marilou Barsam (barsammarilou@gmail.com). Light refreshments will be served.

Rep. Gordon Urges Local Communities to Stand With Parisians Without Isolating Local Muslims

By State Representative Ken Gordon

Today we stand hand-in-hand with our brothers and sisters in Paris.  We share in their grief and feel their loss.  We in Massachusetts know the pain caused by terror  attacks all too well.  These senseless acts of violence reached our shores on Sept. 11, 2001. They touched our Commonwealth a few years ago, at the bombings that marred the Marathon and took the life of Wilmington’s Sean Collier.  This weekend, evil revisited this world in three attacks on the French capital. Responsibility for these attacks that killed some 129 people and wounded 352 others has been claimed by a group calling itself the Islamic State, ISIS or ISIL.  Even Islamic leaders object of the use of the word Islam by this group. These leaders claim they do not represent their faith.

“Black Lives Matter” Banner Vandalized at First Parish

 

Editor’s Note: A “Black Lives Matter” banner was hung on the South Road side of First Parish on the Common several weeks ago. This past weekend it was vandalized when someone sprayed white paint over the word “black.” Senior Minister John Gibbons offered to share the statement sent to members and friends of First Parish with the Town via The Bedford Citizen. Submitted by Rev. John Eric Gibbons, 
Senior Minister at First Parish, Unitarian Universalist, in Bedford

Several questions have been asked about our Black Lives Matter banner.  I’ll address a few and, if you’d like to know more, please contact me privately at jgibbons@uubedford.org.

Reflection: Fair Housing and Diversity in Bedford

By Rachel Lewis Murphy

Several weeks ago I attended a Celebration of Life service for a very dear friend and advocate for Fair housing and Diversity in Bedford. Her name was Muriel Morris. Just a brief deviation: A few things were constantly mentioned during and after the service. They were Muriel’s smile, faith, love and determination. This sparked an idea.

Reflection: Bedford Embraces Diversity

By Mike Rosenberg

Rosh Hashanah begins next Sunday night, September 13. For the Jewish world the holiday culminates a month of a process called cheshbon hanefesh – literally “an account of the soul.” This is an experience in individual and communal introspection, taking stock of our lives and considering how we can improve. For scores of Bedford residents and organizations, cheshbon hanefesh has been a continuous process for more than a year and a half. The discovery of anti-Semitic graffiti and offensive children’s games was a catalyst for a multi-faceted approach to examining the community’s appreciation of diversity and how to strengthen and enhance it. The outcome has been gratifying –a new Bedford Embraces Diversity committee and its sparkling multicultural festival, a plethora of changes in the schools, and overall heightened sensitivity and inclusiveness.