MLK Action

Mission Statement

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Action Team is the racial justice arm of the Nauset Interfaith Association (NIA) working in partnership with the people of Cape Cod. Our mission is to address systemic racial injustice by educating ourselves and others and building transformative relationships. Through conversations that raise awareness, community organizing, cultural events, and educational programs, we move toward more deeply integrated and equitable communities on Cape Cod.

New & Exciting…

News & activities the MLK Action Team wants to share with our neighbors (see details below)

– 2 Legislative Advocacy Opportunities the MLK Action Team urges you to support

Legislative Action: MLK Action Team urges careful consideration and support of several legislative policies currently under consideration in various commitees at the State House that would significantly and positively impact communities of color and/or our indigenous neighbors here in MA:

Health Equity Compact, Take Action page will give people opportunity to download a letter template and instructions of who to send it to: https://healthequitycompact.org/take-action/

MA Indigenous Legislative Agenda, via the Action Network: this link will offer the opportunity to email a templated letter, with a place to add personal testimony, to the appropriate legislators. https://actionnetwork.org/letters/we-need-your-help-urge-the-ma-joint-committee-on-education-to-move-two-important-bills-out-of-committee?clear_id=true&source=direct_link

Spread the word!!!  Cape Cod Community College participates in MA Free College for All program: check their website at this link for qualification criteria and more information https://www.capecod.edu/free/

If searching for ways to talk to kids about race, check out the website EmbraceRace here https://www.embracerace.org/ 

Link to a list of Anti-Racism Resources including books, films, podcasts and more recently shared with us by a team member:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BRlF2_zhNe86SGgHa6-VlBO-QgirITwCTugSfKie5Fs/edit   Document compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein in May 2020.

Open Eyes Travel – posting photos from travel that opens our eyes to a more inclusive US History.   If you want to share travel experiences that may help us broaden our understanding of the contributions of persons of color to our US history, please send them to me with brief explanation of photo at [email protected]

View MLK Action Team Public Service Announcement with Lower Cape TV here:  https://vimeo.com/816645523

Upcoming Events

voices-of-migrants
voices-of-migrants
ice-ma-oct-2023

Special Events

 Celebrating the Mosaic: Sites of Historic and Cultural Significance for the Many People Who Call ( & Have Called) Cape Cod Home, a fun, self-paced, (virtual or in person) educational scavenger hunt activity for people of all ages.  PDF LINK

Past Special Events

Juneteenth Celebrated in Brewster

Juneteenth Celebrated in Brewster

Members of the MLK Action Team and their partners on the Conversations with Police Task Force were happy to be part of the Juneteenth Festival that a coordinating committee of the Brewster's Ladies Library organized.  In the picture above are Jeff Spalter, chair of...

read more

NIA ‘End of Year’ Luncheon

Twenty eight members of Nauset Interfaith Association met at The Kitchen Cafe of Brewster for a lovely lunch al fresco and a brief, end of year meeting.  Good food and conversation was enjoyed by all.  While some of the task forces continue some of their work over the...

read more

MEET

Ellen Garrison Clark

Ellen Garrison Jackson Clark (April 14, 1823 – December 21, 1892) was an African American educator, abolitionist, and early Civil Rights activist, whose defiance of “whites only” social spaces has been compared to Rosa Parks’ actions in the 20th century. Throughout her life, Clark signed petitions, including the demand for equal rights for Native Americans and desegregation of Massachusetts trains and Boston schools.

Ms. Clark was born to Jack Garrison and Susan Robbins in Concord, Massachusetts. At the time of Clark’s birth in 1823, Concord was open to previously enslaved people (Massachusetts abolished slavery in 1783) and was well known for being an abolitionist’s stronghold. Her mother Susan was a founding member of The Concord Female Anti-Slavery Society and its only known Black member.

As an adult Ellen moved to Boston where she became a teacher and joined the city’s social justice community. She helped organize events and assisted with fundraisers for abolitionist and equal rights causes. n May 5th, 1866, during her tenure as a schoolteacher in Port Deposit, MD Ms. Clark and her colleague Mary J. C. Anderson were forcibly ejected from a ladies-only waiting room. They refused requests to leave in accordance with the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which granted African American citizens the same rights as white citizens.[7] At the time of this event and the subsequent legal action, the Civil Rights Act had yet to be ratified – it had been vetoed by President Andrew Johnson, but the veto was subsequently overridden by Congress.

After the event, Clark wrote in a letter, “We were thrown out. We were injured in our persons as well as our feelings for it was with no gentle hand that we were assisted from that room and I feel the effects of it still”.
Intending to test train depot segregation in light of the 1866 Civil Rights act, Jackson and Anderson brought suit against the station master, an employee of the Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Wilmington Railroad, who had thrown them out of the waiting room. Initially, the court case was assigned to a judge who was sympathetic to civil rights, but the station master requested a jury. The case was subsequently not mentioned again in the local media, and it is possible that Jackson and Anderson declined a jury trial, as an all-white jury would have been unlikely to convict.
Nevertheless, the case is a significant event in the history of Civil Rights activism, with many sources pointing out its resonance with Rosa Parks’ actions and legal case.

Excerpted from Wikipedia

Additional note of interest: According to the Boston Globe (5/16/24): “Over the last year and a half, residents of [Concord] an affluent, predominantly white suburb have been pressuring the local School Committee name Concord’s new middle school after Ms. Clark. A grassroots group of volunteers called Friends of Ellen Garrison formed. “Stand Up for Ellen” signs sprung up in front yards across town. At the annual Town Meeting in April, residents voted overwhelmingly in support of a nonbinding proposal to name the middle school in Garrison’s honor. But the school committee hasn’t been swayed.”

mlk-action-leadership

Leadership

MLK Executive Committee and Task Force Chairpersons

Executive Committee

Karen Boujoukos, Chair
Ken Campbell, Treasurer
Sally Norris
David Purdy
Deborah Ullman
Reverend Wesley Williams

Task Force Chairpersons
Jeff Spalter 
Chair, Conversations With Police

David Purdy 
Chair, Criminal Justice Reform

Angelina Chilaka
Karen Boujoukos
Co-Chairs, Education Task Force

Sally Norris

Wesley Williams

Co-Chairs, MLK Breakfast Task Force

Leo Blandford 
Chair, Health Equity Task Force

mlk-action-cape-cod

In the News

 Fascinating article about conservative white law student in Mississippi who discovers positive truth about CRT.

A powerful example of banning books in schools as a way to silence authors and themes important to people of color. Article from Popular Information Newsletter by Judd Legum.

Editorial Written By A High School Student Regarding Education and CRT from the Wall Street Journal

Amplify POC Cape Cod co-sponsors panel discussion on racism on the Cape. Watch Here

NYT Article Regarding Wealth Gap and Financial Advisors and Influencers of Color Helping to Bridge the Gap

mlk-action-cape-cod-2

Racial Justice Resources

Here you can learn, learn, learn and become more aware of actions you can take to be an active antiracist. (Remember – ally is a verb!)

Annotated Racial Justice Bibliography

Annotated African-American Classics: An Essential Library

On the Topic of Being an Ally:

How to Have Tough Holiday Conversations from ARD Anti-Racism Daily written by author and ARD founder, Nicole Cardoza

Additional Readings & Resources

Regarding Inequities in Healthcare 

Education Task Force

The mission of the MLK Education Task Force is to help our communities reflect deeply on the way that race and other identifiers negatively impact education through thoughtful and thought-provoking learning opportunities. Our goal is to help to create safe, kind, and equitable educational communities by offering collaborative, value-added solutions to deficits in our educational systems and by providing BIPOC residents of Cape Cod, with a particular focus on educators and students, with social and professional support.

Current Initiatives:

  • DEI centered conference, free to all Cape Cod educators will be held on July 11, 2023 at the MRSD high school on Oak St. in Harwich.  Watch this site for detailed information soon.
  • Community Book Drive to bring literature featuring children and families from a variety of cultures and ethnicities into our local classrooms successfully concluded with approximately 40 new books going to each Nauset and Monomoy School District 3rd grade classroom library.  Book drives are held on alternating years from the educators’ conference.  This year’s book drive will benefit the Dennis Yarmouth School District which has one of the largest and fastest growing BIPOC student populations on the Cape.
  • Educator Mentorship Network to match newly hired educators of color with current and retired educators of color to help navigate their early career years.   
  • Celebrating the Mosaic: Sites of Historic and Cultural Significance for the Many People Who Call ( & Have Called) Cape Cod Home, a fun, self-paced, (virtual or in person) educational scavenger hunt activity for people of all ages.  NOW available through link on this webpage.

Criminal Justice Task Force

We are a non-partisan group working in alliance with others to advance racial impartiality in the Cape Cod and Islands justice system.  We try to stay informed of state legislative initiatives regarding the criminal justice system and advocate for those we support with our Cape Cod legislative delegation. 

Currently, The MLK Action Team supports an Act to Promote Public Safety and Better Outcomes for Young Adults (REPS. O’DAY & CRUZ H.1710/ SEN. CRIGHTON S.942). Please see the excellent testimony from the MA Legue of Women Voters detailing their support of this bill here: https://lwvma.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/LWVMA-Testimony-S.942_H.1710.pdf and if you agree, consider submiting a letter of support to the Judiciary Committee at 24 Beacon Street, Room 136, Boston, MA 02133 or by e-mail to [email protected] . 

Past Initiatives:

We spent much effort in 2021 and 2022 educating ourselves and the public regarding the role and responsibilities of the District Attorney, Sheriff, Governor’s Council; and encouraging open community discussion with candidates for and those who hold these offices; and advocating for all persons a more just and equal application of the law.   With the elections of 2022 behind us, we are currently considering new initiatives relating to criminal justice.  All suggestions are welcome.

An excellent expanation of the roles and responsibilities of the sheriff and district attorney, two critical positions in the criminal justice system from our partner and allied organization the Interfaith Justice Committee, can be found on this link: https://nausetinterfaith.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Job-description-of-DA-Sheriff.pdf

  • Know Your Sheriff: Public Education Forum, Tuesday, May 24 6 pm in partnership with ACLU MA, Cape Cod Media Center, League of Women Voters Cape Cod, NAACP Cape Cod, Cape Cod Coalition for Safe Communities and MA Women of Color Coalition (MAWOCC).
  • What A Difference A DA Makes Wednesday, January 26, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
    A Virtual Public Education Webinar Presentation by Whitney Taylor, ACLU of MA Political Director
    NEW: Full Video presentation on our partner, League of Women Voters’ website with this link (scroll down to What a difference a DA Makes).
  • Several slides regarding public perception of our criminal justice system from the presentation can be seen in our photo gallery below.
  • To view a brief summary of the What A Difference A DA Makes project launched by the ACLU of MA to highlight the key role that the Commonwealth’s district attorneys play in determining the effectiveness and fairness of the criminal legal system, view this short video.
  • Take Action Today!
    Keep Them Home Project of Color of Change
    At the height of the pandemic, thousands of people – many of whom are elderly or immunocompromised – were released from federal prison to finish their sentences on home confinement in order to curb the spread of COVID-19, which we know runs rampant in prisons and jails that lack adequate health and safety services. Show Your Support

LETTER FROM BIRMINGHAM JAIL STUDY GROUPS

Most Americans are familiar with Dr. Martin Luther King’s ” I Have A Dream,” moving address; however, fewer than 10% have read and studied his ” Letter From Birmingham Jail,” considered by most scholars as his most important work.

Conversations With Police Task Force

The mission of the Conversations with Police Task Force is to ensure a healthy relationship between the local police and communities of color. It is our intention — through discussion, education, and advocacy — to promote mutual trust and understanding between those pledged to serve and protect and all members of the community equally.

https://nausetinterfaith.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Work-of-Conversations-with-Police-pdf.pdf 

Educating ALL Cape Cod Students – Celebrating the Mosaic Educators Conference, 2021

educating-all-cape-cod-students

We recommend the following articles and resources for educators, parents, students and community members:

– From The Hechinger Report, Covering Innovation and Equality in Education, “Why the narrative that critical race theory ‘makes white kids feel guilty’ is a lie” https://hechingerreport.org/opinion-why-the-narrative-that-critical-race-theory-is-a-lie/

– Facing History and Ourselves: Offers many social and racial justice resources including lesson palns and toolkits www.facinghistory.org

– Teaching for Change: Buidling Social Justice Teaching in the Classroom, www.teachingforchange.org

– Social Justice Books, Offers a great selection of multicultural and social justice books for children, YA, and educators. www.socialjusticebooks.org

– Zinn Education Project, www.zinnedproject.org

– AFT Share My Lessons: Civil Rights Lesson Plans and Resources, www.sharemylesson.org

– Voices of Rebirth: A Reading List on Being Indigenous in America, https://longreads.com/2022/08/23/indigeneous-native-american-voices-reading-list/

Build your understanding of what it means to create an equitable and inclusive classroom by We Schools, a free program for teachers across America, providing resources and training to support them in addressing critical social issues with their students.

From Education Week, “How Do You Teach Black History Without Breaking the Law. Advice From a Teacher

Fascinating article about conservative white law student in Mississippi who discovers positive truth about CRT, “Inside Mississippi’s only class on critical race theory”.

2023 Annual MLK Breakfast

​This year’s breakfast highlights the racial justice advocacy work of the MLK Action Team