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)

– Book Reading for Elementary Children at Harwich Community Center

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

– Community book drive collects 464 new books for DY 3rd grade classrooms.  Thanks for donating! 

Book Reading and Craft Event by (honorary) MLK Action Team, Pamela Chatterton Purdy.  Birds in My Closet was inspired by an experience that the author’s husband had with their adopted son of Black Vietnamese heritage. Hoang, age 5 has squirreled himself away in his closet, feeling less vulnerable having slept on a mat in Vietnam. His mom and dad supply him with a sleeping bag in hopes that he will have fewer nightmares, He talks to his dad and expresses his struggle with being different from the other kids at school, where he is called “Blackie” and “cotton picker”.  He has taped pictures of birds all over his walls from his Ranger Rick Magazines. His dad crawls in beside him and asks, “What if all these birds looked alike?” Hoang recognizes that it would be a pretty dull world! The boy falls asleep and dreams that he wakes up in a nest as a “blooming full feathered bird.” He soon discovers that every bird in Birdship county looks just like him! And so the adventure of finally discovering the value of his uniqueness begins.

Author, Pamela, will be reading “Birds in my Closet” and book signing on Thursday,  April 18th at the Harwich Community Center!  The event is free and appropriate for Elementary age students.
After the reading there will be the opportunity of making birds of every shape, color and size!

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

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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

2024 MLK Annual Breakfast

2024 MLK Annual Breakfast

The annual MLK Breakfast event was held in person after three years of being held on Zoom and was a joyous and inspiring morning.  With a capacity crowd of 170 attendees, our Keynote Speaker, Rev. June Cooper of Boston combined tales of her life's work with...

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Barnstable Human Rights Commission’s Awards Breakfast

Barnstable Human Rights Commission’s Awards Breakfast

Members of MLK Action Team's Conversations with Police Task Force.  From left to right front row, Pancheta Peterson, Jeanne Morrison, Tia Cross, Deborah Ullman, Becky Alden and David Purdy.  Left to right, back row, Harwich Police Chief David Guillemette, Brewster...

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Barnstable High School Hosts BIPOC College Fair

Barnstable High School Hosts BIPOC College Fair

The MLK Action Team was invited to host a resource table at Barnstable High School's first college fair geared for BIPOC students.  With guest speakers and alumni representing 10 HBCUs, students had a lot of opportunities to talk about their future plans for after...

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Open Eyes Travel Blog

NYC – Black History Highlights on Broadway, part 2

Above: the legendary Pearl Bailey.  Below:  A drawing by caricaturist Al Hirschfeld featuring Nell Carter and Andre De Shields in a Broadway revival of "Ain't Misbehavin' " Below: The Wiz with Stephanie Mills Coming up next: The American Wing of the Metropolitan...

MEET

Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Dr. Carter G. Woodson

“Carter G. Woodson was a scholar whose dedication to celebrating the historic contributions of Black people led to the establishment of Black History Month, marked every February since 1976. Woodson fervently believed that Black people should be proud of their heritage and all Americans should understand the largely overlooked achievements of Black Americans.”

Dr. Woodson’s parents were illiterate former slaves and growing up in W. VA, he needed to work, first on the farm farm and later in the coal mines, to help his family.  He did not begin high school until the age of 20 but he was able to complete the degree in two years.

“In addition to earning a master’s degree from the University of Chicago, he became the second Black American, after W.E.B. Du Bois, to obtain a Ph.D. degree from Harvard University. He joined the faculty of Howard University, eventually serving as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences”.

Working as an educator, though not allowed to attend professional conferences because of his race, it became clear to him that “African-American contributions ‘overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them’.”

To counter that, “Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915 in Chicago, describing its mission as the scientific study of the ‘neglected aspects of Negro life and history’.”

In 1926 he launched Negro History Week in the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Woodson’s concept was later expanded into Black History Month.  Dr. Woodson was also a prolific writer, authoring “many books on Black history, including the A Century of Negro Migration (1918), The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861 (1919), The History of the Negro Church (1921), and The Negro in Our History (1922).”

All of the above was taken from NAACP website: https://naacp.org/find-resources/history-explained/civil-rights-leaders/carter-g-woodson 

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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

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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

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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

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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