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, racially diverse communities on Cape Cod.
New & Exciting…
Here we’ll post news & activities that the MLK Action Team wants to share with our neighbors
Congratulations to Angelina Chilaka, MLK Action Team Member and Education Task Force Co-Chair, for being awarded Barnstable County’s Mercy Otis Warren Woman of the Year Award. Angie was selected for this honor for her many years of public service which included decades of dedicated to teaching in the Harwich and Monomoy school systems, her role in the creation of and continuing work with the Harwich Fund, her volunteer efforts with the American Red Cross and the Harwich Council on Aging, and of course her leadership within the MLK Action Team as the co-chair of it’s Education Task Force. “The Mercy Otis Warren Cape Cod Woman of the Year Award was established in 2002 to annually recognize a woman who exemplifies the trairts of leadership in the community and who has made a significant contribution to the arts, education, business or commuity involvement, and volunterrism while embracing the ideals of patriotism.”
Celebrating the Mosaic: Sites of Historic and Cultural Significance for the Many People Who Call (and Have Called) Cape Cod Home, a fun, self-paced, (virtual or in person) educational scavenger hunt for people of all ages. Use this link: Sites of Historic and Cultural Significance
From Mississippi Today
Fascinating article about conservative white law student in Mississippi who discovers positive truth about CRT, “Inside Mississippi’s only class on critical race theory”.
I would like to introduce Belonging Books, a community space and bookstore that centers on and celebrates the voices, stories and work of Black, Indigenous and other underrepresented communities on Cape Cod. Belonging Books strives to create a space for joy, celebration, safety and belonging through programs and events.
Learn more at www.belongingbookscapecod.com.
Erica Tso Haidas
Founder & Owner
This “Meet …” is a new feature of the MLK Action Team web page to introduce you to people of color, from across Cape Cod and across the country, from both contemporary times or from times long past, who we think history should have given more attention.
Meet Army Sgt. William H. Carney, the first black recipient of the award U.S. Medal of Honor who earned it for protecting the American flag during a ferocious battle for Fort Wagner.
Wm. Carney was born into slavery in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1840. His family was eventually granted freedom and moved to Massachusetts. Carney had wanted to pursue a career in the church, but when the Civil War broke out, he decided the best way he could serve God was by serving in the military to help free the oppressed. In March 1863, Carney joined the Union Army and was attached to Company C, 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry Regiment, the first official black unit recruited for the Union in the north. Forty other black men served with him, including two of Frederick Douglass’ sons.
On July 18, 1863, the soldiers of Carney’s regiment led the charge on Fort Wagner. During the battle, the unit’s color guard was shot and Carney scrambled to catch the falling flag.
Despite suffering several serious gunshot wounds himself, Carney kept the symbol of the Union held high as he crawled up the hill to the walls of Fort Wagner, urging his fellow troops to follow him. He planted the flag in the sand at the base of the fort and held it upright until his near-lifeless body was rescued.
Carney lost a lot of blood and nearly lost his life, but not once did he allow the flag to touch the ground. His heroics inspired other soldiers that day and were crucial to the North securing victory at Fort Wagner. Carney was promoted to the rank of sergeant for his actions.
For his bravery, Carney was awarded the Medal of Honor on May 23, 1900.
NOW AVAILABLE: 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. Use this link: https://nausetinterfaith.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Celebrating-the-Mosaic_-Sites-of-Historic-and-Cultural-Significance-for-the-Many-People-Who-Have-Called-Cape-Cod-Home-2.pdf
Film Viewing and Panel Discussion: The MLK Action Team and other Cape Cod racial justice organizations hosted a showing of film “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America”. It was followed by a panel discussion with Leo Blandford, Ayanna Parrent, Tara Vargas Wallace and Jeanne Morrison who shared their reflections on the film with the theater audience. Event was held on Monday, June 20 at the Cape Cinema in Dennis.
Amplify POC Founder and MLK Action Team Member, Tara Vargas Wallace gave a TedX Talk about the racial wealth gap in the US. If possible, we will have a link to the talk on this website when it becomes available. Please check back in a week or two.
Jeanne Morrison, MLK Action Team member wears many social and racial justice hats – she is co-president of the League of Women Voters Cape Cod, and an active member of the Barnstable Human Rights Commission and Barnstable No Place for Hate. To recognize and honor Juneteenth, she organized an event for the Falmouth Arts Festival which included a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by Representative Viera in a Union Army uniform as well as readings by students representing a number of little known black civil war heros. It was an inspring event.
MLK Executive Committee and Task Force Chairpersons
Pancheta Peterson, Co-Convener
Karen Boujoukos, Co-Convener
Ken Campbell, Treasurer
Reverend Wesley Williams
Task Force Chairpersons
Chair, Conversations With Police
Chair, Criminal Justice Reform
Chair, MLK Breakfast Task Force
Chair, Health Equity Task Force
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
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
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.
- 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
- Educator Mentorship Network to match newly hired educators of color with current and retired educators of color to help navigate their early career years. See flyer in “Upcoming Events” section above.
- 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. (COMING SOON)
- Black History of Boston Tour Travel with MLK Action for a day of cultural and educational programming in Boston. Day will include transportation, visits to the African American Museum and the Royal House with a lunch* stop at a Black owned, southern soul food restaurant. Watch this site for detailed information soon. (*lunch cost not included in price of tour). To be rescheduled for fall.
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 with an emphasis on:
Educating 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.
- COMING SOON: 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.
Educating ALL Cape Cod Students – Celebrating the Mosaic
Here are videos and resources from this Virtual Educator Conference that was held July 19 – 20, 2021 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)
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“
2022 10th Annual MLK Breakfast
This year’s breakfast highlights the racial justice advocacy work of the MLK Action Team