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Fall 2008: Letter from the Chair

Dear Council members:

Fall is definitely here. I can tell, not just by the turning of the leaves, but also the leaves in my appointment book – the meetings, deadlines and activities are piled almost on top of each other. Human Rights Council committees have been busy – meeting and working over the summer in preparation for the Seventh Climate for Freedom Award. There are many organizations in our community – we counted over thirty doing amazing work in many different areas. Winnowing through all of these to settle on one that we felt was overdue for recognition was no easy task.

The recipient this year is the Concord Chapter of P-FLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). They have worked tirelessly to promote understanding, dialogue, support for families, respect and a safe environment for the gay community. The Award will be presented at the Annual Human Rights Day Breakfast to be held on Monday, December 1st, 7:30 am, at the Trinitarian Congregational Church on Walden St. in Concord. All are invited to attend and hear Pam Garromone, Executive Director of Greater Boston P-FLAG, speak about their work and how it has impacted our community.

On another note, (though not unrelated) someone has to say it – these are historic times. Against a backdrop of financial turmoil, environmental fragility, so many regional and international conflicts, and so much human misery, we are witnessing something in the political arena, something that, to me, seems immense.

The climate of the community is the responsibility of the community – that has been the belief of the Concord-Carlisle Human Rights Council from its inception 30 years ago. We apply that to our local scene, but it is no less true of our global community. Viewed in these terms, the world’s climate has seen some pretty dark years, but it looks to me as if we may be seeing something new in the United States. Certainly we are seeing events that would not have been possible 50 – or even 20 – years ago.

Can we keep working to change the climate of our community? We start here, in our own backyard. We try to infuse our children, our friends, our colleagues with our belief in the possibilities within humanity; we vote; we keep on keeping on.

A billion small butterfly wing beats of change have produced a climate in which a Barack Obama can become President of the United States. Maybe – just maybe – what we have been doing here in Concord and Carlisle has been one of those wing beats.

So – don’t stop. Who knows what lies ahead?

Polly Attwood Concord-Carlisle Human Rights Council Co-chair

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