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Fall 2009: Letter from the Chair

Dear Friends of the Human Rights Council:

As with any organization, we try to measure what we do by holding up our decisions and activities by the light of our mission statement. One of the simplest ways to judge our actions is to re-examine them with ‘the climate of the community is the responsibility of the community,’ which have been our watchwords from the founding of the Council. Are we supporting activities that promote a healthy climate? Are we actively involved in projects that promote tolerance, dialog, understanding and diversity? After self-examination, I think we can answer a qualified yes. ‘Qualified’ because there is always more to be done, more opportunities that we miss, and more people to reach.

This is the ‘off’ year for the ‘Climate for Freedom’ award that we give biannually to a group or organization that embodies the ideal of promoting the climate of freedom in the communities of Concord and Carlisle, but the speaker at our forthcoming Annual Human Rights Day Breakfast is someone whose 33 years of work exemplifies how one makes a difference. Police Chief Len Wetherbee has been a catalyst for change here in Concord, with his work in promoting Sensitivity Training, Community Policing, his support of Domestic Violence prevention, as well as his initiatives around the flourishing Communities for Restorative Justice. The Breakfast is scheduled for the first Monday in December, December 7th, at 7:30 AM, at First Parish Church on Lexington Rd. Chief Wetherbee will be the speaker, and our hope is that you will come to hear his views on how his vision of community comes to pass.

Our activities this year have kept us very busy; the Drinking Gourd Project has created maps of an African-American and Abolitionists’ tour in Concord, trained Town Guides, presented exhibits to the three Public Elementary Schools, and been very involved in trying to save the Robbins/Hutchinson house (read more about that inside this newsletter). Danielle Laura is heading up the mission of establishing a College Scholarship for METCO students – the first was given last spring – again, more information on how you can help with that inside.

Our website (thanks to Lorell Gifford Ambrose) is full of information, and can be accessed at – check it out!

We would like to welcome Aaron Joncas as the new METCO Director for CPS and CCRSD, who hit the ground running in August (but is now hobbling on crutches after knee surgery!).

We are in the planning stages of organizing the Martin Luther King Celebration for January – watch for more news of that event – it promises to be a fitting tribute to all Martin Luther King stood for, and an energizing way to start the New Year.

As always, thank you all for your support, both for your contributions to the Council itself, and its special projects.

Peace, — Polly Attwood

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