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Fall 2011: Letter from the Chairs

Dear Friends of the Human Rights Council:

As we begin a new year on the Human Rights Council, we have changes to share with you. Our longtime Chair Polly attwood has passed the torch to the two of us – Sarah Napier and Ronni Olitsky – as the new co-Chairs. Polly will remain a member-at-large, continuing to share her years of experience as a human rights activist with the Council. We are lucky that she will be with us as we take the lead this year, and want to thank her for her many contributions and unfailing leadership on the Human Rights Council, the Drinking Gourd Project and Concord’s METCO program.

This summer we ran a table and a game at the Picnic-in-the Park as we do every summer. Events like this are a good way to reach out to potential new members and to educate Concord citizens about our work.

Looking ahead, we are busy planning our annual Human Rights Day Breakfast on Monday, December 5 at 7:30 a.m. at the Trinitarian Congregational Church on Walden Street. We are excited that Polly attwood and Dr. Charles Willie will be our featured speakers this year. Polly has a unique perspective after 30 years working on the Human Rights Council and will share her experiences as a leader in our community. Dr. Willie, who is the Charles William Eliot Professor of Education, Emeritus, at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, and a Concord resident, will speak to the regional and national context surrounding human rights work in Concord.

We are also beginning to plan what we hope will be a series of workshops in conjunction with the Concord Police Department and local business leaders with a focus on ‘cultural profiency.’ The goal of the workshops will be to critically examine how we – people of varied cultural backgrounds who live and work in, or visit, Concord – interact with each other in a variety of settings. We are in the early planning stages of this project, but are excited about its potential.

The Drinking Gourd Project’s Caesar Robbins house has come far with town, donor and grant support; it was moved to its new home across from the Old manse on National Park Servicemanaged land last may, and the exterior will be restored to its 1823 period appearance by winter. As always, thank you for your support – especially in these economically challenging times – it is very much appreciated, and we could not continue our work without it.

Sarah Napier & Ronni Olitsky

Concord-Carlisle Human Rights Council co-Chairs

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