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Spring 2012 | Letter from the Chairs

Dear Friends of the Human Rights Council,

Once again, it has been a busy season for us – our committees have worked hard preparing for our annual events. We’re in dire need of a treasurer; if you know of one, please let us know! Featured at our annual Human Rights Day Breakfast last December were our former Chair and long-time Concord-Carlisle Human Rights Council Member, Polly Attwood, and Dr. Charles Willie. Polly shared her unique perspective after 30 years of working on the Human Rights Council and 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, spoke to the regional and national context surrounding human rights work in Concord. He also spoke of his early support of the METCO Program in Concord and his role in starting the Family Friends Council.

Our first event of 2012 was our January Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration. The performers were the Holy Tabernacle Women’s Ministry Choir, the Willard Fifth Grade Chorus, Boston Children’s Choir, the Concord-Carlisle High School Acapella Chorus, the Patriettes, and, joining us for the first time this year, the Fenn School Treble Chorus. The groups sang separately and together, their powerful voices joining with the audience to celebrate King’s life and legacy.

On April 22nd, at 7:30pm in the Concord Town House, the Council will coordinate the Annual Holocaust memorial on behalf of the Concord Board of Selectmen. The program will feature Leon Rubinstein, a Holocaust survivor, and his son, Concord resident Wade Rubinstein, reading from Leon’s memoir “As I am Presently Known.” Leon Rubinstein grew up in a small town in Eastern Poland during the 1930s, lost his family and home to the Nazi regime, hid in a hole for years, was conscripted to the Russian Army as a teenage soldier and smuggled into British Palestine on the cusp of the Israeli War of Independence before his journey brought him to America in the early 1950s. Wade started recording his father’s experiences as a Holocaust survivor in 2002, and enlisted the help of Concord writer Emily Rubin to write his father’s memoir. Cantor Rosalie Gerut will begin the memorial observance with song.

At this year’s Human Rights Day Breakfast, we were inspired by Charles Willie’s and Polly Attwood’s reflections on the founding principles of the CCHRC, that “The climate of the community is the responsibility of the community.” This idea started the Council and continues to guide us as we plan our annual events and offer ourselves as a resource to Concord’s and Carlisle’s schools, law enforcement agencies and most importantly, to those who feel their human rights have been violated. Our events are made possible by contributions, and because we remain committed to keeping our events free, we rely one hundred percent on these contributions. We now face costs, such as carrying insurance, that are a challenge to our small budget. We ask that you consider a generous donation this year so that we can continue to sponsor our events and to grow. The “climate for freedom” Dr. Willie reminded us in December, “doesn’t happen on its own. You have to nurture it.” We thank you for your support.

Sarah Napier and Ronni Olitsky Concord-Carlisle Human Rights Council Co-Chairs

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