OBSERVER REPORT: Task Force Against Discrimination, Feb. 9

Marblehead League of Women Voters Observer Corps
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Observer Corps Reports are provided by volunteers from the Marblehead League of Women Voters. To learn more about the League and its activities, see

BOARD: Task Force Against Discrimination

DATE: Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

LWVM OBSERVER: Kathy Leonardson

IN ATTENDANCE: Diane Gora and Helaine Hazlett (co-chairs), Scott Marcus, Chief Dennis King, Saria Miller, Reece Dahlberg, Louis Meyi (liaison to Marblehead Racial Justice Team), Helina Tadesse (student representative), Deacon Joe Whipple and Jay Morrison. Deacon Joe Whipple had difficulty with his connection and left at 7:52 p.m.

Welcome new member

New MHS student member Helina Tadesse was welcomed, and TFAD members introduced themselves. Tadesse also serves on Team Harmony at Marblehead High School. Tadesse and TFAD student representative Celia Sliney both attended the Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony.

Update from Marblehead Police Department

Chief King read the statement he put out upon the release of the graphic video of Tyre Nichols being beaten by police. Chief King spoke to his officers about how it related to our community.

Incidents: There currently are none and no open cases under investigation.

Holocaust Remembrance Day (Jan. 27)

Hazlett and Chief King summarized the afternoon program that took place at Abbot Hall with 50-60 people in attendance. A proclamation from the town was read; poems were read. Rabbi Meyer invited Moses Grader to speak, and he gave a very moving talk that combined history with a personal story, receiving a standing ovation. The Select Board was asked to hold this event annually.

February Book Read

Reece Dahlberg said 100 books “Stamped (For Kids)” were purchased for Black History Month. Dahlberg spoke to principals about distribution of the books. Parents can also order the books from Copper Dog bookstore at a special rate. A flier will be created about the books. Copies will be available before February school vacation. School libraries and Abbot Public Library also have copies in their collections.

Report on Marblehead Public Schools

Tadesse said Team Harmony is preparing to do seminars at the Veterans School on antisemitism, racism and microaggressions. 

Gora reported that for Black History Month at Glover Elementary School, a short video is shown each day that celebrates the accomplishments of Black people, such as Serena and Venus Williams. Students then read a short blurb about the individuals.

Glover School is also preparing for the Racial Justice Team to bring two pieces of artwork to the school on May 5, where they will reside for one year; the artwork is of John Lewis and Harriet Tubman. The artwork will move to a different school each year, May to May.

Report on Mass Cultural Council Grant

Gora and Sliney applied for a grant for $1,000 last fall to fund activities for the upcoming Juneteenth celebration. Mid-January, they received an email that they were awarded the grant. The program would include Greg Coles (drumming), storytelling, plus fund printing of brochures and fliers for publicity. The grant has various reporting requirements and provides

reimbursement for expenses.

Chris Buell has been in touch with the president of the Festival of Arts about TFAD having a booth at the festival, and that is still pending.

Update from Marblehead Racial Justice Team 

Louis Meyi and Jay Morrison from the Racial Justice Team spoke about the vigil held at Seaside Park last Sunday, attended by about 50 people. Chief King, Rev. Bixby, Rep. Jenny Armini and Rev. Crawford all gave meaningful presentations. Morrison said that Chief King’s presentation was monumental in that it was healing, hopeful and reassuring. The TFAD and MRJT collaborated on creating a poster graphic placard: “Hands Up for (blank),” fill in the blank.

Monday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. is the next monthly Conversation on Race, topic “Soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement.” The program registration is listed on the Marblehead Museum website. The previous program with the Lynn Museum was very successful, held only online due to weather, with good attendance.

Morrison is working on a program for March 27, gathering people who were founding members of Marblehead Racial Justice Team, asking why they got involved and looking to the future.

Other business

  • TFAD has submitted its section of the town report for 2022 to the Select Board.
  • Natalie Belli will talk about the TFAD book selection at the next meeting.
  • The next TFAD meeting will be Thursday, March 16 at 7 p.m.

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