We Reach Provincetown

By David Detmold

10:10 am Friday August 23rd

I have just a few moments before we have to ride to catch the ferry to Boston, where we plan to deliver eight more “true and attested” annual town meeting resolutions, from towns that have voted to change the state flag and seal, to the 17 legislators at the statehouse who sit on the Joint Committee on State Administration. They have yet to hold a hearing on the bill to change the flag, and we hope to add to growing pile of town meeting resolutions, and push the committee forward toward a hearing and a positive vote!

The bike tour, which began at the Peace Pagoda in Grafton NY on Thursday, August 15th, now ends in a brief rain shower, at the tip of Cape Cod, where Rev. Brenda Hayword of Racial Justice Provincetown kindly gave us a place to camp for the night in her back yard. She is the person responsible for assuring a unanimous vote in favor of changing the white supremacist state flag of Massachusetts at annual town meeting in Provincetown at the beginning of spring. And she has been working for four years to persuade the selectboard here to permit a beautiful memorial to the Wampanoag Nation in time for the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrim landing – next year in 2020. Brenda is tireless in the cause of social justice; thank you for all your work!

Have to go now – but wanted to add a brief note to let friends know that Google, in its infinite wisdom, has locked me out of my own personal email account while I have been traveling 400 miles by bicycle, using computers at public libraries to stay in touch. I am sorry to those I had been trying to make plans with, and now cannot reach. If any of you are reading this (linsey hurley?) and hoping to hear back from me, write to me at a new account: stateflagbiketour@gmail.com.

The impressions of the bike tour are rich and fleeting. The man who gave me his bicycle pump to borrow in Huntington, when I had forgotten mine at home.

The man we handed a leaflet to in Falmouth at dusk as he picked up his newspaper. Before we parted, he promised to make a fax of the information and send it that same night to his good friend, the state senator from that district, who has yet to sign on to the legislation as a co-sponsor.

The sign along the side of the highway outside Ware, inviting all to a Powwow in Gilbertsville this weekend (gates open at 10 am, $5 per carload).

The people who passed us by and spoke with us at the peace vigil in Pittsfield and said, one after the other, “change the state flag? I just read an article about that… I’ve heard about that…” one woman had even attended a hearing in the statehouse in Boston on the issue. The movement is growing to demand a change to this racist symbol of ancient genocide that still flies proudly above our statehouse. But if I don’t post this now, with all its spelling errors, I will miss the boat and be late to the statehouse to bring the voices of eight more Massachusetts towns that are saying – it is time to invite Native leaders to the table to design a new flag, a symbol of harmony for the future, rather than a glorification of the violence of the past.

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