New Democracy Coalition founder Kevin Peterson, fresh off a week-long public fast in front of Faneuil Hall, returned to the scene of the slave trader’s edifice in Boston on Wednesday, July 8th to demand a change to the name of that tourist landmark – and for a change to the racist state flag and seal of Massachusetts as well!
In 1742, Peter Faneuil, merchant and slave trader, gave the city of Boston the hall that now bears his name, built with the fortune he amassed in part through the shipping and enslavement of human beings, whose names are now lost. It was in part to call upon and honor the memories of those departed ancestors that more than 200 BIPOC activists gathered in front of that building, sometimes referred to as the “Cradle of Liberty” for the roll it played as a gathering spot for revolutionaries in the mid-1700s.
After a greeting and welcome from United American Indians of New England spokesperson and Aquinnah Wampanoag elder Moonanum Frank James, who declared the site “liberated for the moment by your presence here,” the crowd listened in rapt attention to Peterson as he called for a return to the foundational ideals of the nation, that all humans are created equal and deserving of equal justice. Peterson demanded that the City of Boston change the name of Faneuil Hall. He called for statues to the genocidal slaver and kidnapper of Native people Christopher Columbus to be dismantled. And he called for changing the hideous image of a white hand holding a Colonial broadsword over the head of a Native American – the official state symbol of the flag and seal of Massachusetts.
The crowd marched, blocking traffic on Congress Street, to the site of the Boston Massacre, where they called on the spirit of Crispus Attucks, a man of mixed Wampanoag and African heritage who escaped from slavery to die in the first skirmish of the Revolutionary War. Taino dancers blew conch shell horns and held burning sage. Sisters of the Calabash danced and sang a soaring rendition of A Change is Gonna Come. White stockbrokers threaded their way down narrow sidewalks to the Financial District, pausing in surprise to take in signs calling for an end to White Supremacy. A helicopter hovered overhead as police stood by and protesters called for their abolition.
The protest march ended at City Hall, with many in the crowd promising to return to the steps of the State House on Thursday, July 16th, at 10:30 a.m. for a rally to change the state flag and seal and ban the use of Native mascots in public schools in the Commonwealth.
If Mississippi can take down their state flag of white supremacy, Massaschusetts can do it too. If Maine can ban the use of Native mascots in public schools, Massachusetts can do it too.
Go to: MaIndigenousAgenda.org and take action today. Use the simple automated letters you will find there to call on our legislators to do the right thing, and end the use of these symbols of white supremacy in Massachusetts, now.