Today, we celebrate the end of slavery in this country. Let’s take a few minutes to help end the practice of celebrating the father of slave trading in the Americas, Christopher Columbus, at least in Massachusetts, where we have the chance to pass S.2027 / H.3191 An Act Establishing an Indigenous Peoples Day. The bill has received tremendous support. But it must be voted favorably out of committee no later than June 30th. We need your help today to make that happen!
Please Act Now to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day in MA.
Call or email the Co-chairs of the Joint Committee on State Administration, Rep. Tony Cabral and Sen. Marc Pacheco today. Ask them to hold a vote before the June 30 deadline, and favorably pass this bill out of their Committee, so the Legislature can vote on it this year:
· A phone call to Rep. Tony Cabral, could make all the difference. His phone number is (617) 722-2017) or email him at ( Antonio.Cabral@mahouse.gov ).
· If you have time, please also call his co-chair, Sen. Marc Pacheco, at (617) 722-1551 or email him at: ( Marc.Pacheco@masenate.gov ).
Urge Rep. Cabral and Sen. Pacheco to allow the Indigenous Peoples Day bill to move forward with a positive vote from the Joint Committee on State Administration today!
The law, if passed, will replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day in MA. Changing the second Monday in October to Indigenous Peoples Day would acknowledge the harmful impact of celebrating Columbus as a hero. Historical accounts prove that wherever he went, Columbus and his men murdered and enslaved Indigenous People. The repercussions continue to be keenly felt even now in Massachusetts.
Indigenous Peoples Day would replace something negative with something positive – an increased awareness of Indigenous Peoples and a celebration of Indigenous resilience and survival, in Massachusetts and throughout the Americas.
A victory for Indigenous People would be a victory for all people of color in Massachusetts, who still experience the racism and violence that was first visited upon the Indigenous People of the Americas by Columbus and his crew.
You don’t need to be an expert on this bill. Just speak from your heart and encourage Rep. Cabral and Sen. Pacheco to allow this long stalled racial justice bill to move forward.
We want to honor the Native people of this land rather than honoring the slave trader Columbus in our public schools, and in our cities and towns.
Athol and Barre Resolve to Change the Flag and Seal!!
The Worcester County towns of Athol and Barre approved town meeting resolutions to change the flag and seal last week. On Monday, June 13th in Athol, with more than 100 voters in attendance, Brooke Coleman, a pre-school teacher, got up in front of the room and spoke in favor of changing the state’s racist symbol. After she spoke, state representative Susannah Whipps, who formerly served on the Athol selectboard and was an early co-sponsor of the legislation establishing a special commission to recommend a redesign of the flag and seal, stood up and urged the voters to support the resolution. When the moderator called for the vote, it passed with a strong majority.
On Tuesday, June 14th, the Town of Barre followed with a significant victory on the flag and seal resolution. By passing the resolution, Barre became the second town to reverse a previous NO vote.
In June of 2019, Bernardston (a town that had once been called Falls Fight Township, when it was founded in 1734 as a land grant for veterans of the massacre of Native refugees on May 19, 1676 above the Great Falls, in what is now the town of Gill) reversed the NO vote on the flag and seal resolution two weeks later, at a special town meeting, following a determined effort to gather the 100 signatures needed to place the article back on the warrant.
In Barre (a town where the public library contains a private museum where the largest collection of artifacts from the Wounded Knee massacre are still kept in a locked room on the second floor, despite the ongoing efforts of Lakota people to have those sacred objects repatriated) it took three years to gather enough support to reverse the vote on the flag and seal. But on Tuesday night, June 14th, thanks to the advocacy of Betsy Wilson, Neil Anders, Rita Renee Toll-Dubois and a number of other residents, the voters of Barre approved the same resolution decisively, making Barre the 54th town in the Commonwealth to say, “Change the Flag and Seal!”
Free Leonard Peltier
The Indigenous Solidarity working group of Massachusetts Peace Action has just made it easy for you to help free imprisoned American Indian Movement elder Leonard Peltier. Now 77, Peltier, unjustly and selectively prosecuted for his role in a shootout in Oglala, SD on June 26, 1975, has been in jail for more than 46 years. Please take a moment to help set him free, today, by sending the action letter at this link: masspeace.us/freeleonardpeltier
Next Meeting of the Special Commission
The next meeting of the Special Commission on the Flag and Seal and Motto of the Commonwealth will take place on Tuesday, June 21st, at 11 a.m. The public may view the proceedings by going to: malegislature.gov , on the Hearings page, and joining the livestream of the meeting at that time.