Final Meeting of the Special Commission

Boxborough is 79th Town to Vote for a New Flag and Seal

On Monday, November 6th, Boxborough became the 79th town to take a formal vote in favor of changing of state flag and seal.

On Wednesday, November 8th, from 1 pm to 2:30 pm, the Special Commission on the Seal and Motto of the Commonwealth plans to hold their final meeting before issuing recommendations to the legislature for a new flag, seal and motto for Massachusetts.

Those recommendations are due by November 15th.

Last week, the Special Commission reviewed results of a statewide survey gathering input on possible new design elements for the state symbol and motto.

Over 10,000 residents responded, including 244 Indigenous respondents. Top picks for design elements in that survey including the coastline or shape of Massachusetts, also the image of a right whale. Among possible choices for words or phrases for a new motto, the first choice was the word, “Peace.”

“Peace”. Not “Peace Under the Sword,” as or current Latin motto is commonly translated. And the image of the colonizer Myles Standish’s sword, which has been hanging above the head of an Indigenous caricature on our state flag and seal since 1780, seems headed for the dustbin of history, at last.

But it is important to realize that the Special Commission, established by the legislature on January 6th, 2021 after more than 50 years of continuous lobbying and protest from Indigenous activists and their allies, only has the power to make recommendations to the legislature.

Only the legislature has the power to actually create a new flag and seal.

So we need to be prepared to keep the pressure on.

Along those lines, the fall Town Meeting of Boxborough voted unanimously on Monday, November 6th, to make Boxborough the 79th town to support changing the flag and seal of Massachusetts. Thank you, Boxborough!

Tune into tomorrow’s meeting of the Special Commission (details below) and follow the proceedings. Then urge your state legislators to heed the recommendations of the Special Commission and create a new state symbol we can be proud to teach our children.



Date of Meeting: Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Time: 1:00 PM to 2:30PM

Location: Virtual Meeting via Microsoft Teams

This is a meeting of the Special Commission Relative to the Seal and Motto of the Commonwealth with the purpose to investigate the features of the official seal and motto of the Commonwealth and make recommendations to ensure they reflect and embody the historic and contemporary commitments of the Commonwealth to justice, equality, and education for all. The Commission shall make recommendations for a revised or new design of the seal and motto and an educational program on the history and meaning of the seal and motto.


I.               Welcome & Call to Order

II.            Chairs’ Report

III.          Discuss Draft Final Report (votes will be needed)

  1. Recommendations concerning coat of arms and state flag
  2. Recommendations for seal design process
  3. Recommendations for the educational framework
  4. Recommendations for accompanying legislative language

IV.          Next Steps for Final Review

V.            Adjournment

Please be advised that the schedule and agenda are subject to change at the discretion of the Chairs of the Commission.

A livestream of this virtual meeting will be available to the public under the Hearings & Events section at

Requests for minutes and other questions can be directed to

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