Showing posts with label Salem. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Salem. Show all posts

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice

Good news!  Nominations are open for the Salem Award.  This is a wonderful opportunity to provide recognition for an organization or individual doing good work to promote social justice and human rights locally, nationally or internationally.

As many of you know, I am a  board member of the Salem Award Foundation, a volunteer-run organization that educates and advocates for human rights and social justice as a way of memorializing the witch hysteria of Salem, MA in 1692.  The organization also serves as a steward for the Witch Trial memorial installation, a really beautiful site that is often over-shadowed by the tourist sham-tasticness of Salem.

the memorial space

For the past twenty- four years, the Salem Award has been awarded to individuals and organizations as a way of honoring the individuals in Salem circa 1692 who spoke up and pointed out the injustices and ludicrousness associated with the witch hysteria.  The organization has also been parter of a larger, city-wide effort to make Salem a city that welcomes and includes everyone.  

Nominations are welcome from the public at large. While the award doesn't always go to a New England-based organization or institution, it usually does, as it is very important that awardees can attend the celebration/award ceremony, which often occurs in early spring. (The organization can't fly folks in from Indonesia, no matter how much we might want to!) Recipients are invited to give a talk on an issue important to their work that relates to the SAF's mission and ongoing educational initiatives.  Turnout is big - it is a great way to get exposure for good work being done. There is also a small, unrestricted cash award to help support the honoree's efforts.  You can find out more about past winners of the award here.

Most important, I can bet you anything that if you take a couple hours to fill out a nomination form for that community organization, youth advocacy group, arts and social justice weekly meet-up, school committee on inclusion or Quaker peace gathering that's been on the go for 60 years, etc. etc. etc., it will mean the world to them.  It will make them feel visible, like their work and their efforts and their ways of loving the world and attempting to make it a place that reflects their values of social justice and openness are seen, heard, valued.  

Appreciated.

In a world filled with silences when it matters to speak and efforts to create change that feel too small to make a difference, nothing could be more important.

Nominate today! Deadline is October 30th.




Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Historic Salem Re-Photography Class Photo of 2014

There  was drama from beginning to end.  Getting desks and chairs and setting them up outside Old Town Hall.  Getting  bunch of parking tickets at 8:23 a.m. (OK, I admit I am posting this in part to provide a link to it -- so I can prove to the Parking Hearing Officer that my entire class was downtown to set up this photo. I am hoping s/he will have mercy on me and my promise to protest or pay all the tickets!)  Getting wet on the rainy, slushy way to and from our site to take a photo to enter into a contest for first year seminar class pictures.  Since our class was on The City: History, Memory and Imagination, I think we did OK.







Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Salem Witch Trial Memorial - “What's This Memorial Really About?”



I was supposed to give this talk today, but it got rained out.  I may have the chance to give it again sometime soon, but I thought I'd post this here in case anyone is interested.

The Salem Witch Trial memorial was erected in 1992 to mark the tercentenary of the witch hysteria. It was designed as the first physical structure in the city of Salem to commemorate the trials and the execution of twenty innocent people suspected of witchcraft in 1692.  

What a beautiful, reflective, introspective space.  People often forget just how long the memorial was in coming to fruition.  Historic Salem, Inc. created a committee in 1963 to commemorate what they then referred to as the Witch Delusion.  The idea was that the memorial would rest on Gallows Hill, where the hangings are believed to have taken place.  At that point, the Essex Institute, now part of the Peabody Essex Museum, and the Massachusetts Society for the Preservation of American Antiquities, now Historic New England, had tossed around the idea of purchasing the Gallows Hill lot on Proctor Street.  They intended to erect a granite shaft to honor those who were executed.