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.
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.