Author: Allison Carter

2021 Malcolm McDowell Award Ceremony

Last month BCHRAC awarded two outstanding activists on the Cape the 2021 Malcolm McDowell Award. We are proud to recognize Morgan James Peters II (Zyg), a senior at Mashpee Middle High School, and Angelica Oshman (Alex), a junior at Sturgis Charter Public School East as the recipients of this award.
A special thank you to the Wampanoag Tribal Headquarters for hosting the Malcolm McDowell Award Ceremony. This event would not have been possible without your support!

Thank you Rev. Kate Epperly

Thank you Rev. Kate Epperly for your dedication to human rights, especially your work on the Barnstable County vaccine equity task force.

Your colleagues at the BCHRAC are all incredibly grateful for the virtual & in-person times we had together.

You will be missed by your BCHRAC family & the Cape Cod community.

We wish you the best of luck in your active retirement.

Notice Regarding Future Board Meetings

To All Town Boards, Committees and Commissions:

 

On June 16, 2021, Governor Baker signed into law Chapter 20 of the Acts of 2021 (the “Act”), which, among other things, re-instated the ability of public bodies to conduct their meetings remotely through April 1, 2022.

 

Section 20 of the Act continues the rules and requirements set forth in Governor Baker’s March 12, 2020 Executive Order which suspended certain requirements of the Open Meeting Law.   Under Section 20, public bodies may decide whether to hold their meetings remotely or in person.  However, both Town Council President Matthew Levesque and Town Manager Mark Ells strongly encourage all Town boards, committees and commissions to conduct their meetings entirely remotely in order to facilitate greater public access to those meetings.  Until such time as the Town is able to provide the necessary technological and staff support to ensure that hybrid meetings – meetings that allow both in person and remote participation – can be conducted effectively and in full compliance with the Open Meeting Law, meetings should be entirely in person or entirely remote.  The Town expects to provide further guidance on hybrid meetings on or before September 1st.

Press Release: Race Point Beach name change

For Immediate Release June 9, 2021

BARNSTABLE COUNTY
HUMAN RIGHTS ADVISORY COMMISSION

Media Contact: Susan Quinones, Barnstable County Human Rights Coordinator susan.quinones@barnstablecounty.org or (508) 375-6611

BCHRAC SUPPORTS THE WAMPANOAG ADVISORY COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION IN SUPPORT OF NAME CHANGE FOR PROVINCETOWN BEACH

The Barnstable County Human Rights Advisory Commission (BCHRAC) unanimously supported the Wampanoag Advisory Committee’s recommendation to rename Race Point in Provincetown to “Meeshaun Point.” “Race Point” refers to the outer most beach at the tip of Provincetown and Cape Cod National Seashore. The name change would increase representation of local Native people and honor the original tribal village of the region. BCHRAC acknowledges and is thankful for the contributions of the Indigenous community on Cape Cod. BCHRAC will continue to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion for Indigenous, Black, and Communities of Color in Barnstable County.

ABOUT THE BARNSTABLE COUNTY HUMAN RIGHTS ADVISORY COMMISSION: The mission of the Human Rights Advisory Commission is to promote equal opportunity for all persons of Barnstable County regardless of race, color, religious creed, national origin, gender, age, ancestry, sexual or affectional preference marital, family or military status, source of income, neighborhood or disability, where unlawful discrimination exists in housing, employment, education, public accommodations, town or county services, insurance, banking, credit and health care. Learn more at https://www.barnstablecountyhrac.org/

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Announcing the 2021 Malcolm McDowell Award Recipients

2021 Malcolm McDowell Award Recipients

June 9, 2021

The BCHRAC is pleased to announce the 2021 recipients of the Malcolm McDowell Award, who are Morgan James Peters II (Zyg), a senior at Mashpee Middle High School and Angelica Oshman (Alex), a junior at Sturgis Charter Public School East.

This award is named in honor of the late Malcolm McDowell, noted human rights activist and former member of the Barnstable County Human Rights Commission.  Successful candidates must demonstrate initiative, leadership, and dedication to improving the human rights atmosphere of Barnstable County and the wider world. This award is open to applicant students who have attended the HRA, either through participation with their school’s HRA Club or directly, including students who are home schooled.

 Zyg’s interest in human rights was sparked when he was exposed to racist rhetoric and discrimination, as a child. His early expression focused on the sovereignty of his tribe, the Wampanoag Tribe, and on the issues of police violence against black and brown people. An accomplished musician, Zyg formed a project called the K-3-0 Collective, a youth hip-hop organization of black and brown artists supporting the development and presentation of their music, art, film, video, dance, and/or theater projects.  Zyg plans on attending Goddard College in the fall.

“His dedication as a musician has not only enriched the lives of a very diverse group of citizens and students, but also has served awareness on key social justice issues facing our society,” offered Celeste Reynolds, an AP educator at Zyg’s school. “Morgan just wants to see the world as a better place!”

For Angelica Oshman, human rights issues are second nature. As a second-grader, Alex raised funds for the crisis in Haiti. In 6th grade, she campaigned to ban plastic bags nationally. As is a member of the Sturgis East Human Rights Club and is the student representative to the Town of Falmouth’s Affirmative Action/Diversity Committee. Last fall, Alex gave an impressive presentation on the history of women’s voting rights at the BCHRAC sponsored Human Rights Academy.   Alex says “Human rights is something embedded in my way of life.  Everywhere I go, anything I do, I look for the most inclusive outcome of my interactions”.

Alex’s advisor, Eric Porteus, agrees with the assessment when he opined that,” Alex Oshman is a student who exemplifies the McDowell Award. Alex’s commitment to universal human rights is evident in everything Alex does. From a commitment to an in-depth understanding of the challenges facing people from all different creeds to understanding the complexities and challenges of navigating the modern world, Alex could not be more deserving of this award”.

In announcing the winners of the award, Susan Quinones, BCHRAC Coordinator, said, “We are so proud of Morgan Peters II and Angelica Oshman for their dedication to the ideals embodied in the Human Rights framework. As representatives of Barnstable County and of their generation, they give us hope for a world where human dignity and equality can flourish.”

Congratulations to the newest Commonwealth Heroine, Vaira Harik

The Human Rights Advisory Commission sends its warmest congratulations to the newest Commonwealth Heroine, Vaira Harik, named by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women for her extraordinary work during the COVID-19 pandemic,

MCSW will be host the 18th Commonwealth Heroines class of 2021 in a streaming celebration “live” on their Facebook page noon on Wednesday, June 23, 2021.

Read the Full Article Here

5/10: Barnstable County Human Rights Advisory Commission + the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division Webinar

 

For Immediate Release 

 

Barnstable County Human Rights Advisory Commission Announces 
Office of Massachusetts Attorney General Presentation: 
“Know your Civil Rights” and “What is a Hate Crime”               

April 27, 2021 (Barnstable, MA) - The Attorney General’s Civic Engagement Office, in collaboration with the Barnstable County Human Rights Advisory Commission (BCRAC), will present a webinar on civil rights and hate crimes during its monthly board meeting on May 10, 2021.  Amanda Hainsworth, Assistant Attorney General in the AG’s Civil Rights Division, will discuss the civil rights of people under state and federal laws.   

The webinar will focus on the basics of Massachusetts anti-discrimination law in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other contexts. The presentation will also include an overview of hate crimes. There will be an opportunity to ask general questions about civil rights and civil liberties. The speaker will not address specific legal questions or give legal advice on incidents or personal scenarios.  

The virtual event (on Zoom) is open to the public but does require registration. Register in advance for this meeting: https://umass-amherst.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIrf-qurDMjEtLVfJWTk99TvER9HwXXWVUs 

The public is encouraged to stay for the entire board meeting, including an overview of the BCHRAC Complaint/Referral/Incident reporting process, a student presentation from the Human Rights Academy, and the Coordinator’s Report of current activities.   

The May agenda and related meeting documents will be posted by May 4, 2021, on the website: https://www.barnstablecountyhrac.org/. 

ABOUT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE: The Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division enforces and protects the rights of all people in Massachusetts. The Civil Rights Division fights discrimination works to ensure all people are given an equal opportunity to participate in civic society and protects individual rights of free speech and privacy. 

ABOUT THE BARNSTABLE COUNTY HUMAN RIGHTS ADVISORY COMMISSION: The mission of the Human Rights Advisory Commission is to promote equal opportunity for all persons of Barnstable County regardless of race, color, religious creed, national origin, gender, age, ancestry, sexual or affectional preference marital, family or military status, source of income, neighborhood or disability, where unlawful discrimination exists in housing, employment, education, public accommodations, town or county services, insurance, banking, credit, and health care. Learn more at https://www.barnstablecountyhrac.org/ 

Media Contact:  Susan Quinones, Barnstable County Human Rights Coordinator susan.quinones@barnstablecounty.org  or (508) 375-6611 

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World Autism Awareness Day

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and heightened glaring inequalities around the world, especially when it comes to income and wealth distribution, access to health care, protection under the law, and political inclusion. Persons with autism have long faced many of these inequalities, which have only been further exacerbated by the pandemic. It’s a problem made worse by long  recognized discriminatory hiring practices and workplace environments that present major obstacles for persons with autism; all of which contribute to the unemployment or severe underemployment of a large majority of adults on the autism spectrum.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world leaders at the United Nations in 2015 provide a blueprint for addressing the major challenges facing the world, including strategies for reducing inequalities that hinder prosperity for people and the planet. One of the aims of Sustainable Development Goal 8 (SDG 8) – Decent Work and Economic Growth – is to promote full and productive employment and decent work for all, including persons with disabilities. Article 27 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities also recognizes “the right of persons with disabilities to work, on an equal basis with others,” and to a “work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities.”

Some employers have recently launched inclusive employment programmes, which  accommodate people with diagnoses of autism and related conditions, such as ADHD, OCD, etc., often referred to as neurodivergent persons. Based on the experience gained from these programmes, and motivated by the desire to both be socially responsible and to gain a competitive advantage by benefitting from the skills and abilities of a more diverse talent pool, an increasing number of employers are now creating  models to make the workplace and hiring practices more inclusive generally.

The pandemic has undoubtedly impacted the efforts of companies to implement these new models, at a time when the international economy is undergoing the worst economic recession since the great depression, with the loss of hundreds of millions of jobs. At the same time, new ways of working, including remote working and the use of new technologies, have created opportunities for employees on the autism spectrum that previously found it difficult to thrive in traditional workplace environments.

The 2021 World Autism Awareness Day observance will address these issues through a virtual event that will include moderated panel discussions with individuals on the autism spectrum who have themselves experienced the challenges and seen these new opportunities in the employment market.”

More Information From the United Nations on World Autism Awareness Day

BCHRAC Condemns Violence Against AAPI Community

The Barnstable County Human Rights Advisory Commission (BCHRAC) joins community organizations here on Cape Cod and across the nation in condemning violence against the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. The recent violence in Georgia targeted Asian-owned businesses and lead to the death of eight people, six of whom were women of Asian descent. These acts of hate and violence must be denounced and condemned, especially when used to create an atmosphere of fear in others, based on race, color, religious creed, gender, national origin, or orientation. BCHRAC acknowledges and is thankful for the contributions of the AAPI community here on Cape Cod. BCHRAC will continue to work to promote and protect the human rights of all persons in Barnstable County.