Author: Allison Carter

Press Release: Race Point Beach name change

For Immediate Release June 9, 2021


Media Contact: Susan Quinones, Barnstable County Human Rights Coordinator or (508) 375-6611


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


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: 

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: 

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 

Media Contact:  Susan Quinones, Barnstable County Human Rights Coordinator  or (508) 375-6611 





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.

Learn About The Common Start Legislation

“The Common Start legislation, HD.1960 (filed by Representatives Gordon & Madaro) & SD.1307 (filed by Senators Lewis & Moran), would establish a universal system of affordable, high-quality early education and child care for all Massachusetts families, over a 5-year timeline. This universal system would cover early education and care for children from birth through age 5, as well as after- and out-of-school time for children ages 5-12, and for children with special needs through age 15.

Programs would be available in early education and child care centers, private homes, and schools – the same settings where early education and child care is provided now. The bill provides a framework to increase the scope of public investment in early education and child care with an incremental roll-out over 5 years that prioritizes the lowest-income, highest-need families.

The Common Start legislation would dramatically increase the affordability and quality of early education and child care for all Massachusetts families. The bill’s framework uses a combination of direct-to-provider funding and ongoing family financial assistance to reduce costs to families while compensating providers for the true cost of providing quality care.”

More Information On The Common Start Legislation

Common Start Virtual Rally on 3/16

“Come hear about how this will help children, families, early educators, providers, businesses, and the economy; straight from the stakeholders and legislative leaders! And, learn more about how YOU can help put Massachusetts on a five-year pathway to universal, high-quality early education and care.

RSVP today at this link and make sure to share this with your friends and family! Together, we can ensure that all families have the care solutions they need and that all children in the Commonwealth have the same, strong start.”

More Details on Common Start’s Virtual Event

International Women’s Day 2021

“There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise.”

-W.E.B. Du Bois

Every day is a day to celebrate female leaders who have paved the way to where we are today. Glass ceilings have been shattered and will continue to be in the future. This would not be possible without all of the grandmothers, mothers, aunts, daughters, sisters, and friends who continue to fight for equality across the world. Thank you for all of your tireless work, it does not go unnoticed!

International Mother Language Day 2021

“Safeguarding Linguistic Diversity 

Languages, with their complex implications for identity, communication, social integration, education and development, are of strategic importance for people and planet. Yet, due to globalization processes, they are increasingly under threat, or disappearing altogether. When languages fade, so does the world’s rich tapestry of cultural diversity. Opportunities, traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking and expression — valuable resources for ensuring a better future — are also lost. 

At least 43% of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are endangered. Only a few hundred languages have genuinely been given a place in education systems and the public domain, and less than a hundred are used in the digital world. 

International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. 

Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue. 

Every two weeks a language disappears taking with it an entire cultural and intellectual heritage. 

Linguistic diversity is increasingly threatened as more and more languages disappear. Globally 40 per cent of the population does not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand. Nevertheless, progress is being made in mother tongue-based multilingual education with growing understanding of its importance, particularly in early schooling, and more commitment to its development in public life. 

Multilingual and multicultural societies exist through their languages which transmit and preserve traditional knowledge and cultures in a sustainable way.” 

Learn More About International Mother Language Day From The UN