Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15 – October 15

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. It’s a time to deepen our attention to the histories, experiences, and contributions of Hispanic American peoples including Latinx communities.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.


Early Voting Support for Persons with Disabilities

Both federal law and state requirements mandate that voting systems be equipped for voters with disabilities allowing such voters to have the same opportunity to vote privately and independently. It is required that every precinct must have at least one accessible voting machine available.

There is at least one accessible marking unit in every polling place in Massachusetts. The AutoMARK Voter Assist Terminals are marking devices that use audio cue capacity for visually impaired voters. The AutoMark also has a feature that will greatly magnify the ballot or display the ballot high-contrast for voters that have limited visual impairment. The AutoMark can also produce an oral report to the voter as the choices selected prior to the voter printing the ballot.

For more information on the AutoMARK Voter Assist Terminal, please visit AutoMARK Video.

Please go to this link for more information https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/eleaccessible/accessibleidx.htm

Barnstable County Human Rights Advisory Commission Announces Winner of Malcolm McDowell Award

Amanda DaCruz, graduating senior from Sturgis Charter Public School (East), has been named as the recipient of the Annual Malcolm McDowell Award 2020.

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


(Barnstable, MA – May 8, 2020) – The Barnstable County Human Rights Advisory Commission (HRAC) has named Amanda DaCruz, a graduating senior from Sturgis Charter Public School (East), as the recipient of the Annual Malcolm McDowell Award.  The award, named after human rights activist and former BCHRAC member Malcolm McDowell, comes with a $500 gift certificate.

Amanda DaCruz was selected as the recipient of the 2020 award because of her demonstrated leadership, initiative, and dedication to improving the human rights in Barnstable County.  Amanda will be attending Roger Williams University in Rhode Island this fall, where she plans on combining her interests in math, art, and physics to pursue a career in architecture.

Kathleen McDowell, widow of Malcolm McDowell, said, “Congratulations Amanda.  I am truly impressed and excited to hear about your involvement with the Human Rights Academy.  I wish you every success at Roger Williams University and have no doubt that you will continue to be an advocate, activist, and a leader in your community.

Mark Aldo, advisor of the East Sturgis Human Rights Club, said, “Amanda’s passion and dedication to human rights are unparalleled. I have not seen a student so dedicated to human rights in my years at Sturgis. Amanda’s empathy is beyond her years. When you couple this with her passion, dedication, and strong communication skills, you get a true community leader.”

In announcing the award, Alan Milsted, Chair of the HRAC said, “We congratulate Amanda DaCruz as the recipient of this year’s Malcolm McDowell Award! She is young black woman, whose passion, commitment, courage, and leadership in the Sturgis Charter Public School community has challenged her peers and the school’s leadership to understand and respond positively to a range of human rights issues. Amanda is the latest young person whose contributions to the BCHRAC’s Human Rights Academy have been recognized as exceptional.  We wish her well and look forward to hearing of her future accomplishments.”

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/










Human Rights Advisory Commission 7th Annual International Women’s Day Breakfast

March 4, 2020 – The Cape Women’s Coalition held its Seventh Annual International Women’s Day breakfast today.  Approximately 200 women gathered to hear inspirational words from the Keynote Speaker, Sara Gould, past president and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women.

Keynote Speaker Sarah Gould presents ‘It’s All About the Vote”. Sara currently works as a consultant and advisor to non-profit social justice organizations and leaders across the country. She recently co-founded and co-directed the Steinem Initiative at Smith College, a pilot program experimenting with the use of women’s and gender history as an organizing tool to strengthen today’s social justice movements.

Ms. Gould gave an overview of the stride’s women had made over the past 100 years, since the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.  This was followed by three local speakers, Suzanne Brock, Co-Chair of the League of Women Voters Cape Cod area; Britt Beedenbender, Town Councilor for the Town of Barnstable; and Hilda Haye, member of the Town of Barnstable Housing Committee.  All speakers described the increased role that each was engaged in to advance female empowerment.  Before exiting the breakfast, attendees where challenged to consider what additional roles take on during this important national election season.

From left: Britt Beedenbender, Town Councilor for the Town of Barnstable, Keynote Speaker Sarah Gould, Suzanne Brock, Co-Chair of the League for Women Voters, and Hilda Haye, Member of Housing Committee at Town of Barnstable adn Cape Women’s Coalition.


Calling all Men to Help End Violence Against Women

Annual Cape Cod White Ribbon Day Calls for Action Against Domestic Violence

From this day forward, I promise to be a part of the solution in ending violence against women.

The 8th annual Cape Cod White Ribbon Day will take place on March 5th, serving as a call for men and boys to take action against domestic violence.

Independence House, Yarmouth Police and the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office are collaborating on the annual event at Cape Cod Community College where men will pledge not to commit violence against women and children.

Men of all ages are encouraged to attend the event which creates awareness among the males in our community about the issue of men’s violence against women and gender based violence, along with taking action to be part of the solution.

Members of the Cape Cod Community College police department and the Yarmouth, Barnstable and other Cape Cod police departments will be taking part.

The event is part of the 13th annual Statewide Commonwealth of Massachusetts White Ribbon Day.

WHEN: March 5, 2020 t from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM at Cape Cod Community College cafeteria. The public is invited, there is no charge.

Appearances by:

Yarmouth Chief of Police Frank Frederickson

Independence House Executive Director Lysetta Hurge-Putnam

Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe

Barnstable Chief of Police Matthew Sonnabend

Cape & Islands Assistant District Attorney Michael Patterson

State Representative Timothy Whelan

State Representative Will Crocker

Breakout Session (Light Lunch provided)