Monday shorts: Pride, poetry and a publication

  • The poem “Magpie Haiku x 2 Inverted” hangs in the window of Magpie as part of the Food Poetry Walk in collaboration between the Greenfield Public Library and The Literacy Project in downtown Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Published: 6/24/2019 7:37:04 PM

Here are brief thoughts on some of the events taking place around Franklin County and the North Quabbin area.

Taking Pride

The Stonewall riots in New York City happened 50 years ago — spurring what has been called the gay liberation movement.

Participants in the recent Franklin County Pride noted the significance of the riots — a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community against a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village — and celebrated pride in who they are via a parade, rally, speeches, music and much more.

Yes, strides have been made to ensure equality and acceptance, but as many have said, there is still work to be done to overcome discrimination and violence.

Let’s not forget that.

Unsung Heroines

Two women from Franklin County — Mary McClintock of Conway and Joannah Whitney of Greenfield — have been honored as Unsung Heroines for what they do for the community.

Both were named members of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women’s 2019 class of Unsung Heroines. They and other recent inductees were honored at a ceremony held last week at the State House.

McClintock, who was nominated by state Rep. Natalie Blais, D-Sunderland, has a long list of accomplishments include founding Greenfield’s Free Harvest Supper and co-organizing the January 2017 Greenfield Women’s Rally that drew 2,500 people to the Greenfield Common.

“Mary excels at bringing people together for the greater good of our communities,” Blais said.

Whitney was nominated by Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, who commended “her deep and abiding advocacy focused on disability rights, health care access and equity.” She is inspired by her own experiences as a person living with multiple sclerosis.

We suspect McClintock and Whitney aren’t doing any of their community work for the recognition, which makes it extra special they were honored this way. Congratulations to both.

Poets among us

Here’s another reason to walk around downtown: poetry.

The Literacy Project and Greenfield Public Library sponsored their first Poetry Walk, in which students displayed creative writing on the windows of downtown businesses. And because the theme is food, the poems appeared on a number of food-oriented businesses such as Hope & Olive, Mesa Verde and more.

The students visited the businesses and came back inspired to write their own — some for the very first time — or found poems they wanted to share.

The Literacy Project helps students prepare to take the high school equivalency test and hopefully continue their education. Classes are free.

Judith Roberts, The Literacy Project’s executive director, said, “This is a sort of awakening for them. And to have their work for all to see is just wonderful.”

Thanks, poets, for the inspiration.

Local news

For 40 years, volunteers in Heath have been reporting on what’s happening within their town’s borders through The Heath Herald.

Margaret Howland, 92, its editor for 20 years, says the original group of six tossed around ideas on how to share really local news and in the process, bring the town together.

The issues come out every other month, so there likely won’t be any fast-breaking news on its pages. But they contain the news townspeople, or Heathans as they call themselves, can use about their community.

Harriet Read offered this intro in the paper’s first edition: the paper would serve as a non-partisan, one-stop source of community news for Heathans.

And The Heath Herald has kept up with the times with online subscriptions:

Kudos to The Heath Herald for its longevity, and to the Heathans for keeping up with the news.

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