The Marblehead Task Force Against Discrimination convened virtually to discuss current events. With Pride Month and Juneteenth respectively ongoing and upcoming, the group had plenty to go over.
Co-Chair Helaine Hazlett moderated the meeting on June 1 as she got status reports from her fellow members.
Member Candice Sliney first clarified what Team Harmony is after other members were curious about how exactly it operated.
“Team Harmony is an addendum, it’s a way for us to show a presence in the school,” Sliney explained. “It’s a group of students and peer leaders trained by the Anti-Defamation League who are going into classrooms where we’re welcomed to show we’re young people who want to promote inclusion.”
This year, Team Harmony presented to third-grade classes at Brown and Glover Schools, as well as Marblehead High School freshmen.
Sliney expressed her desire to have the Anti-Defamation League training as part of the school budget, but the group lamented that is unlikely to happen soon.
Next, the task force discussed the plans for the upcoming Juneteenth gathering on June 14 at 4:30 pm. The hour-long event at Abbot Hall is put together as a joint effort with the North Shore Juneteenth Association. Group members said it important to be present to promote their work and to show their support for the holiday. Select Board member Jackie Belf-Becker will attend to read a proclamation, similar to in years past.
One major expense is covered for both Juneteenth and Pride events, as the Marblehead School of Music donated a sound system for the task force to use.
Reece Dahlberg expressed how the Pride flag-raising ceremony was financed heavily by donors and supporters. The Task Force also has a role in the upcoming Festival of Arts through the “orb painting” event, which members recently crafted their orb’s design for. Member Chris Bruell explained how partaking in this event will create more awareness.
“The orb itself puts forward the group,” Bruell said. “The idea was to strike up conversations related to the groups themselves based on finding the orbs.”
Bruell filed a motion for Hazlett to ask the Select Board to recognize National Hispanic Heritage Month beginning on September 15. After missing out this year, new member Kim Gubelman expressed her interest in heading events for Asian Heritage Month next May.
Hazlett expressed a need to plan a fundraising event so the task force can be ready to financially sponsor its planned events. Bruell suggested a modern way the task force can make the donation process easy for supporters.
“It is 2023, so if we printed a QR code and put a thing out at events then people can Venmo money straight from that,” Bruell said. “Once it’s set up we can do it anywhere.”
Dahlberg opted to research whether fundraising through Venmo would be viable. If so, she said she will try to have it ready as soon as possible.
Marblehead Racial Justice Team members Lou Meyi and Jay Morrison were present at the meeting, serving as liaisons between their team and the task force. Morrison broke down the upcoming Conversations on Race program called “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” on June 26.
“We’re going to ask some of the founding people and continuing leaders of the program to talk about what it’s been like for them to engage in the cause of racism in Marblehead,” Morrison said. “But also, are things changing in Marblehead and can we imagine more change in the future? If we can imagine it, how can we make it happen?”
Meyi assured the task force his group will be involved in the Juneteenth event, as well as others that are on the horizon.
The task force usually meets once during the summer toward the end of August, but Bruell proposed that a July gathering would make it easier to prepare for the fall.