Protests in Ferguson, Baltimore and the University of Missouri have brought home the reality that racial issues continue to plague our country. The issue has literally been brought home over the posting of a “Black Lives Matter” sign outside a home in Concord. The subsequent on-line dialogue has been, at times, contentious, but public support for the Cole family has been heartening. The lack of racial diversity has long been evident in Concord, and many townspeople see this as one of the glaring weaknesses of our community. So how do we make our community more welcoming to people of color?
The Concord-Carlisle Human Rights Council (CCHRC) was established over 35 years ago in part to help address this issue following a racial incident at the high school.
T he history of the African-American community in Concord is long and varied. Our friends at The Robbins House highlight this history and celebrate the contributions of Concordians of African-American descent. Located directly across from the North Bridge, where the patriarch of the family, Caesar Robbins, most likely fought in 1775, The Robbins House welcomes visitors to learn about the legacy of slavery in Concord and the subsequent, on-going efforts to make this community more welcoming to people of all backgrounds.
The CCHRC holds a meeting once a month to discuss human rights in our community. We stand ready to assist those who need an advocate or wish to highlight unfair practices. The CCHRC also presents three events a year to illustrate several different facets of human rights: the Human Rights Day Breakfast in December, The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration in January, and the Annual Holocaust Memorial Observance held in April. All of these events are open to the public and are designed to remember the past while remaining attentive to the challenges of human rights we face today.
We hope to see you all at our Human Rights Breakfast on December 7th. The featured speaker, John Sharon, is a national advocate for people with disabilities, but his message extends to all who strive for equal rights for all.
Ronni Olitsky and Rob Morrison