Arts

Green Thumbs in Malden: How Does Your Garden Grow?

By Martha Bezzat Bonnie Blanchard contributed to this story. Behind every cucumber is a vine, and behind every vine is a gardener. Here are stories of Malden gardeners and why they love the green. Some of our interviewees asked that only their first name be used. Peggy Mixes Flowers and Veggies for Her “Quiet Place” Walking through Peggy’s vegetable garden in Ward 4 brought on salad cravings. Cucumbers vines wrapped around trellises, and green tomatoes seemed to watch as you walked among them. Peggy started gardening 34 years ago and grows her vegetable and flower gardens in her front yard, so they often invite neighborly chats which lead to her sharing her vegetables. Her garden is “her quiet place.”   She grows juliet tomatoes, romas, zucchini, summer squash, hot peppers, carrots, cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, early girl tomatoes, basil, cilantro, parsley, romaine lettuce, banana peppers, spinach, swiss chard, kale, green beans, black beauty eggplants, and Japanese eggplants. She bought raised beds for her vegetable garden from Costco, as well as other gardening supplies, like soil and fertilizer.  Peggy rotates her crops […]

Featured

Malden Muslims experience their second Ramadan during a pandemic

By Martha Bezzat During last year’s Ramadan, mosques were closed due to pandemic, but Malden resident Fatima Chibane said that difficult period was a reminder that we should not take all that we have for granted.  “Last year was the first time we were all forced to observe Ramadan in solitude,” she said. “It gave us the opportunity to only focus on the worship of Allah and our connection with Him without any distraction.”  Still, she is pleased that mosques are open for this year’s Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting which began this year on April 13 and goes to May 12.  “We are trying to stay connected and be there for each other especially during Ramadan, which is really heartwarming to see,” she said.   “Tarawih [evening community prayers] is one of my, and many Muslims, favorite parts of Ramadan,” she said. “It helps us feel spiritually uplifted. At least we can join others. at the mosque respecting social distancing.” One local mosque for Malden Muslims of diverse backgrounds, including Moroccans, Algerians, Syrians, Palestinians, […]

Featured

Malden Neighbors Are Helping Neighbors to Get Through the Pandemic

By Martha Bezzat Since launching in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, Malden Neighbors Helping Neighbors (MNHN) continues to make a profound impact on Malden households by connecting those in need with resources.  Formed by Malden resident Meera Krishnan — inspired by her own sister’s Newton Facebook group — her husband, AJ Kumar, and James Meickle, leader of a neighborhood mutual aid group, MNHN has blossomed from a tight knit group of “lead organizers” who interface with local and state agencies and officials to navigate larger issues. It now includes a network of “neighborhood point persons” who daily process requests through the organization’s website and Facebook page.  To date, the all-volunteer organization has helped more than 600 households with such tasks as food delivery, housing/financial assistance (through referrals to ABCD, Housing Families, CityLife, and others), and prescription pick-up. Volunteers have also managed yardwork, furniture moves, and assisting with baby equipment. Lead organizers and neighborhood point people, working from their computers, coordinate delivery volunteers (delivering weekly to now 80 households), check-in-callers, generous donors, […]

Education

Confronting the anti-Asian backlash in the wake of the pandemic

By Martha Bezzat Anti-Asian racism has been on the rise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, something that Dr. Jean Yu-wen Wu, a Tufts University professor and diversity leader, calls “a kind of terrorism.” “It’s about controlling us, telling us we’re not wanted, telling us we don’t belong,” said Dr. Wu during a virtual town hall meeting May 14 sponsored by the Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition (GMAACC), an organization launched by Malden residents to dismantle historical bias and racism against Asians and Asian Americans. More than 250 people attended the meeting to hear three specialists and a college student speak about their experiences.    Dr. Wu called the current anti-Asian bias a “virulent strand” of racism in the United States. She said that while the pandemic didn’t create this racism, it revealed a racism “that’s been deeply embedded in U.S. history and U.S. nation-building.”  “It’s important to speak up about racist incidents to increase awareness because the history of Asians in the U.S. is not taught, and so newcomers in the community may not […]