Education

Uncomfortable Conversations: Staff and board at UMA take on race and social justice through internal dialogue

By Saliha Bayrak As the nation rose to voice their indignation and call for an end to racial injustice following the murder of George Floyd, Urban Media Arts (UMA), joined thousands of organizations across the country and made a statement of solidarity to champion the Black Lives Matter movement. The staff at UMA (formerly MATV) did not want this statement to be a momentary and hollow expression of support without any actions to succeed it. In the months that followed, staff members began to have periodic meetings and discussions to address issues of race, injustice, and inclusivity, guided by the belief that every course of action begins with a conversation. Terlonzo Amos, the Director of Operations at UMA, believes there is an urgency to have these conversations now due to the recent blatantly unjust events that occurred throughout the nation. “These problems have always been in the Black and brown community…since 1619,” said Amos. “For those that may not have believed that these things were happening…a light was shown on it.” Amos often leads these […]

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Boda Borg’s Closure Creates Repercussions for Malden’s Economy and Morale

“A lot of them (Boda Borg’s customers) are going into Malden restaurants and buying stuff in Malden Square.” Senator Ed markey By Anne Bennett Soon after COVID-19 began to spread, the “questing” center Boda Borg, one of Malden’s premiere destinations, was forced to shut down. Boda Borg, where almost 200,000 annual visitors use their wits to solve puzzles and escape routes, has been out of service since March 2020, with the exception of three weeks in October. Chad Ellis, one of the owners of Malden’s branch of Boda Borg, said the operation “is just totally dependent on the physical space we are in.” The staff has no choice but to “hunker down” until the next stage of reopening in Massachusetts, Ellis said. Boda Borg is an international franchise; the only U.S. location is in Malden. While the closure has been hard on Ellis and his staff, it has also created ripples in other local businesses by reducing their customers. Kevin Duffy, the Strategy and Business Development Officer for the City of Malden, believes that fewer people coming into […]

Education

Confronting Slavery: Local NAACP highlights the push for reparations

By Elizabeth Scorsello Growing up, Schiffon Wong listened to her grandmother talk about reparations for the country’s Black citizens. The family had been sharecroppers and her grandfather’s parents were enslaved, and they could barely make a living. “She used to say we never got our reparations and it always stuck with me,” Wong said.  Today, Wong heads the newly formed Reparations Committee of the Mystic Valley Branch of the NAACP, which seeks to provide the larger community with a better understanding of the issue of reparations.  The committee has launched a drive to send copies of the  book From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century, by William A. Darity, Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen to every member of the U.S. Congress to keep the subject of reparations in the public discourse. “It is our hope by sending this really important book to our congress it would give us the opportunity to educate them and engage them,” Wong said. “We want all of us to have a shared understanding anchored in […]

the Mayor and the councilman hold Trevor Noah's book, Born a Crime, in front of City Hall.
Arts

Malden Reads Launches New Season with Procession to City Hall

“It made the most sense at a time when we needed the humor and a need for us to learn about each other’s history.” Erga Pierrette By Annie Bennett Malden Reads hosted a COVID-conscious launch on Tuesday, January 26, with a car procession starting from the Malden Public Library on Salem Street, past UMA – Urban Media Arts (formerly MATV) on Pleasant Street, and ending at Malden’s new City Hall.  The procession symbolically linked the two anchor institutions (the library and UMA) that help coordinate the volunteer-run “One City, One Book” program, which first launched in 2011. According to the group’s website, the mission of Malden Reads is “to promote literacy and a love of reading, and to build community in the city of Malden.” It is known in the community for its unifying effect. This season, participants will be reading Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, a response to the fervent cries for racial justice across the world over the past year. Noah is a Black comedian and a South African native, most well-known […]

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Addiction Epidemic Inside the Pandemic: The story from Malden

By Will Sullivan Paul Hammersley, an Addiction Recovery Resource Specialist in Malden’s Health Department, says he sometimes feels as if he’s “working a pandemic during a pandemic.” As a result of economic and emotional stressors exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are dying from drug overdoses nationwide. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that the country was on pace for more than 80,000 drug-overdose deaths in 2020, more than any other year. The majority of these deaths will have been caused by opioids, a class of drugs that includes prescription medications like oxycodone (Oxycontin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin), as well as fentanyl and heroin.  According to Hammersley, after only three people died from an overdose in Malden in 2019, that number jumped to 13 in 2020, with five of those deaths occurring in the second half of December. Nearly all overdoses in Malden are caused by opioids. Hammersley said the extended quarantine required to halt the spread of COVID-19 is the primary reason why there’s been an increase in substance use, relapses, and overdoses during the pandemic. […]

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Linda Mazonson Zalk: Places we’ll remember all our lives

In May 2020, Malden Reads planned to host the Malden Mass. Memories Road Show (MMRS), a statewide, event-based participatory archiving program that documents people, places, and events in Massachusetts history through family photographs and stories stored in a digital archive at openarchives.umb.edu.  Due to the pandemic, the in-person event could not be held. This summer the MMRS team invited anyone with a connection to Malden to contribute photographs and stories online as part of the Malden Mass. Memories Stuck-at-Home Show. Through January 2021, you can take part in the online version and submit your own photos via this link. This is the fourth profile in the series.  By Marielle A. Gutierrez The physical places in Malden hold so many memories to its residents. However, over time, hometowns evolve—places that Maldonians frequented as a child or as a young adult are no longer there. There is no longer a physical place to attach a memory to. It is important to remember and record what is gone, or else an important piece of history is lost. Linda Zalk (formerly Linda Mazonson) may know this […]

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Malden Memory Makers: Neal Anderson makes politics a family affair

In May 2020, Malden Reads planned to host the Malden Mass. Memories Road Show (MMRS), a statewide, event-based participatory archiving program that documents people, places, and events in Massachusetts history through family photographs and stories stored in a digital archive at openarchives.umb.edu.  Due to the pandemic, the in-person event could not be held. This summer the MMRS team invited anyone with a connection to Malden to contribute photographs and stories online as part of the Malden Mass. Memories Stuck-at-Home Show. Till January 7, you can take part in the online version and submit your own photos via this link. This is the fourth profile in the series.  “Nothing can stop the power of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society.” –John Lewis, congressman and civil rights icon  By Marielle A. Gutierrez The words of the late Rep. John Lewis aptly describe City Councilor Neal Anderson’s motivation for entering a life of public service and his dedication to serving the city of Malden. Anderson has served as Ward 7 City Councilor for  a total of 26 […]

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Malden Memory Makers: Ron Cox stands up for history from a young age

In May 2020, Malden Reads planned to host the Malden Mass. Memories Road Show (MMRS), a statewide, event-based participatory archiving program that documents people, places, and events in Massachusetts history through family photographs and stories stored in a digital archive.  Due to the pandemic, the in-person event could not be held and so, this summer, the MMRS team invited anyone with a Malden connection to contribute photographs and stories online as part of the Malden Mass. Memories Stuck-at-Home Show. Through December, you can take part in the online version and submit your own photos via this link. The following is part of a series of participant profiles for the Malden Mass. Memories Stuck-at-Home Show for Neighborhood View. This is the second profile in the series.   By Marielle A. Gutierrez If you are reading Neighborhood View, you may already know the name of Ron Cox.  Cox has been a long affiliate of UMA, formerly MATV, starting as a volunteer in 1989. In 2006, he became the organization’s Executive Director in 2006, a title he holds to this day. As […]

Arts

Green Man puts down roots in Cedar Park: Artist Lisa Tiemann spearheads community mosaic mural

“He runs through the forest; breathing life into all that he can Whispering to the trees, he’s known as the Green Man. Passing on his vibrant energy, to all living things, green”-The Green Man, By Joanne Kavanagh By Amanda Hurley Thirty-five artists, many from the Malden-Melrose area, have come together to create a mosaic that celebrates our connection to the natural world. Spearheaded by Melrose artist Lisa Tiemann, the 5-foot by 5-foot mosaic, featuring the mythical Green Man, will be installed at Cedar Park in Melrose; the mosaic itself is a donation from the artists, while the wall and installation will be made possible through grants and private donors. “Green Man is largely taken to represent the human being as one with nature,” says Tiemann, noting that his face is often depicted as being “part plant, part animal.” So, she believes, it was the perfect choice for a nature-themed community project, which started two years ago as a 70th birthday present to herself. Green Man, whose eyes peer out among colorful vegetation, will watch over all […]

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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, […]