Education

Indigenous wisdom, poetry and history guide community event at Malden River

By Anne D’Urso-Rose I know that our ancestors are really happy for the work that we’re doing. It’s been a 400-year fracture – with colonization and assimilation – and it’s really going to take all of us to come together, in ways like this, to bring balance back to the land and to the water. Andre StrongBearHeart Gaines, Jr. – Malden, MA, 9-24-22 As the country recognizes indigenous Peoples Month this November, Neighborhood View reflects on a recent community event that embodied the spirit of remembering, understanding and connecting with Native people, history and culture. “Words on the Water” (morning) and “Project Misik” (afternoon) was a combined day-long event on Sept. 24 in a spot along the banks of the Malden River that is generally hidden from public view. In that space, more than 200 residents, a sampling of Malden’s diverse community, gathered over the course of the day to take part in an Indigenous blessing ceremony, paddle canoes on the waterway, share a meal of Haitian food from “The Island” restaurant, and learn how […]

Arts

Cartoonist Keith Knight reflects on growing up in Malden, education, race and the value of art

Keith Knight, a Malden native, infuses his work with humor, creativity and social activism. His nationally syndicated cartoon series (K Chronicles, DAILY, and (th)ink) have won awards and inspired the live-action comedy series “Woke” on Hulu. Loosely based on some of his real life events, Knight co-created the show with Marshall Todd and drew the animation that opens the show. Knight went to high school in Malden, lived for a while in California’s Bay area (where the “Woke” series is based), later moved to Los Angeles and now lives with his wife and two children in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Knight returned to the Boston area last May to give the commencement address at Salem State University, his alma mater. On May 22, he attended the unveiling of the mural he created for the Malden Arts mural series along the Northern Strand Bike Trail near the Breakfast Club (formerly Doo Wop) Diner. The mural is a Malden-centric take on his popular comic series “Life’s Little Victories.” Neighborhood View caught up with Knight by Zoom to […]

Arts

ChronoSquad Malden: Exploring History and Identity through Virtual Worlds

By Amanda De Rosa In a cross between Pokémon Go” and a historical tour, a new gaming app lets users both young and old visually travel back in time in Malden to experience the city’s colorful past. ChronoSquad: Malden – a free gaming app available to download via Google Play and Apple Apps stores – follows four detectives, Tam, Su, Francis, and Max, who discover a magic camera that can see through time, called the Chronoscope. The app transforms the user’s mobile phone camera into the Chronoscope, and the app’s integrated map and clues from the ChronoSquad help players discover various portals throughout Malden. When these locations are discovered, the Chronoscope reveals hidden histories using augmented reality. This local history scavenger hunt features five different episodes of play, each focusing on different areas of Malden, and reveals historical stories of immigration, abolition, suffrage, and labor. Celia Pearce, the creative director of the ChronoSquad: Malden, is a game developer and professor of game design at Northeastern University. She and a team of her students worked to […]

Education

Malden students walk out amid faculty changes, cite communication problems

By Taylor Lee Earlier this month, hundreds of Malden High School students walked out of classes midday to protest layoffs in the Malden public schools. The next day they held a vigil in downtown Malden attended by Malden residents and faculty. Protestors were concerned that 105 education faculty members did not have their contracts renewed.  “I will continue to march and protest in honor of this,” said Juliana Davidson, a senior at Malden High School. “I will not be silenced until resolutions are solved.” “We have 105 flameless candles, representative of the 105 educational relationships extinguished by the office of the superintendent,” said Malden Education Association President Deborah Gesualdo at the vigil. “We’re leaving them here to continue to represent every single one of those people. Every single one of those educators. As an acknowledgment of what will be lost in our district.” Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Ligia Noriega-Murphy released a statement on May 13 saying 63 “non-renewal letters” were sent out. She listed a variety of reasons, including performance-based cuts, low enrollment in classes and some faculty being temporary hires […]

Education

Local Tibetans mark New Year with celebration and a protest march

By Keren He Tibetans in the Boston area celebrated Losar, the Tibetan new year, with cultural food, dance, and conversation. Celebrations were later followed by a protest on March 10, as Tibetan community members rallied in Boston outside the Massachusetts State House against the brutal treatment of Tibetans under Chinese rule. March 3, 2022, marked the first day of the new year on the Tibetan lunisolar calendar, called “Losar,” which means “new year” in Tibetan. Tibetans living in the greater Boston area preserved this tradition by holding an annual ceremony for the most important holiday in their culture. Roughly 150 Tibetans gathered in a community center at Chelsea for morning prayers and later held an evening celebration in Watertown. Although no official census data exists, members of the Tibetan community say that there are approximately 800 – 1000 Tibetans living in the greater Boston area with the highest concentration in Malden and Medford. The Tibetan new year has been celebrated since the enthronement of the first emperor of Tibet, Nyatri Tsenpo, in 127 BC. This […]

Education

Why do Haitians eat squash soup on New Year’s Day?

By Jack Drees The New Year is celebrated by a series of traditions in the United States and around the world. For some, it’s a lively party on New Year’s Eve. For others, it’s the Times Square Ball Drop. For Massachusetts, it’s fireworks over the Boston Harbor. Haitians celebrate the New Year by enjoying a special soup. It is one of the first dishes they eat in the calendar year, and a tradition that reminds them of the liberation they have achieved. Haitians gained independence on January 1, 1804 after a 13-year revolution against France. Their independence arrived after the only successful slave revolt in history. Haiti became the second independent nation in the Americas and the first in Latin America. Yearly, in honor of the country’s freedom, the nation’s people and those with Haitian roots enjoy Soup Joumou, or squash soup. During France’s colonization of Haiti, Soup Joumou was often eaten by colonial masters and plantation owners. In many cases, this dish was prepared for these higher-class individuals by the slaves. While the masters […]

Arts

Malden Reads never stopped reading: 12th year kickoff will happen on Dec. 4

By Martha Bezzat Malden Reads, a community organization with the mission of literature for all, will launch its 2022 season with a kick-off event at the Winter Festival on Dec. 4 that showcases this year’s selection: An American Sunrise: Poems by Joy Harjo, the first Indigenous Poet Laureate of the United States. Malden Reads members are excited about the opportunity to showcase a book by an Indigenous author. “This is going to be a very unique reading experience,” said Meredith, a self-described “recent recruit” to Malden Reads. Meredith is an alum from NYC’s New School with a background in the poetry performance arts scene, which includes poetry readings and slams. “It’s a very different experience than reading a core curriculum by mostly white people. It will highlight the differences between Indigenous and colonial writing. It’s a great shift in perspective,” she continued. Felicia Ryan, another first-year steering committee member, said, “It’s a brave choice because poetry can be off-putting for people but this book of poems is extremely accessible for people.” Highlighting Malden Reads’ role […]

Education

BIPOC Alumni Detail Difficult Racial Experiences in Malden Public Schools

Six BIPOC graduates tell stories of racial microaggressions from teachers and administration during their years attending Malden Public Schools and offer ideas for improvement. By Fern Remedi-Brown and Kyla Denisevich Students in the Malden Public Schools – a district with one of the state’s largest percentage of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) enrollments –  say they have experienced forms of racism that range from incidents of micro-aggression to unsupportive environments to acts of outright prejudice. The reporters who initiated this Neighborhood View article interviewed six BIPOC alumni of Malden Public Schools. In this article, the alumni recount their experiences and offer ideas for an improved environment. The student body in Malden is diverse: 20% African American, 23% Asian, 28% Hispanic, and 24% white. The teachers in the Malden Public Schools are predominately white. There have been as few as six Black educators in the school system at the same time. Representation of the demographics of the students in the staff is important, said the former students. They say that the lack of diversity in the […]

Education

Ligia Noriega-Murphy begins her first school year as superintendent of Malden Public Schools

By Saliha Bayrak Equipped with 26 years of experience working in urban schools and a life-long pursuit of immersing herself in different cultures, Ligia Noriega-Murphy is starting her first year as the superintendent of Malden Public Schools.  Malden is a new environment for Ligia Noriega-Murphy. Malden has a much smaller student population than Boston, where she previously worked in public education. Originally from Guatemala, Noriega-Murphy also graduated high school from Boston public schools. Yet, Malden is “so diverse with small communities that are so rich in different languages, different cultures,” she said.  “There’s a lot of people that are so invested in making this district powerful and so unique and different. And that’s my job now, to make sure that we are going to be the best district in the nation,” Noriega-Murphy said. “I am already embracing how people just love the city.” Throughout her job interview process, Noriega-Murphy had a few opportunities to interact with the community that she would soon become a part of. A few of the things that struck Noriega-Murphy during […]