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 […]

Education

Malden River clean-up raises awareness of local environmental issues

By Kamila Rodrigues As global citizens push back against climate change and North America experiences its hottest June ever, members of the Malden community are finding ways to clean up and care for the Malden River. During the school vacation week in April, Urban Media Arts (UMA) partnered with Friends of the Malden River, a citizens group committed to drawing the Malden River back to vibrant, civic life, and Malden Catholic High School students for a river clean-up at River’s Edge in Medford.  This hybrid (in-person and virtual) program, which will continue in a similar way for one later the summer, was run by UMA’s Amanda Hurley and Masio in collaboration with Karen Buck of the Friends of the Malden River, who is also a Malden River Works representative. The participants included Malden Catholic 3rd year students Sharieff Andrews, Amy Nguyen, and Frederika Noel. The students met with Masio and Amanda on April 20 for an orientation. They discussed the virtual component of the student media program, which would include virtually editing a public service announcement together. They also discussed the in-person component […]

Malden CORE member Ted Louis Jacques raising the Juneteenth Flag at City Hall Plaza
Arts

Juneteenth marked in Malden with joy and reflection

By Christina Appignani  The 4th annual Juneteenth Celebration, hosted June 19 by Malden CORE (Community Organizing for Racial Equity), was extra special this year. African Americans have marked Juneteenth annually since the late 19th Century, but this year Juneteenth became a federal holiday after President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law. Juneteenth commemorates when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to deliver the news of emancipation to the last remaining African American slaves on June 19, 1865. The day began with the in-person 3rd annual Juneteenth Flag Raising at the new City Hall Plaza. Later in the evening, Malden CORE held a virtual celebration on Zoom.  Erga Pierrette, a co-convener for Malden CORE, noted that Malden CORE made history this year by raising a Juneteenth flag at every school in the Malden district. The Juneteenth flag has also been raised at the Malden Police station and Fire Department.  Karen Colón Hayes, a Malden CORE member, opened up the flag-raising event with a land acknowledgement. “In Malden, we acknowledge that the […]

Education

Researching Black Lives (Enslaved and Free) in Colonial Malden

By Amanda DeRosa  On the Brooks Estate in Medford, once a part of Malden, there is a brick wall about three feet high, built by an enslaved man named Pomp. Pomp’s Wall serves as a reminder that there were enslavers in New England, just as there were enslavers in the South. “It is important that people understand that Northern slavery was significant and involved tens of thousands of enslaved people,” said Dora St. Martin, director of Malden Public Library, who is leading a long-term research project, titled “Black Lives (Enslaved and Free) in Colonial Malden.”   “This project hopes to provide a view into the lives (of) free and enslaved Blacks in Malden from 1760 to 1800.  The project will allow us to understand the centrality and importance of African Americans in the history of the founding era of Malden,” St. Martin said. St. Martin recently hosted a public Zoom lecture event, detailing updates on the research team’s findings. The lecture was funded in part by Revisiting the Founding Era, a four-year national initiative of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History presented […]

Education

Malden High School students reflect on a year of remote learning

By Saliha Bayrak Having a conversation over the lunch table, waving to your friends between classes, sharing excitement over college admission letters — these are some of the things that Malden High School teenagers yearned for as they attended their classes virtually.  As Malden High School (MHS) transitions to hybrid learning with a phased process that started the week of March 15, nearly one year after schools switched to fully remote, students look back on all the ways that online learning has impacted their life. Remote learning uprooted the life of teens around the city and forced them to reimagine what their high school experience will look like. Now they ponder on how they will move forward.  Sheilly Patel, a senior at MHS, worries that she may miss some of the big milestones of high school such as senior prom and graduation. But she also misses the small activities that accompanied going to school in-person.  Patel says that she often finds herself “missing that kind of little social things that happen in between classes,” and […]

Education

What does a water tower in Guatemala have to do with Malden?

By Fern Remedi-Brown and Elena Martinez  Malden residents Fern Remedi-Brown and Ginny Remedi-Brown have been spearheading a nonprofit organization, Sowing Opportunities, that seeks to cultivate self-sustainability, education, and wellness in rural Guatemala – one village at a time. The locally based organization wants to highlight and celebrate Monday, March 22, United Nations #WorldWaterDay. This year’s theme is #ValuingWater  and the efforts of Sowing Opportunities demonstrate how a group of individuals is effectively addressing water issues in Guatemala.  Sowing Opportunities was born from the family’s quest and journey to find their adopted daughter’s birth mom. In 2015, Sowing Opportunities began working with the village of Chajmaic, Guatemala, where their daughter was born. With a Guatemalan team, they learned about the needs and aspirations of this indigenous, remote community.  Following a needs assessment conducted last summer, Sowing Opportunities decided to develop a greenhouse workshop in which a group of trainees would learn how to plant, to develop leadership skills, and to maintain a greenhouse – starting with corn and black beans – and to sell vegetables for their livelihood. […]

Education

Teaching from afar: How Malden’s educators have been working through the pandemic

By Catherine Riordan  Like many other schools across the country, Malden schools have had to grapple with how to teach children through remote and hybrid learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since last March, the Malden Public Schools have been fully remote but early grades returned with a hybrid phase of learning beginning on February 8. Wendy Yaakov, a kindergarten teacher at Malden’s Beebe School has taught her students throughout the pandemic. According to Yaakov, the focus with the children during this new hybrid learning space is on what they lacked, such as handwriting, and learning what it is to be in a classroom and not their bedroom. The children in her class have never had a traditional school experience as they began their school career remotely and entered hybrid learning. Yaakov said “It’s going to be an adjustment… for some of them; it’s the first time in school.”  Yaakov told of a little girl who asked her teacher if she needed to be doing more learning because the little girl is used to remote learning where teachers […]

Education

The TrailblazHers host a 5K in Malden dedicated to Louise Stokes.

The Boston-based women’s running group chose the Malden River Loop to host their weekly run dedicated to trailblazing women. (Photo by Frances Ramirez) By Saliha Bayrak, Amanda Hurley and Catherine Riordan A group of trailblazing women, clad in running gear and masks, were out for a run at the Malden River Loop on Sunday morning, March 7. The group, TrailblazHers Run Co, dedicated their weekly 5k run to Malden track & field star Louise Stokes, one of the first African-American women to qualify for an Olympic team.  TrailblazHers is a Boston-based women’s running group that was founded in October of 2020. The group’s members are fervently dedicated to unifying and uplifting each other while being powered by its mission to celebrate and empower women of all shapes, colors, and backgrounds.  The group originally emerged from an event known as the “Bra Run,” a tradition that continued for three years before the co-founders Elizabeth Rock, Abeo Powder, and Frances Ramirez, realized that there were many other women who were also looking for a community of runners.  Rock describes the organization as “A […]

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 […]

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 […]