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 […]

Education

Teaching through the lens of love: A conversation with Jennifer Hedrington, MA Teacher of the Year

By Antonia Sheel As an educator and mother to young children,  I had the opportunity to chat with the newly appointed Massachusetts Teacher of the Year (2021), Jennifer Hedrington a seventh-grade math teacher at Ferryway School in Malden, and her former student, Taylor Neal, a sophomore at Point University. The experience  was both refreshing and inspiring.  Our Zoom conversation touched on everything from what brought Hedrington  into the field of education to how Hedrington’s teaching impacted Taylor, who has kept in touch with her years after she first sat in her 7th grade math class.   This interview has been edited for space and clarity. Antonia: I want to say first and foremost congratulations! How do you feel? Jen: I’m overwhelmed and humbled. I’m very private. You know I went from having 100 people on my Facebook to 300 or 400.  I’m like, oh my gosh this is crazy. I have to remind myself that this is not about me. This is about them. God has blessed me for one year to be a voice to speak up for the kids. […]

Education

Get Ready to Mark Your Ballot: Voting options for Election 2020 in Malden

By Will Sullivan  During the past few months, service cuts at the U.S. Postal Service have raised concerns about the potential for delays in the mail-in voting process. But as the second Massachusetts election during the COVID-19 pandemic approaches, Malden City Clerk Greg Lucey wants voters to know that voting by mail is still a good option while the virus remains a public health issue. “It’s a very safe way to vote,” said Lucey. With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Massachusetts, mail-in voting “is probably the way to go,” he said.  For those concerned about their ballot reaching City Hall via mail in time to be counted, the city has two drop-off boxes for mail-in ballots. As long as voters drop off their ballots by 8 p.m. on Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 3), their votes will be counted. Both boxes can be accessed at any time. One is in front of Malden City Hall, at 215 Pleasant St. The second, which will be installed this week, is in front of the Malden Police Station, at 800 Eastern […]

Education

MaldenCORE conversation series

MaldenCORE will hold a series of 4th Wednesday Conversations beginning Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 6:45 pm with a presentation by Daniel StrongWalker Thomas, Traditional Chief of the Delaware Nation (Anadarko Okla.), Lenape People, and a descendant of the Oneida People (of Green Bay,Wisc).  The topic for discussion will be Indigenous social justice issues. Due to the pandemic, the conversation series is online. Thomas serves as the President of the Board of Directors and Chief Servant Leader of Global Initiative for Indigenous Advancement, Inc. (GIIA).  As Keeper of Fire for GIAA, he believes that the concentration on the four pillars of social, health, education, and economic status will help generate the overall wellbeing of Indigenous People worldwide.  When he attended Salem State University he was awarded the Charlotte Forten Distinguished Scholar Award and was a member of the honors society. MaldenCORE, Malden Community Organizing for Racial Equity, hosts 4th Wednesday Conversations, community gatherings for community members, to learn about and confront systemic racism. Speakers introduce topics and then participants break into fall groups to share personal […]

Education

Malden Census Committee strives for a Complete Count!

By MaryLouise Torres  A volunteer census committee in Malden is rushing to beat the Sept. 30 deadline to ensure every resident is counted for the 2020 U.S. Census.  The Malden Census Complete Count Committee, composed of city officials, city employees, community leaders, and residents, has been taking actions ranging from holding meetings to distributing flyers to hanging banners. The committee, chaired by Kathleen Manning Hall, Administrative Officer with the Mayor’s Office, and Alex Pratt, Community Development Director at the Malden Redevelopment Authority, was stymied by restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the committee reconvened on Aug. 11 and is back to work.  “This is probably one of the craziest years I can remember in my entire life,” Manning Hall said. “Malden has done OK up to this point, but we need to do better.” In July, only about 59.7 percent of Malden residents had responded to the census – that rate was 5.2 points behind the 2010 rate.  But by Aug. 18, committee members excitedly reported that the response rate had jumped significantly in just the last […]

Education

Malden River Loop Dedication: The Story of Louise Stokes

By Amanda Hurley Joggers and bikers huffing and puffing on the new 3.2 mile Malden River Loop may draw inspiration from a Malden athlete who faced both Jim Crow and Adolf Hitler as she pursued her passion for running.   Louise Stokes, a Malden native, is considered the first African-American woman to qualify for an Olympic team. Earlier this summer, the bike loop – which runs along the Malden River and spans three cities, Malden, Everett and Medford— was dedicated to Stokes and former clerk magistrate of Malden District Court, Joseph Croken. Malden City Councillor-at-Large Stephen Winslow conceived of the Malden River Loop project and enlisted the help of graphic artist Elena Martinez of Artfort Design Studio in August of 2019. Martinez recalled that she and Winslow “met at the Joy of Biking Sculpture near Anthony’s” and chatted as they walked the trail. Winslow was “inspired by the chance interactions – just a friendly hi or wave of the hand – that might happen during your time on the trail and the ever-changing landscape of buildings […]

Arts

Keep Drawing, Keep (Th)inking: the Keith Knight Story

By Sky Malerba Born and raised in Malden, MA, cartoonist, rapper, teacher and activist Keith Knight delighted in drawing since early childhood. This week, Keith Knight is the subject for Malden Arts Mondays, a two-month long celebration of artists and figures associated with Malden.  “I always used to draw on walls, and draw in class, and I’d never get in trouble for it, in fact, I kept on getting higher grades,” he said of his school experiences.  He drew cartoons based on George Orwell’s Animal Farm and used portraits of his  classmates and teachers as an analogue to a character in the story. “You should be doing a syndicated cartoon,” his teacher  told  him. That was the beginning  of Keith Knight’s career as a highly regarded American cartoonist 20 years ago. Knight graduated from Malden High in 1984 and after a brief stint as a professional Michael Jackson impersonator in the 1980s,  he created perhaps his most memorable in the 1990s. The K Chronicles was a weekly autobiographical comic strip, published  in The San Francisco Examiner and then […]

Education

For the defense: Author Erle Stanley Gardner

By Sky Malerba Erle Stanley Gardner was a powerful force of nature. He was a towering, commanding defense attorney and a prolific author who created the archetype of the fearless defense attorney.  And the native city of the man who brought us Perry Mason was Malden, MA. This week, Erle Stanley Gardner is the subject for Malden Arts Mondays, a two-month long celebration of artists and figures associated with Malden.  In 1899 at 10 years of age, Gardner’s family left their Malden home and moved to Oregon to a mining camp. When he was kicked out of Valparaiso University School of Law in Indiana for brawling with his professor, he pursued legal education in California. In Oxnard, California, he would become a successful defense attorney defending poor Chinese and Mexican immigrants who police often used as scapegoats for poorly investigated crimes. Although his legal career provided a steady income, he  found it was not stimulating enough and and he turned to writing, particularly for the  rakish world of cheap pulp magazines, much to his family’s disapproval. During these years he wrote under such pseudonyms as A.A. Fair, […]

Arts

Perle Fine: Painting Through Barriers

By Sky Malerba In a world of male artists and curators, Boston born, Malden-raised Perle Fine never quite got the acclaim owed to her. An abstractionist and a constructor of collage, Fine was shaped by the avant-guard scene of the early to mid 20th century in New York City. Fine is the selection for Week Four of Malden Arts Mondays, a two-month long celebration of artists and figures who have lived in Malden. Fine’s career arguably picked up steam in May of 1943 when two of her paintings were entered into and featured in Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century museum. Two years later Fine would enjoy her first solo exhibition in 1945 at the Willard Gallery. Gradually, Fine integrated herself into artist communities where she socialized with other expressionists in clubs like the Betty Parsons Gallery, in 1948 — an atmosphere not unlike the enlightenment groups in 19th century French salons. She congregated with the likes of Clyfford Still Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and others. By the 1960s Perle Fine was a lecturer and associate professor and is cited as […]