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 […]

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 […]

Business

Community Spotlight: Brazilian Community Members Paving a Pathway for Success in Malden

By Kyla Denisevich A restaurant owner, insurance company founder, and two pastors each came here with a different mission, but all demonstrate Brazilians values, culture, and work ethic. Malden is home to a population of 61,000 people, and as of 2019, 81.5% of those residents were born outside of the country. In Malden, the Latinx and Hispanic population is 8.5 percent. Most Brazilians don’t identify as Hispanic because they are not a Spanish-speaking country, therefore, it can be hard to categorize Brazilians in demographic calculations. However, their contributions to the community are difficult to miss.  Massachusetts has the second largest Brazilian population behind Florida because Brazilians were initially attracted to existing Portuguese-speaking communities in Massachusetts. Large-scale migration from Brazil first began after Brazil’s military coup in 1964, then again during the late 1980s when an economic crisis hit Brazil. The United States remains one of the main destinations for Brazilian emigration. Brazilian immigrants are the most likely ethnic group in Boston to be self-employed, with over a quarter starting their own businesses. Also, Brazilians have the […]

Arts

Alexandria Onuoha blends dance, psychology, and activism in her quest for equity

Malden resident Alexandria Onuoha has a multifaceted approach toward her social justice work.  From psychology to dance to advocacy, Onuoha channels her passions into working for equity and equality in diverse ways for the local BIPOC community. A PhD student in Applied Developmental Psychology at Suffolk University, Onuoha is the Director of Political Advocacy at Black Boston, a nonprofit community organization that fights to end racial inequities while uplifting the creativity and solidarity of the Black community of Greater Boston. She is the founder of ACO Styles,  a business that aims to give advanced meaning to the complexities and excellence that comes with being Black, by centering Black women and girls through developmental science, dance, and fashion She is also a dancer; she performed at the Urban Media Arts studio for the virtual Juneteenth celebration last month. “I’m really interested in how fashion and dancing come together to make sure that women and youth of color feel their best, as well as how these different art forms and counseling come together. How do [youth and […]

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 […]

Featured

Community Spotlight: Asian American businesses and organizations make an impact in Malden

A look at Wah Lum Academy, District Kitchen, and the Chinese Culture Connection. By Saliha Bayrak and Kyla Denisevich. Photos by Keren He. What started off as martial arts lessons in the driveway of Mai Du 15 years ago is now the nationally renowned Wah Lum Kung Fu and Tai Chi Academy in Malden and Quincy. Lined with a diverse array of businesses and organizations, Malden is a microcosm of a culturally rich world. Many of these locations are owned and operated by Asian Americans — entrepreneurs and community leaders like Du who are shaping the city to reflect their culture. Asians are the second-largest ethnic group in the city, comprising 22.5 percent of the population. Asian Americans have made unmeasurable contributions to the city and played a significant role in the community, which sometimes goes under appreciated. Denzil Mohammed directs the Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute, which works to educate Americans about the contributions of immigrants. “More than 11% of immigrant Asians in the U.S. are self-employed, meaning they’re entrepreneurs, they have some […]

Arts

Malden aims to purchase District Court Building to transform into the Malden Center for Arts and Culture.

By Saliha Bayrak  An imposing but empty brick building stands on the western side of Malden — abandoned after being deemed unfit to serve its original purpose as a courthouse. Now, city officials hope to turn the nearly 100-year-old building into a center that would house Malden’s lively arts and culture scene. The city of Malden is aiming to purchase the former Malden District Court building and transform it into what would be known as the Malden Center for Arts & Culture. Members of local government and Malden artists say that a center dedicated to arts and culture would be a much-needed benefit to the city. “We knew that there was this kind of nebulous cluster of artists that just needed a point to coalesce around. And that’s why we’ve been looking for an art center,” said Kevin Duffy, Malden strategy and business development officer. The idea was initiated by Mayor Gary Christenson; Duffy is playing a critical role in the first stages of this initiative — acquiring the building. Duffy worked with Christenson to […]

screenshot of Women Making a Difference opening slide during event
Arts

Zonta Club of Malden Recognizes Female Activists in Annual Ceremony

By Annie Bennett Five Malden activists whose advocacy covers issues as varied as the environment, girls education, child marriage, anti-Asian bias, and the arts were honored March 25 by the Zonta Club of Malden as part of the annual “Women Making a Difference” event. “Every day there are women in our community that are doing amazing things,” said Ari Taylor, Zonta Malden’s Recording Secretary and Chair of the Finance Committee. “Little (and) big things that you don’t even realize advance the status of women… and this event is to honor them, these everyday heroes.” The “Women Making A Difference” event, traditionally held during Women’s History Month in March, honors those who are pushing forward Zonta International’s mission within Malden, which includes “empowering women through service and advocacy.” This year’s honorees were Naomi Brave, Lisa Cenca, Kay Kahn, Marcia Menong, and Mei Hung. Last year’s event was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and this year’s event was held virtually. The goal of “Women Making a Difference” is to inspire others, Taylor said.  Members of Zonta […]

Events

March 26 candlelight vigil in Malden honors Atlanta shooting victims, calls for anti-racist policies

By Kamila Rodrigues Last week’s vigil in Malden decrying violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) began with a simple Facebook post and blossomed into a multi-faceted community gathering.  On the afternoon of March 21, Malden resident Maddie Lam made a post to the Facebook group “Malden Neighbors Helping Neighbors,” after the targeted attacks on Asian American women in Atlanta in which eight people were killed. Lam, a musician, poet, and painter, described the fear she felt and expressed concern for the Asian community and their safety. Her statement resonated with many; dozens of Malden community members responded and hundreds liked the post. Karen Colón Hayes, a community member and organizer, saw the post and sprang to action. “I immediately reached out to her and we began planning. We had a Zoom call with members of both MaldenCORE and GMAACC and we centered Maddie as the lead,” said Colón Hayes.  Lam joined Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition (GMAACC) and began planning for the community vigil alongside Malden Community Organizing for Racial Equity (MaldenCORE). […]

Featured

The Show is Over for Showcase in Revere

By Nicholas Forgione If 2020 were a disaster movie, an obvious cliche would be the end of a long-standing movie-house in America’s Beach City. In fall of 2020, Revere’s Showcase Cinema de Lux —  closed due to pandemic restrictions — announced that its doors would  not reopen and that the property would change hands. While the area has other  movie-houses, (including some owned by Showcase), the end of Revere’s Showcase is the end of an era.  From its location near Revere’s Northgate Shopping Center, on the border of Malden’s Ward 8 along Route 1, Showcase Cinema was the backdrop for, and part of, the stories of area residents for more than five decades.   The  end of the Revere’s Showcase Cinema reflects the conflict between  sentiment and practicality.  Earlier this year, National Amusements Inc., the owner of Showcase Cinemas, reached an agreement with real estate firm NorthBridge Partners for the sale of the theater;  the property will be leased to  Amazon.  Jonathan, a former resident of Malden who worked at Showcase in the 1990s, recalls “lots of fun memories.”  Jonathan concedes to being “saddened” at an emotional level. And, he […]