Featured

Malden Reads mulls book selection for 2021

By Heather Barry Earlier this summer, as the Malden Reads steering committee began its book selection process for 2021, it faced a season and mood in the community and country very different from its previous ten years. On top of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country has been wracked with a coming to terms of 400 years of systemic racism, sparked by the murder of George Floyd, and brought to life by protestors from coast to coast.  These important and ongoing events informed the discussions of this year’s books. Once the book is selected, Malden Reads will invite the community of Malden to read the book and participate in a series of events related to the book’s themes. “At the end of the day, we want to point people toward a quality book with an important story that needs to be heard,” said Steering Committee member Martha Bezzat. “This particular year, we were open to themes about the ongoing crisis of racism, the trauma of the global pandemic, and resilience in communities.” She added, “The journey to […]

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

Confronting the anti-Asian backlash in the wake of the pandemic

By Martha Bezzat Anti-Asian racism has been on the rise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, something that Dr. Jean Yu-wen Wu, a Tufts University professor and diversity leader, calls “a kind of terrorism.” “It’s about controlling us, telling us we’re not wanted, telling us we don’t belong,” said Dr. Wu during a virtual town hall meeting May 14 sponsored by the Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition (GMAACC), an organization launched by Malden residents to dismantle historical bias and racism against Asians and Asian Americans. More than 250 people attended the meeting to hear three specialists and a college student speak about their experiences.    Dr. Wu called the current anti-Asian bias a “virulent strand” of racism in the United States. She said that while the pandemic didn’t create this racism, it revealed a racism “that’s been deeply embedded in U.S. history and U.S. nation-building.”  “It’s important to speak up about racist incidents to increase awareness because the history of Asians in the U.S. is not taught, and so newcomers in the community may not […]

Education

MaldenCORE creates platform to speak on racial inequality

By Diti Kohli Jennifer Hedrington, a Salemwood School math teacher who is Haitian American, wearily remembered missing out as a child on having a teacher who looked like her. Today she advocates alongside the Malden Community Organizing for Racial Equity to ensure the same won’t happen to any of her seventh grade students. Hedrington is a part of MaldenCORE, a community-based organization that aims to foster more diverse leadership representation in the city, especially in its schools.   Starting August 2018, the groups hosts “fourth Wednesday conversations” open to the public in the Markey Senior Center dining room. Members lead inclusive conversations on issues that disproportionately affect communities of color. “The beginning of solving all issues is a conversation,” said Hedrington. “Some of these topics are frustrating and painful, but we have to go through pain to make that change happen.” Past “conversations” addressed bias in the education system, the nature of racial discrimination, and the school-to-prison pipeline that drives disadvantaged students to criminal activity. Last Wednesday, three presenters detailed the origin and history of […]