|No Place for Hate campaign advances|
By Douglas Karlson/ [email protected]
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Selectmen are expected to officially support a proclamation designating Harwich a No Place for Hate community. That's according to John Bangert of the No Place for Hate - Harwich coalition. He said he expects the board to sign the document at a press conference Jan. 16, Martin Luther King Day.
The move would be an important step in being officially certified by the Anti-Defamation League as a No Place for Hate community. The proclamation is a standard one prepared by the Anti-Defamation League. It has been used in more than 50 Massachusetts towns.
According to Bangert, the move to designate Harwich as a No Place for Hate participant began last year but gained momentum following last month's defacement of a sign near the bike path on Route 39. A swastika was spray painted on the sign, and its presence upset many townspeople.
At last week's selectmen's meeting, Selectman Robin Wilkins suggested that two or three members of the No Place for Hate - Harwich coalition sit down and also write their own proclamation. He explained that he preferred to have a home-grown anti-hate proclamation, rather than simply adopt the standard one furnished by the Anti-Defamation League. By writing it ourselves, said Wilkins, the community will be engaged.
Bangert said that he, selectmen chairman Ed McManus, and the Rev. Terry Newberry of First Congregational Church will draft the document.
Guidelines provided by the Anti-Defamation League state that "the official NPFH proclamation must be signed by each participating city/town. If your community wished to create its own proclamation, it can be done in addition to the official one."
Bangert said he expects the entire board to follow Wilkins' lead and support the program. "As Robin goes, so will, I think, the rest of the selectmen," said Bangert. A location for the event has not yet been determined.
To be certified as a No Place for Hate community, a town must first form a coalition, which has been done. Then the town must issue an official proclamation. After that,, communities must complete three activities. To choose these activities, the No Place for Hate Committee must complete a community assessment form to identify the needs of the town. Towns may then choose from a menu of activities, or create their own activities provided they are approved by the Anti-Defamation League. [continue]