Tag Archives: incitytimesworcester.org

Tweet! Tweet! A little birdie told us Allen Fletcher recently bought this chunk of land in Kelley Square …

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.. for around a million bucks. You know the piece of land (pictured above) – it sorta juts out into Kelley Square. It’s the piece of no-man’s land on the corner of Water and Green streets. Mostly used for parking these days …

Should be interesting to see how Allen reinvents the property!

Allen works fast!

He’ll probably have workmen (and workwomen, we hope!) at the site by next year, digging and bulldozing away!

I say HOORAY!

Here’s Allen’s chance to shine! Come through for people who aren’t the latte-drinking, beer-guzzling or narcissistic poseurs who seem to have taken over my old (and present) hood! So fake! So phony! Most have a talent for nothing  … except blatant self-promotion! It’s manipulative … not real. Just public relations. No one is anyone’s friend in the true, warts-and-all sense. Such garbage!

GET REAL, ALLEN!!!!!!

Get back to our roots!

Build up the neighborhood by creating a building/complex/NEW world to draw in:

Children/youth. They could use a branch library or an after-school center in your new space!

The families in the area, many without cars or a lot of dough. They could use a community health center in your new building. A YMCA branch, perhaps?

A CVS would be terrific! We need a pharmacy in the hood!

We need a bank branch, too!

A supermarket or TRADER JOE’S open SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, with normal working person’s hours and AFFORDABLE stuff and amenable to WIC, SNAP cards and the folks who have them (cuz they are poor) IS DESPERATELY NEEDED here!  Has been for YEARS!

If you put in housing, besides the retail, PLEASE make 30% of it affordable! 

MAKE THE NEIGHBORHOOD TRULY DIVERSE AND LIVELY, Allen! Make it more than a haven for preppy young or want-to-be-young bar flies.

Create a vibrant day scene, by putting in families and kids and the more mundane stuff that keeps them doing stuff … create a neighborhood that HUMS during the day!!

You’re a good guy who doesn’t want to exclude folks, a guy who doesn’t want to see the neighborhood become a one-trick pony (barsville). That’s BORING! And you pride yourself on reinvention and risk! PERSONAL GROWTH.

Good luck in your new endeavor! and … DO THE RIGHT THINGS!

– Rosalie!

From the Worcester NAACP …

The U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office along with the the City of Worcester will be hosting the third in a series of seven “Community Dialogues on Race” at Belmont A.M.E. Zion Church, 55 Illinois St., Worcester, TONIGHT at 6 p.m.

This community dialogue will focus on “Public Safety” and is an opportunity for you to come out and share your concerns regarding issues surrounding community policing.

Please make every effort to come out and participate in these sessions.  It is important that all members of the community are part of this process, from shaping the dialogue, to holding our leaders accountable for implementing changes that will improve the lives of all people in our city.

A light meal will be provided and childcare services are available for this session.

The late, great Sparky (Or: Goes the man, goes the dog)

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Rosalie used to bring doggy treats over for Sparky!

By Rosalie Tirella

At the end, he lost a third of his body weight, but in his prime he tipped the scales at 100 pounds – a huge, beautiful, menacing German Shepherd dog that, the Old Injun Fighter used to say with not a little pride, “could kill a man.”

The big boned,  white fanged, wolf of a dog, dead for three days now but seared into the OIF’ s heart forever, had the most innocuous name!: SPARKY!

SPARKY: A name you’d give a cute, feisty little Yorkie! Or a tea cup poodle you could carry around in your pocketbook! Here, Sparky! Jump onto mommy’s/daddy’s lap, Sparky! Beg for a little treatie-poo, Sparky! Let’s give you a bubble bath in the sink, Sparky!

Sparky was none of that, would have none of that.  He was not feisty – he was fierce. He was not cute – he was majestic. He was not tractable – he was indomitable. He never begged for anything in his life. His two front paws could never fit into the bathroom sink, though he did jump through the OIF’s bathroom window! From the second floor. When the window was closed. Through the window pane. Glass icicles rained down on the OIF’s driveway. More shattered window in the bathroom …

This happened during the first week the Old Injun Fighter owned Sparky. He left the dog alone at home while he was at work. Sparky grew WILD WITH ANXIETY. SEPARATION ANXIETY. HE NEEDED OUT. Needed to stop the panic in his body … So all 100 pounds of him leapt through the window and for a few brief, shining seconds he was free as a bird, Sparky the sparrow dog sailing in the air …

The Old Injun Fighter found him a little ways away, at Institute Park, unharmed. Sparky had treed a grown man and was barking wildly at him. The OIF took his new dog home and decided to put Sparky in doggy day care for a few weeks until Sparky settled in some.

The leap through a second floor window pane may have freaked another dog owner out, given the person pause about the dog he/she had just adopted. Not the OIF. It Gorilla-Glued him to his beautiful new dog. He would have Sparky’s back. Forever!

Without saying a word to the woman he was seeing at the time. Without saying a word about the incident to anyone really … the OIF fell in love. With Sparky. The woman has been gone for years. Many women came after her. Including me! They are gone. It was always Sparky!

The Old Injun Fighter did not name Sparky. He got Sparky when he was two years old; the dog had already been named by the little kids in the family he belonged to. The family seemed picture perfect: husband, wife, kids, big house in the country, in a rustic Worcester County town. But they were NOT perfect: They kept Sparky in the cellar.

A lot of times that’s what happens to German Shepherd dogs or other big dogs when they quickly grow out of puppy-dom and people realize they’ve now got a PROBLEM, a LIABLITY: A full-grown, powerful, smart, strong-willed, energetic, HUGE working dog that they never bothered to socialize or train. So down the cellar or in the garage the dog goes. Out of sight, out of mind. They dismiss the problem: It’s only a dog! they tell themselves. In the garage or cellar these intelligent, pack animals suffer – emotionally and physically. Just like their wolf ancestors, dogs are not solitary creatures, born to live alone; they love hanging with their posse! Even if their posse is comprised of just one person! But their negligent owners haven’t a clue. So they lock their dogs up, in the dark or cold, for hours. ALL ALONE, dogs go stir crazy, kennel crazy. They howl for hours. They self-mutilate, chew the fur off the front of their paws. They drag the junk furniture from one end of the cellar to the other or scratch, scratch, scratch the garage wall.  If they’re lucky they’re stuck in a kennel outside, but they are still out of the house, away from everything, away from the family they so want to be close to. They are unstimulated, unsupervised, unexercised, unloved. The damage – bites, demolished stuff – inevitably happens. Then they’re the problem dogs and they’re given away – GIVEN AWAY to practically anyone who’ll take the dog off the family’s hands. Even though they may be purebreds with AKC papers and cost a few thousand dollars. Even though they are breathtakingly beautiful, like Sparky. Because they are now totally fucked up and impossible for your average dog owner to handle. Scary.

Twenty years ago I was looking for my first dog ever and responded to a newspaper ad: Big, White German Shepherd.  Purebred. ( my dream dog! to this day!) Free. In a Worcester County town, right outside Worcester.

I called the family and the mother said: We keep her in the cellar.

Why?! I asked.

She said: I had a baby and we don’t want the big dog near the baby.

I didn’t even drive down to take a look ( I’d have fallen in love with the dog’s good looks). I knew this beautiful White German Shepherd dog was too screwed up for me, a novice at dogs/dog ownership, to handle. She would be way too much dog. She would not make a good first dog for me.

The day after Sparky died, the day the Old Injun Fighter followed the vet tech to the crematory – she was carrying the dog – Sparky weighed only 70 pounds and seemed miles away from his former self. The vet never determined what illness caused his wasting away. The Old Injun Fighter guessed it was just old age. Sparky was ancient, as far as humongous German Shepherds go. Big dogs usually don’t live that long.

But even though his rust markings had faded, even though he walked slowly during his walks and sometimes didn’t bother to eat his dinner the “spark” never left the Spark! The love he had felt for the OIF all these years was still there!

For instance, he would let the OIF mindlessly poke his eye area when they were standing together, and Spark was on lead and the Old Injun Fighter was talking with me, not really paying attention to where his hand was on his dog’s head. Pat, pat, pat! The OIF’s fingers practically in Sparky’s eye socket. Sparky, who during his first year with the OIF, bit the OIF up the arm because he was trying to give Spark a correction after Spark had raised his leg and took a whizz on the OIF’s mahogany stair case, eventually grew so accepting of the OIF that he’d let him poke all over his head! (If I did that to my husky mix Jett, he’d give me a warning nip! ) Not Spark. In his prime, he was as forgiving of the OIF’s foibles as his master had been of his the first year he lived with him.

Truth be told, the OIF never acted like the “master” in the 11 1/2 years he owned Sparky. More like his friend. His equal. No… I’ll go one better than that: More like a little boy with his first dog, the most beautiful dog he had ever seen in his young life! But it was his! Belonged to him and him alone!

The OIF used to sleep with Sparky on the rug, under the dining room table! Lying down, he would put his arm around his beautiful dog’s shoulder and just look at him, just stare at his lupine loveliness.  Sparky never got out of the hug or shook it off and trot to another spot on the floor. Nope. He let the OIF be mesmerized! The OIF, not a tall guy, would fall asleep next to his huge dog and they were about the same length! The OIF would wake up, staring into the pads of Sparky’s paws.

They smell like popcorn! he once told me, smiling.

No! I said, smiling, thinking: he SMELLED the bottom of his dog’s paws! How … intimate. Lots of dogs, especially the strong willed working dogs, are very touchy about their paws. That is they don’t like it when you touch them.

I went home and knelt down before my dog Bailey and tried to smell the pads of his paws. … They smelled like dirty toenails. I was sure Sparky’s smelled the same. But to the Old Injun Fighter, to the little boy enthralled by his gorgeous dog, they smelled like popcorn!

When the OIF first got Sparky and he tried to take away the doggy toy Sparky was chewing on, the Spark would curl his lips and growl. The OIF would calmly, almost discreetly pull his hand back … He didn’t want to get bitten! And Sparky would have bitten! But after a year of low growls, and an ever burgeoning love for the OIF, who fed him top of the line dog food and doggy treats, took him on two long walks during the day, gave him the best veterinary care money could buy, let him sleep on the bed with him, gave him the run of the house and those silly, lopsided head pats, the growling stopped and the OIF could take and “play” with Sparky’s toy. Even when Sparky was playing with it and had it in his huge jaws.

Playtime began in earnest between the man and his dog! The OIF would take a few steps toward Sparky and Sparky would bow down in play mode! A little game of tag would begin, Sparky’s butt wiggling in the air.

Wickedly smart, like all GSDs, when Sparky wanted to go out for a walk, he learned how to tell this to his owner. He would find the OIF’s dog-walking sneakers and lift one up with his pearly white canine teeth and carry it to the OIF. Then he’d drop it in front of him and bark – not madly, just three or four short barks, just enough “talk” to get his point across.

I got Spark a few big red brandy new collars cuz the OIF loves red and Sparky looked gangbusters in red! Once he mail ordered this CANINE PATROL BADGE for Sparky and when it came through the mail put it on one of the red collars I gifted Sparky. The dog looked smashing!  There he was, on lead, the OIF showing him off in his driveway. Zeet! (Sit!) the OIF would command his German Shepherd, in German. Sparky would sit. Plotz! (Lie down!) the OIF would command in German, and Sparky would lie down at his master’s feet. He looked so handsome in his brand new collar and K-9 officer badge. The head of a beautiful German Shepherd dog was embroidered on his badge. The words “K-9 Patrol” was stitched in gold thread. If Sparky weren’t vicious, if he weren’t a biter with pretty much everyone but the OIF, you could picture him trotting along in the desert sands in Iraq, a proud, stoic and heroic military dog in the US Army, going after Saddam Hussein’s bony ass! BIG TIME. But, instead, Sparky patrolled the OIF’s West Side home and snoozed under the dining room table with the OIF! It was his destiny!

Once, as the OIF proudly marched before me with the Spark all decked out and serious on his leash, I yelled out: Halt! Sparky’s under arrest for impersonating a dog officer!

This brought a huge smile to the OIF’s face. The OIF is not a big smiler. He’s serious, like a German Shepherd dog. He’s a hard worker, who, I believe, enjoys physical work. Just like a German Shepherd dog. He was/is a bit of a lady’s man, who never neutered Sparky or any of his previous German Shepherd dogs. Their big balls – German Shepherds have huge testicles – swung free and easy!

And you can’t mess with the OIF on any level because he’ll go after you big time! Attack swiftly and decisively, just like a GSD. He’s not a nipper. He’s a killer! Just like the late Sparky!

Part of the reason, I believe, the OIF never really socializes his German Shepherd dogs – and he’s had about 10 during his life – is because he feels HE NEEDS PROTECTION. Not just his nice West Side home or his new truck or his wallet. He the Old Injun Fighter needs a kind of canine body guard and pistol … a weapon. Because his Lynn childhood was the pits, because he and his late wife lived in a Lynn three decker when they first got married and needed lawyers, guns and money. Because she died when she was only 48 and she was the love of his life, the only woman he had ever known. After his wife died, the OIF had three German Shepherd dogs!

These days he had two – Anna, a 95-pound, long-haired German Shepherd and Sparky. Anna was a late addition to his pack. I pressed him to adopt her because Sparky was starting to look so old and feeble and I could tell it was making the OIF sad.

Whenever I see my old beau, he’s the same: he’s got a new girlfriend, but he’s still, at heart, a loner who mistrusts the world and needs a German Shepherd dog to take the sting outa life. A loner who’s never been completely right since his wife’s premature death.

Jake the retired State Police dog. Desiree his late wife’s personal GS dog. Ditmar and Dagmar and the other German Shepherd dogs with German names. Most came into the OIF’s life as purebred puppies for which he paid thousands of dollars. I have gotten to the OIF with all my animal rights talk, so now he’s willing to rescue and adopt homeless German Shepherd dogs (purebreds only, the elitist!).

Looking back, sometimes I think the OIF dumped me because I wasn’t German Shepherd enough for him! I wasn’t loyal all the time. I never really had his back. And I was never serious enough … didn’t feel life was this pitched battle and I had to be ready for the enemy – basically almost everyone – on high alert at all times.  I didn’t look big and tough, like I could “take someone,” as they used to say in Lynn – or Green Island (I’m sure there’s a different phrase or word for it today). But I had loved the OIF! I know I screwed up, but I had loved him! If I had the relationship to do over again, I might be more GSD … naturally. I feel more Sparky these days, as I grow older and look more closely at the world! But back when we were going out, I was a Jett – my smart, high strung, unpredictable Siberian Husky mix! The Old Injun Fighter had been ravenous for a beautiful Sparky. But I was just … Jett.

Healthcare workers launch statewide push for reforms that would rein in big health insurance payments to the highest-priced hospitals in Mass.

BOSTON – Healthcare workers are launching a statewide push for reforms that would rein in big health insurance payments to some of the highest-priced hospitals in Massachusetts.

For years, inflated payments to a small group of academic medical centers have been cited as a major driver of higher consumer premiums and as a threat to community hospitals. Many community hospitals are struggling under a health care system that pays them exponentially less than other providers for the delivery of the same services at the same level of quality.

Now, members of the state’s most politically active and fastest growing union, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, are putting their full support behind a bold solution that workers say could be the key to preserving services and jobs at many community hospitals around the state.

The Act to Protect Community Hospital Services & Jobs, also currently known as SB574 An Act Relative to Equitable Health Care Pricing, would reduce excessive payments to hospitals by an estimated $450-$500 million annually. An estimated $250M of the savings from the bill’s price cap would be utilized to increase the rates for community and safety net hospitals whose commercial rates fall below the 90% price floor. Another $200-$250M would be returned to consumers and employers through reductions in health insurance premiums.

Caregivers have warned that – absent decisive action by the legislature on the issue – more community hospitals in the state are destined to close. The majority of Massachusetts residents receive their care at community hospitals, yet many of those facilities have struggled financially even while the state’s wealthiest hospital network amasses nearly $7 billion in reserves.

“For too long, community and safety net hospitals have been forced to fight over the crumbs within a system that caters disproportionately to wealthy hospitals,” said 1199SEIU Executive Vice President Veronica Turner. “The lack of equality in our hospital payment system is jeopardizing services at the community hospitals where a majority of residents receive their care. The time for reform is now. On their own, the current payment growth caps are inadequate as a policy solution. There needs to be a floor and a ceiling for these payment rates or our hospital system will be locked into a permanent state of imbalance and inequality.”

The legislation backed by the healthcare workers union would prohibit healthcare providers and private health insurance companies from entering into contracts that would pay hospitals more than 20% above the average amount paid to similar healthcare providers for the same healthcare services.

Coupled with the state’s rate cap of 3.6% annually, caregivers say creating a ceiling for payments to wealthy hospitals will help create the longer term market conditions necessary to curb increasing consumer premiums and preserve community hospital services.

The legislation would also prohibit contracts that pay hospitals less than 90% of the average amount paid to similar healthcare providers. Specialty and geographically-isolated hospitals would be explicitly exempted from the legislation’s price cap, although some will benefit from the bill’s price floor.

To drum up support for the reforms, 1199SEIU members are launching a statewide tour of more than 35 community hospital locations across the Commonwealth – including many non-union hospitals – during which 1199SEIU members and organizers will promote the new legislation at the facilities which would financially benefit from a more balanced payment system.

Hospital workers will simultaneously be recruiting hospital workers to join the union in hopes of continuing the record-setting growth seen by 1199SEIU in recent years. The union is also planning advertising and grassroots voter outreach drives to promote the reforms, including using social media and advertising to mobilize patients and voters whose local hospitals would benefit from the proposed regulatory changes.

Most of the worst paid hospitals in the Commonwealth are also community hospitals and/or disproportionate share hospitals (DSH), serving a large proportion of Medicaid and Medicare patients.

The below-average commercial rates paid to these community hospitals, combined with the relatively low rates paid by government payers, result in these important community-based providers struggling to remain open and to survive financially.

Mark your calendars! Saturday, June 13! OPENING DAY! REC Farmers Market!

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Jett gets a little hyper in crowds, but REC Farmers Markets welcome pups, on leads, of course!

OPENING DAY!

Saturday, June 13

REC Main South Farmer’s Market 

Central Branch YMCA in Main South – Fuller Family Park

9:30 am – 1 pm

Arts and crafts

Live music

Free kids activities

Free yoga …

Fresh AFFORDABLE veggies

Fresh AFFORDABLE fruit

Fresh eggs

and more yumminess! ALL AFFORDABLE and locally sourced!

FOOD JUSTICE now! SNAP, WIC, Senior Citizen farmers market coupons accepted!

Support local farmers and artisans! Support REC – the Regional Environmental Council – working out of Castle Street, committed to bringing fresh peoduce and more TO EVERYONE IN OUR CITY, growers of scores of urban gardens in our public schools, urban neighborhoods – all of Woo! Providers of jobs for our city youth! Getting the kids out in the sun and teaching them to plant and nurture and work with others. Getting them exercising (gardening is great exercise!) … teaching them to eat better! And they can go home and educate their families!

Healthy foods for healthy minds and bodies! So kids do better in school! So families stay strong!

Come out and play with REC this coming Saturday!

– Rosalie Tirella

The schedules for REC’s other WORCESTER farmers markets …

… and some background info from the REC website:

Since 2008, the Regional Environmental Council of Central MA (REC) has brought healthy, fresh, affordable, locally grown food to shoppers in Worcester, Massachusetts through our REC Community Farmers Markets.

Today, we offer farmers’ markets 6 days each week at locations throughout Worcester from mid-June through the end of October.

Come join our farmers on:

Saturdays at our Main South Market

Mondays & Fridays at our Beaver Brook Market

and Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays join our Mobile Farmers Market at 15 different locations throughout Worcester!

What makes REC Community Farmers Markets different?

When you shop REC Community Farmers Markets, you are not only enjoying the freshest local food, you are supporting local farmers, supporting jobs for local youth, and helping your neighbors gain access to healthy, fresh & affordable food! Shop REC & Support Our Community!

All markets offer fresh, affordable, locally grown veggies, fruit, meats & eggs. Some markets offer baked goods, prepared foods & artisanal crafts.

2015 SCHEDULE

EVERY SATURDAY – REC Main South Farmers Market

June 13th – October 31st 2015

9:30AM-1:00PM
YMCA Fuller Family Park, 104 Murray Ave, Worcester
(behind Central Community Branch YMCA)
Free kids’ activities, live music and art, crafts and prepared foods for sale, in addition to veggies, fruit, meats & eggs.
Plenty of free off-street parking
Cash, credit, debit, WIC & Senior coupons, and EBT/SNAP all accepted.
EBT/SNAP purchases HALF OFF up to $40! (while supplies last)

EVERY MONDAY & FRIDAY – REC Beaver Brook Farmers Market

JUNE 15th – OCTOBER 30th 2015
9:30 AM-2 PM

Beaver Brook Park, 306 Chandler St, Worcester
(across from Foley Stadium)
Plenty of free off-street parking.
Cash, credit, debit, WIC & Senior coupons, and EBT/SNAP all accepted.

EVERY TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY –
REC Mobile Farmers Market (check out our BIG BLUE VEGGIE MOBILE – with solar powered fridge & freezer!)

June 16th – October 29th
Cash, credit, debit, WIC & Senior coupons, and EBT/SNAP all accepted.
EBT/SNAP purchases HALF OFF up to $40! (while supplies last)

Elm Park: the Worcester Food Truck Festival! Sat., June 20!

From the food truck fest website:

Spend the day at Elm Park trying everything from lobster rolls to bubbling pizza, juicy burgers and an eclectic selection of international foods like Vietnamese sandwiches!

Saturday, June 20

11 am to 5 pm

Elm Park!

More than 7,500 people passed through last year’s Food Truck festival!

Street parking will be available and pets are allowed on a leash. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair and enjoy your treats in the park! 

From Noon – 5 pm (VIP hours 11 am – Noon)!

General Admission will be available at the gate, or for pre-purchase, for $5 (tickets purchased at the gate will be cash only).

Children under 12 are admitted for free!

Food and drink will be available for purchase separately.

ATMs will be on site. No refunds.

For more info – including which food trucks are participating and which beers are available – visit:

foodtruckfestivalsofamerica.com. 

Cruelty-free summer skin care!

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From PETA.ORG! Click on the blue words to see a company’s website! Many products, like Burt’s Bees and Bonne Bell, are available at Walgreens and other easy-to-get-to pharmacies in Worcester!  Don’t forget: ELF, PHYSICIAN’S FORMULA and WET ‘N’ WILD are cruelty-free make-up companies. Their great products are available at Target, Walgreens, even Price Chopper!

Easier than ever to be kind to animals!

– R. Tirella

Give  bunnies a break this summer by tossing your animal-tested products in favor of cruelty-free sunscreens, sunless tanners, moisturizers, and insect repellents. Some personal-care product companies are still living in the Dark Ages: They needlessly pump their products into animals’ stomachs; rub them onto animals’ raw, shaved skin; squirt them into their eyes; or force animals to inhale them. It’s time for these companies to throw in the animal-testing towel!

Finding animal-friendly skin-care products is a breeze, thanks to the hundreds of companies riding the cruelty-free wave. All the companies on our list have assured PETA in writing that they will not test their products on animals. Click here for cruelty-free companies.

Makers of Cruelty-Free Sunscreens

Abra Therapeutics

Bronzo Sensualé

California North

Kiss My Face

Malibu Sun

Ocean Potion

Makers of Cruelty-Free Sunless Tanners

Bonne Bell

California North

Kiss My Face

Ocean Potion

Makers of Cruelty-Free After-Sun Moisturizers

Abra Therapeutics

Bonne Bell

Bronzo Sensualé

Kiss My Face

Malibu Sun

 

Makers of Cruelty-Free Insect Repellent

Burt’s Bees

All Terrain

Search for more cruelty-free products.

 

Try a little openness

By Ron O’Clair

Department of Justice visits Worcester to hold community meetings on race

DOJ Discussion #2

The participants of the discussion broke off into groups of about a dozen each and went to different areas of the Auditorium at Quinsugamond Community College and even into private rooms to hold discussions based on guidelines prearranged by the City of Worcester Human Rights Commission.

I went into the #8 group which was determined by having been given a random number upon signing in from 1 -12. Each person signing in got a number. After having heard a presentation from the City of Worcester about how the local government works, we all broke off into the separate areas to begin the discussions.

The group I was in had some notable Worcester figures in it, including Dr. Reese the Assistant Principal of Doherty High School, Ronald Scott, Charles E. Scott’s son, and arriving late, a woman who used to be a teacher in the public schools system.

When it came time for the discussion part and the facilitator asked if anyone wanted to say anything, everyone looked around but no one spoke.

I held up my hand and started the discussion off. My contribution was all done, and other people took turns. It was at this point that the retired school teacher entered the room, so she had no idea of anything that I said.

Nearly everyone else in the room had a chance to share their thoughts, and then the lady monopolized the conversation, interjecting “just three more points” when other people wanted to talk. In fact one person who attended sent an email to complain about not having had a chance to talk, blaming the woman who snubbed me for it.

There was a lengthy pause before I started the discussion, he or she had the opportunity to speak then, but chose not to avail themselves of it.

I listened to all she had to say: it was basically a diatribe about prejudice against students of color in the school system, although she mentioned that she was taught as the only black child in a Catholic Schools system. She also mentioned about the Boards and Commissions available for the City of Worcester and about what she perceived as prejudice there also. I took an opportunity to relate that I also had applied for a couple of spots on City of Worcester Boards and Commissions and had been rejected. She flippantly suggested that I was not worthy for those positions with her comment about what I had to say.

I listened to everything she said and was initially impressed enough by what she said that at the end of the discussion period and before we all returned to the Auditorium to hear a recap of the 12 different discussions, I reached out my hand to shake hers.

She declined my offer of a handshake with a look of contempt spread across her features.

I was taken aback a bit, but I figured that perhaps she is one of those people that just do not like physical contact and decline hands offered in friendship.

That was then … after the meeting was breaking up in the Auditorium, I happened to be near that same woman as she was making her way up the aisle and out of the Auditorium. Every single person of color that approached that woman with an offer to shake her hand was met with warmness and affection by the woman. Some people even got hugs.

I was stunned.

I could not help but think that that woman intentionally snubbed me based upon the color of my skin!

What other reason could there have been?

I am an outgoing individual who was the only person in the group # 8 that was involved in the City of Worcester political process, as I am a Candidate for City Councilor At-Large, and I have made it a habit to befriend all people regardless of their ethnicity as I have always done, and I have to tell you, the way that woman snubbed me hurt me.

It seemed to me that she felt that I was beneath her, due to my having been born with “white privilege”!

Our group had a representative of the daily come in and take pictures, and no one made a protest about it. Another group actually was offended that a representative of the press attended their group, the group led by Professor Sonya Conner who actually brought up that their group did not like the media being there when it was her turn to speak from the podium, City Councilor Konstantina Lukes was in that group. Councilor Phil Palmieri was in another group, and Councilor Sarai Rivera was in yet another, as was City Councilor At-Large Morris Bergman. There were a lot of City Councilor and Candidates for City Council in attendance, I saw Candidate Krystian King there as well.

I was there not as a representative for the InCity Times but as a private citizen and a City Councilor At-Large Candidate, and I did not ask, nor take any photos of the private meeting group. Though I certainly could have.

All in all, I thought that it was a good meeting of the minds to help address legitimate concerns about racism here in Worcester and thought that a lot of valid points were brought up in the discussion that our group had, even by the woman who then snubbed me.

Discourse is a valuable tool in any negotiation, and a spirit of working together has a much better chance of getting results than to have people act the fool, riot, loot and burn.

I think these talks and the ones scheduled to yet take place will help the people find constructive ways to eliminate racism in our communities and ensure equal and fair treatment of all citizens regardless of race.

At least, that is what I hope comes of these talks.

Mr. Ronald L. O’Clair, Candidate for City Councilor At-Large, Worcester. Massachusetts.

If you liked this story, or did not like it, I would love to hear your feedback at: ronaldoclair@hotmail.com