Tag Archives: InCity Times

🕎🕎Hanukkah 2021🕎🕎🕎🕎

By Edith Morgan

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Edith🕎🕎🕎

The celebration season is upon us, and this year the holidays seem closer one upon the other than usual. And in one way or another, most major religions are observing holidays – joyful events, with lights and candles.

And so, on the eve of Sunday, November 28, Jews around the world will light the first candle of the eight day observation of Hanukkah.

This holiday is not one of the major observances, unlike Passover and the New Year and Yom Kippur, but it is an extended occasion for joy, feasting, family get-togethers and free enjoyment of food, games, wine and entertainment.

Hanukkah celebrates the occurrence of a minor “miracle” over 2,000 years ago when once again the Jews recaptured that Temple in Jerusalem and set about removing pagan idols, restoring walls and floors, bringing back some of what had been stolen or destroyed and preparing the Temple for worship again.

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Celebrate Hanukkah!

As the legend goes, when they tried to burn the oil in the Temple, there was only one day’s worth of oil left, but miraculously it burned for EIGHT days – hence the eight-day-long celebration. The holiday commemorates the regaining of the Temple, and therefore is one of great joy and celebration. Coincidentally, it comes around harvest time and at the beginning of winter for those of us who live in zones where there are four seasons and where we like to have fun before winter sets in …

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Yummy potato latkes!♥️♥️♥️

The traditional eight-armed candelabra, known as a Menorah, also has one extra arm, for the servant (the Shamash) who is used to light all the other candles, one more each night, until all eight are lit. (A fun math problem is to ask the children how many candles it will take for all eight days). While there is no real gift exchange, there is “gelt” (money) which nowadays often takes the form of chocolate-filled gold or silver coins.

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Dreidel … and gelt, chocolate coins

There are some traditional foods associated with Hanukkah: probably the best known is “latkes” (potato pancakes), usually served hot with sour cream or apple sauce. Today some variations also include latkes made with sweet potatoes.

I have a whole collection of “Dreidels,” the four-cornered top that is the source of a lot of the games played at Hanukkah. They usually contain a Hebrew letter on each side, spelling out the first letter of the Hebrew saying that ”A miracle happened here.” In some homes children and adults make their own dreidels, and you can get quite skilful at spinning them like tops and winning games.

There is also music associated with this holiday, most commonly sung is the one to the tune of the well-known hymn, ”Rock of Ages.” As a child I knew several verses in German we sang at home as we lit the candles.

So, enjoy this holiday and its many fun days, and eat and be merry!

Native American Day today … yesterday: Day of Mourning for Native Americans

By Jim Coughlin

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Jim

The statue of the Indian leader, Massaasoit for whom the State of Massachusetts is named, is located in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The town was the scene on Thanksgiving Day for a gathering of over 1,000 Native Americans and their supporters who held their 52nd annual “National Day of Mourning” to protest what every speaker at two rallies called “the myth of Thanksgiving.”

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Traumatic times … Native Americans relive them each thanksgiving holiday. Photos by J.C.

The copy in a flier passed out to those gathered at the demonstration held on Cole’s Hill in Plymouth read: “Many Native people do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims and other European settlers. Thanksgiving Day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands and the erasure of Native Cultures. Participants in National Day of Mourning honor Indigenous ancestors and Native resilience.”

So, in that spirit it was entirely fitting that this year’s protest lead-off speaker was Keisha, the granddaughter of Wamsutter, the Native American local leader who organized the first Day of Mourning, back in 1970.

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Traditions are held to tightly … and passed on to the next generation.

She was introduced as a “young woman and a recent graduate of Wellesley College.” She revved up the crowd and spoke with a great deal of passion about the Native American community’s distaste for Thanksgiving that has most White European North Americans celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with joy, happiness and contentment.

She began by saying, “We carry on the tradition and mourn our ancestors and speak truth to power.”

She noted that her grandfather in 1970 ran onto the Mayflower ship that is docked in the Plymouth harbor (not very far from the Plymouth Rock) and “threw the English flag overboard into the ocean.” He later visited the Plymouth museum and took some bones of Native Americans on display there “and gave them a proper burial.”

She also said that Wansutter was warned by the local Pilgrim organizers that when celebrating Thanksgiving that they “did not want a speech that was too inflammatory,” against Thanksgiving.

She said the first gathering of the local protest only had about 200 Native Americans who attended the Day of Mourning. However, since then it has blossomed into a national event drawing for this year’s event both speakers from as far away as New Orleans, Louisiana, and attendees from the Bronx in New York City.

Among those attending the rallies was David E. Smith of Warwick, Rhode Island, who told this reporter that he is “a twelfth generation descendant of Chief Massasoit.”

On October 8, 2008, former United States President George W. Bush enacted “Native American Heritage Day,” which is a commemorative holiday honoring the heritage of our country’s Native Americans.

The legislation was sponsored by both Representative Joe Baca, (D – CA) and the late Senator John McCain, (R – Arizona) who was the Chair of the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs at the time this law was enacted. The day for this holiday is “designated as the Friday after Thanksgiving to pay tribute to Native Americans for their many contributions to the United States.”

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President Joe Biden should pass an executive order: FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOR ALL NATIVE AMERICANS. A helping hand into the middle class …

This reporter could not miss the opportunity to ask Massaasoit’s “many great grandson” to comment on “Native American Heritage Day.” Smith said, “The United States [government] can do whatever they want. There are two governments, the United States government and the Indian government. They are not my government.”

Also in attendance at the protests was a delegation from Worcester. I interviewed Bon Banyamyan, a leader of a ministry called, “The Rise of the Chosen” which is located near downtown Worcester. Banyamyan described his spiritual movement as “a Hebraic Bible-based Street ministry.” He said he traveled from Worcester on Thanksgiving to the National Day of Mourning “to stand in solidarity with his Native American brothers and sisters.”

Thanksgiving 2021

By Edith Morgan

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Edith

I got up this morning to a clear blue sky, a windless fall day, feeling that all was right with my world. No aches and pains, no complaints, all systems working. And for this day I am very grateful. Most of us who reach my age (I am 91 years old now) are thankful for every day.

And since Thanksgiving is almost here, it is time to take stock, particularly of all that we take for granted. We complain a lot about the small annoyances of daily life, grouse about irritations, criticize those near and dear to us, and generally dwell on the negatives in our lives. So now is the time to take stock of all we have to be thankful for.

Personally, I know I live extraordinarily well – big comfortable house, warm in winter, cool in summer – and full of all the memorabilia that I have accumulated in the past 54 years that I have lived here in Worcester – things that serve to remind me every day as I pass by them who gave them to me and why – keeping my memory sharp.

Good health is such a great blessing, though we so often take it for granted. Time to be thankful for that and to cherish it. Without it, not much is possible.

For me, this year, I am particularly grateful for:

My health, my great neighbors whom I have gotten to know and who in so many ways make my life more pleasant and safe. Besides adding to the cultural richness of this area … I am also grateful to those in the greater Worcester community who serve us quietly and efficiently every day: they pick up our trash and our recyclables, sweep our streets twice a year, come and attend to our street trees when they need trimming and maintain our 60 city parks. And nearby my home here, ever watchful, our fire department stands ready to help.

I am also thankful that I live so close to every possble amenity I could think of, within walking distance. I have always told people that I have birth-to-death facilities here in my Lincoln Street neighborhood: Hahnemann Hospital, Nordgren Funeral parlor, and all the businesses needed for daily life. I am two houses down from Green Hill Park, Worcester’s greatest park – and we have the Joy of Music and The Sprinkler Factory. I could go on and on naming all that we have here, but you get the idea.

I am also grateful that I live and vote in a state which seems by and large to be filled with responsible citizens and provides for its neediest, supports its public education facilities, and welcomes those who are strangers or need asylum. I will always be grateful to the United States of America, which took my Jewish family in when we escaped Europe as the Nazis killed millions in our homeland … We were not able to find refuge anywhere else. I’m thankful for the Quakers who took us to Iowa, taught my parents English and American history and prepared us to become citizens.

Why many Americans will celebrate ThanksVegan this year

By Heather Mooreturkey-less-stuffed-roast-gravy-label-602x350-1447097445
TRADER JOE’S Veggie holiday roll …TRY IT THIS THANKSGIVING! There’s a TJ’s in Shrewsbury!

At least 47% of Americans are likely to eat more vegan foods this Thanksgiving, according to food industry analysts. The forecast sounds pretty accurate, considering that turkey prices are expected to hit record highs this year, and more and more people are becoming increasingly concerned about human health and environmental and animal welfare issues.

Rather than putting a turkey’s carcass on the table, many people will be celebrating ThanksVegan — a fresh new take on the Thanksgiving holiday — and gorging on tasty vegan versions of traditional favorites, including stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberries and pumpkin pie. Both seasoned and aspiring vegans can also enjoy a savory vegan roast, stuffed squash or other vegan main dish.

ThanksVegan meals reflect mercy and kindness, not suffering and death. Turkeys are friendly, inquisitive birds who like gobbling along to music, having their feathers stroked and spending time with kindhearted humans. At some sanctuaries, turkeys greet guests, eager for treats and affection. They’ve even been known to fall asleep in visitors’ laps while being petted.

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Inhumane …

Rescued turkeys are treated radically different from those who are killed for food. According to the USDA, about 46 million turkeys are slaughtered for Thanksgiving each year. Most are raised in dark, filthy, cramped sheds. They’re unable to run, build nests, raise their young or do anything else that’s natural and important to them.

Many are fed antibiotics in order to stimulate growth and keep them alive in the sickening living conditions, at least long enough for them to be killed when they’re between just 3 and 5 months old. Because of the antibiotics, turkeys grow so big that they can barely walk, let alone mate. That’s why turkeys are typically bred through artificial insemination.

Part of the birds’ beaks are cut off with a hot blade to keep them from pecking one another out of stress and frustration. Males’ snoods (the fleshy appendage that hangs down from their beaks) are chopped off, too. These procedures are performed without pain relievers, even though they cause excruciating acute and lasting pain.

Even birds at self-professed “humane” farms are grotesquely abused. Over the summer, a PETA investigator saw workers at “certified humane” farms in Pennsylvania kick, choke, stomp on and throw birds around. They also hit them with an iron bar and used them to mimic sex acts.

One crew position was even called the “kick,” because kicking was that person’s role in loading the birds onto trucks.

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The stress of being crammed into tiny cages, thirst, terror all combine to create situations where turkeys self-mutilate and pluck each other’s feathers.

After they arrive at the slaughterhouse, turkeys are often scalded to death in the tanks of water used for feather removal.

There’s nothing “humane” about killing turkeys or any other animals for food. Thankfully, most stores now carry plenty of vegan options, which are truly humane, healthy and in keeping with the seasonal spirit of gratitude. They’re also environmentally friendly. Researchers have found that animal-based foods account for a whopping 83.5% of food-related greenhouse-gas emissions in the U.S.

So, be grateful that there are so many plant foods available, and have a happy and humane ThanksVegan!

🥕🥦🍆🥔🍠🥕🥔🥔🥦🥦💚

💚Vegan Cooking Cheat Sheet💚:

Vegan-Cooking-Tips

New Eyes for the Worcester Public Schools?

By Edith Morgan

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Edith✏️📖🎒📚🇺🇸

The search for a new school superintendent for our Worcester Public Schools is on, and we are told that we need “new eyes“ for the leardership of our city’s school system.

I never saw any kind of definition as to what that really meant. Is that some kind of code for whatever change someone wants, or are we finally talking about some real change in the heart of our school system, namely our curriculum?

I have railed for so long about our truly deplorable curriculum, which contains so much that is of little or no use to young people entering this world as it is now and which is designed primarily to enable them to answer questions that can be machine-corrected for the most part, with a few actual thoughtful essays thrown in? For alleged budgetary reasons, we have gradually eliminated every kind of learning that makes for a thoughtful, engaged, life-long learner. Above all, a critical thinker able to take part in one of the few democratic nations left on the planet.

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The WORCESTER PUBLIC SCHOOLS is a majority-minority school system. Our city leaders are hoping to hire a new WPS school superintendent who will be sensitive to our city schools’ diverse student body through hiring more minority teachers, updating curriculum, being sensitive to all students and their families’ backgrounds … This November two minority Worcester School Committee candidates were voted into office. The new WSC will convene in January 2022.

Will the Worcester School Committee be finding a new school superintendent (the commitee voted not to renew WPS Superintendent Maureen Binenda’s contract, even for one more year) who can have the training, vision and backing to make such major changes? Will we fund these changes? Or will we put all our attention on new buildings, minutiae in the existing curriculum, trying to pacify the loudest and most aggressive groups with various sops?

We are constantly spending all kinds of time on “sex education,” as though it were a major part of the curriculum. Now we are so concerned about how and what we teach about our American history: does it start in 1776, 1692, 1619 – or even before?

This continent was fully inhabited before we Europeans got here. And now we are unearthing remains of even older inhabitants, Vikings, others, maybe. What is the job of our schools to be inclusive of all that information?

And will our new WPS school superintendent be able to change the chronological age-based system to better reflect the vast differences in the mental and physical development of children so we stop producing “disabled” children who are merely wrongly placed or whose learning styles differ?

These are a few of the questions that should occupy the Worcester School Committee, City Council, and other city politicians who should be the leaders in these areas.

I am still waiting …

Worcester’s Veterans🇺🇲🇺🇸 – always in style🇺🇸♥️!

Celebrating Worcester’s Veteran’s Day Breakfast and Events

Text and photos by James Coughlin

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Jim!

It has been said many times that Worcester is a very special place to live. Some of those who say that liken Worcester to living in city that also geels like a town where everyone knows everyone else.

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The Marines, the US military’s elite

One overwhelming and indisputable fact is that people who live here, in my experience and in the experience of many people who live here, is that we care a lot about each other. And that caring attitude and understanding was very much on display yesterday as Worcester bheld its commemoration of Veterans Day.

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Vets at the special breakfast on Grove Street

A lot of wonderful things happened; it was a celebratory time: the events included an 8:30 a.m. breakfast at the Worcester Shelter for Homeless Veterans on Grove Street (at the site of the former Worcester Armory), a short parade to Lincoln Square and another ceremony later on in the day at the site of the Massachusetts Vietnam Memorial at Green Hill Park.

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The ceremony’s attendees were diverse …

What perhaps was most beautiful to see was that everyone who was there mingled freely with everyone else. Moreover, and what was most gratifying, it was held at a homeless shelter. And that was not a barrier in the least for top ranking city officials of such as Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus, Congressman James P. “Jim” McGovern and members of the Worcester City Council to mingle freely with our homeless and disabled vets, along with other members of the public: their constituents, the people whom the late U. S. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neil of Cambridge called, “His Board of Directors.”

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Staff of the Worcester Homeless Veteran’s Shelter march in the city’s Veteran’s Day parade.

Among those in attendance at the Veterans Day Breakfast was Richard “Rick” Cipro who is a Sergeant in the Worcester Police Department and who also is a veteran of The Iraq War. Not only that, he was deployed to Washington, D. C. back in January of this year in the wake of the insurrection at our nation’s Capitol Building on January 6. He ran unsuccessfully for Worcester City Council in the recently held election for district One City Councillor. He ran against popular incumbent City Councillor Sean Rose. To his credit, Cipro did not bury his head in the sand after his election loss: he came out on Veterans Day to be with his brother and sister comrades to celebrate Veterans Day.

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The crew at the shelter served up a tasty breakfast!

City Manager Augustus, who has provided excellent leadership and has presided over a building renaisance of the city, was happy to tell this reporter how proud he is that the city this week opened at UMass/Memorial healthcare in conjunction with the U.S. Veterans Administration, VA, a health clinic for veterans in the area needing medical care so they don’t have to travel all the way to Boston, Providence or Springfield to get proper medical care.

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At the vets shelter: health care advocates do outreach

This is what leadership and Worcester is all and that’s about helping each other out as newly installed Director of the Worcester Veterans Department, Alex R. Arriaga himself an Army Veteran of Iraq, said at a brief ceremony that was later held at Lincoln Square. “We are family,” he said.

And that’s what Worcester is all about in the final analysis – and don’t you forget it !

Remembering Lincoln Street Neighborhood Activist Nancy Johnson

By Edith Morgan

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Edith!

On Wednesday, November 10, 2021, a group of her long-time neighbors assembled at the World War II Memorial at the intersection of Lincoln and Burncoat streets to pay a final homage to Dr. Nancy Johnson, for whom the street between the memorial and a funeral home was named a few years back.
Nancy was truly a model for us all: as a passionate educator who influenced so many college students as a professor at Worcester State University, as a neighbor who was always out there in our Lincoln Street neighborhood helping in so many ways; as a home owner who always maintained her property attractively; and as a watchdog over neighborhood properties she felt did not meet her rigorous standards for what a neighborhood should look like.

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The city street sign reads: NANCY JOHNSON WAY

I remember the years that Nancy and her great German Shepherd would patrol Lincoln Street, Nancy picking up litter and pulling up weeds. They made their journey all the way from the expressway by Lincoln Square to the overpass approaching the great insurance complex!!!

Nancy maintained a special relationship with the Worcester DPW, who picked up the great number of trash bags she filled, and with the Code Department, who were kept apprised of any building code violations (usually due to absentee landlords) that needed to be reported to the City.

Nancy was for many years a faithful member of our Brittan Square Neighborhood Association, writing up histories of the numerous buildings on Lincoln Street that had played a role in America’s history. She was an indefatigable historian and served as a docent at the Worcester Art Museum, among the many other things that interested her. She volunteered at the Worcester Historical Museum, too.

Nancy was also a great friend to me personally – and I still have so many of the tasteful gifts she bestowed upon me through the years. They are always here as a reminder of her generosity – she never forgot a birthday!

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The late Nancy Johnson’s beloved Lincoln Street.

For the next few days there will be many remembrances of her various endeavors, in various places, by those whom she touched over the years – Worcester remembers … I fervently hope that her example will be remembered and continued by young and old alike!

Mom and Autumn Leaves

By Rosalie Tirella

At Butler Farm in Millbury, it’s so gorgeous out here: God’s gift to me and my dogs during hard times. …A few days ago I was at the farm’s dog park working on CECELIA, writing up invoices, when I opened my file folders to find a few autumn leaves pressed between my notebook covers: a little scarlet leaf, a little gold leaf. They must have fluttered inside my open notebooks from the trees above where I sit at the dog park. The farm’s trees look like a vintage necklace now, amber, gold, ruby, as they completely surround the park, right outside the dog park fence.

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11/9: Jett at the dog park. Photos: R.T.

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Trees surround the park

When I saw the two autumn leaves in my folder all at once my heart lept up! My late mother came to me, and all the love I felt for her when I was a child swallowed me whole. It was a happiness I hadn’t experienced in years! I saw my late mom, in her early 40s, picking autumn leaves off the sidewalk on Grosvenor Street, beneath that huge huge tree that covered Helen’s Corner Store like an umbrella…here it was fall and she had walked out with me after work to pick out the most beautiful fall leaves in Green Island. We had so many trees on Grosvenor Street – you walked to Lamartine Street School under the rustling canopy…and were transported…

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The leaves in Rose’s notebook

Rosalie! my mother shouts to me. Look at this one! and she shows me a big yellow leaf. She doesn’t know the tree’s name – I don’t ask, neither do I, though I’m certain we had a quiz on them in science class. I pick up a ruby maple leaf – also huge – and yell back: Look Ma! We are ankle-deep in autumn leaves. Waves and waves of beautiful but brittle leaves, so they crackle as we wade through them all. We walk to the next tree – a different kind – and stoop to gather a few of its fallen jewels. We are holding our big beautiful leaves like bouquets of flowers … There is a chestnut tree down the street and we go to it so I can grab a handful of the gorgeous round nuts. I love their deep brown. My Jaju from Poland – my grandfather and my mother’s father – used to roast them and eat them by the stove. When my mother was a little girl he’d take her blueberry picking with him in the neighborhood. He’d pick mushrooms, too.

I can hear thousands of leaves rustling in the wind as Ma and I collect the fallen ones. I look up at the crisp blue sky and see them all clinging to their branches for dear life, swaying in the October breeze. “Nothing gold can stay” I recite the Frost poem, two stanzas, easy to remember, for my recitation project at school. Someone has tried to remember all by heart The Raven by Poe. I chose easy – I am shy, my classmate is brave, but I remember my Frost poem today and whisper it to myself.

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Evocative leaf …

It’s almost supper time, so Ma and I stop collecting leaves and walk home to our Lafayette Street tenement. It’s a pleasant five-minute walk. After my sisters, Ma and I have eaten supper, Ma and I take out our beautiful fall leaves and press them in Ma’s old gold -leafed dictionary. It’s got a black cloth cover. It’s thick and looks like the Bible. But Ma would never press leaves in a Bible! It’s her dictionary, the one she lets me use to do my homework for Mr. Monfredo, my teacher. Her old boss, the Bishop of Springfield, gave it to her years ago during the Great Depression. Here it was 1969 and we were living in Green Island and I was in fifth grade at Lamartine Street School and Ma was helping me make a leaf collage for art class. Ma loved art, drawing … sketching little lambs with my number 2 pencil in my notebook.

To press the leaves, Ma went to her tall white metal kitchen cabinet whose doors never stayed closed and got out her roll of wax paper. Tearing 15 or 20 squares off the roll, she had me gently place one individual leaf between two squares of wax paper. Then she slid the square between two of the pages in her six-inch thick dictionary. It contained every word in the English language she once told me! We did this for the prettiest leaves; the rest I took into my bedroom and laid them on my bed and stared at their beauty and turned them over and touched their fine veins with my index finger and brought one to my nose to smell it. I would scotch tape a few to my wall, right next to my David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman pictures I cut out of my cousin’s hand me down Tiger Beat magazine. I would be in my room, with my little girl treasures, content, even a little giddy.

My mother had made my day. Once again.

Vegetarianism – always in style! 🌽🫑🍞🥦Especially during Thanksgiving!🍠🥔💚🥬🫑🍆🥕💚🌽🥦

November is World Vegan Month!

By Heather Moore

Happy World Vegan Month! Every November, vegans and vegan-curious folk — those interested in trying more healthful, humane foods —bcelebrate the ever-growing popularity of vegan living. Journalists estimate that there are at least 79 million vegans in the world, based on the numbers recorded in Australia, India, the U.K., the U.S. and other nations with a blossoming vegan population. A 2020 study found that the number of vegans in the U.S. alone increased by 300% — about 9.6 million people — between 2004 and 2019.

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This Thanksgiving go for the TOFURKEY vegan holiday roast with stuffing – available at TRADER JOE’S IN SHREWSBURY, rt 9, right over the bridge.

If you haven’t already, why not pledge to go vegan for World Vegan Month? You’ll be in good company, and you’ll have plenty of options. Experts forecast that the global vegan food market will mushroom to over $24 billion by 2026, and analysts at Barclays bank predict that the global vegan food and drink market will expand by more than 1,000% by the end of the decade.

Vegans are sprouting up left and right because of mounting concerns about cruelty to animals, the climate crisis and health problems. I went vegan 28 years ago, primarily for ethical reasons. I was vegetarian for several years before that, until I realized that I was still supporting cruelty to animals, albeit unintentionally.

I knew that cows killed for their flesh are branded with hot irons, their horns are cut or burned off, and the males are castrated — without pain relief — but I didn’t understand that cows forced to produce milk suffer just as much, if not more.

On dairy farms, cows are repeatedly and forcibly impregnated so that they’ll produce a steady supply of milk for human consumption. When they give birth, their calves are taken away from them — the males are often killed for veal, and the females are sentenced to the same fate as their mothers. Eventually, they all end up at the slaughterhouse, dangling by a hind leg with their throats cut.

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Today!

And while I knew that it’s cruel to cram chickens raised for meat — smart, sentient birds who grieve when they lose a loved one — into filthy, severely crowded sheds before cutting their throats and often scalding them to death, I wasn’t aware that similar abuses are inflicted on egg-laying hens.

Most egg-laying hens spend their lives confined to a space the size of a standard file cabinet drawer with up to 10 others, unable even to lift a wing. A portion of each bird’s sensitive beak is cut off with a hot blade. Male chicks are useless to hatcheries — they don’t produce eggs, and they aren’t bred to produce the excessive flesh desired by the meat industry — so they’re usually suffocated or tossed into a grinder while they’re still alive.

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Beaks are removed when they are alive; they are scalded in hot water!! EAT LESS MEAT!!!

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Abuse, abuse, abuse … EAT LESS MEAT AND FEWER EGG DISHES!

Since animals are routinely killed by both the milk and egg industries, being vegetarian wasn’t enough for me. Fortunately, vegan options are now easy to find. Vegan foods not only taste great, they’re cruelty- and cholesterol-free and generally low in saturated fat. Vegans are less likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and vegan foods don’t cause animal-borne diseases, such as bird flu, swine flu and COVID-19. If you’re concerned about the environment, you’ll be pleased to know that producing vegan food uses up fewer resources and generates a lower volume of greenhouse gases than producing animal-derived foods does.

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Save the planet, make more of your meals plant-based!

When you consider the many benefits of going vegan, it makes sense that millions of people are celebrating World Vegan Month this November.

Will you be one of them?
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Do it for the planet, your health and the beautiful, sentient animals!

🦌🦌🦌🦌🦌🦌🦌🦌🦌🦌🦌

And … Vegan baking cheat-sheet for your holidays!♥️💚🍃:

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Finally! The Worcester School Committee begins to reflect the WPS’s student body!

By Jim Coughlin

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Jim😊

There will be a more diversified Worcester School Committee in January 2022 … On November 2, the voters of Worcester finally had their say and made some very distinct choices for city council in both the race for at large and district Worcester city councillors. However, “change” was not confined to the race for city council.

The Worcester School Committee election also resulted in perhaps more “change” on a percentage basis because, out of the seven members on the Worcester School Committee come January, three will be three new members. That’s almost half of the school committee!

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New Worcester School Committee member Jemoh Kamara. Yes!!

These changes were a result of two retirements: long-time members of the school committee, John Monfredo and Jack Foley, chose not to seek re-election this year. These vacancies, combined with the crucial vote taken earlier this year by school committee woman Dianne Biancheria not to support the school superintendent’s proposed “sex education” curriculum, angered enough progressive parents throughout the city to scuttle Biancheria’s re-election.

The school committee election results were also due to a large coalition of African-American and Latino parents and yes, white voters, who have complained for quite some time about the all-white European American composition of the Worcester School Committee and that their voices “were not being heard.”

They were right to raise this issue that with about a 70% demographic population of the Worcester Public Schools consisting of students of color – between African American, Latino and Asian – it is simply not right and equitable to have no representation for those children amongst the membership of the governing and policy making board for the Worcester Public Schools: the Worcester School Committee.

According to the consent decree from the United States District Court, the demographic population of the Worcester Public Schools for the 2019/2020 school year is even more telling: 43.1% of students are Latino/, 29.1% are White European North American and 16.9% identify as Black or African American. A case can also be made for district representation for the school committee on the basis that 45% of Worcester residents are non-white.

So, parents exercised their rights under the constitution and the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution, along with court decision precedence and brought this question into United States Federal Court. Their collective action resulted in a consent decree which will absolutely guarantee district elections for the Worcester School Committee in 2023. I have some experience of having worked as a paralegal in the past. Many years ago, I overheard a lawyer for the City of Worcester quietly say to someone at City Hall, “The only language that some people understand is a law suit.”

It’s just too bad that it had to take a federal law suit to bring about these changes for district representation on the school committee. But the ballot box is another means of redressing one’s individual and collective grievances. The voters of Worcester made good sense in trying to address this more than obvious wrong by choosing Jermaine Johnson, LICSW, a Social Worker and a first time African American candidate for school committee who not only was elected by wide margin, but he finished in first place.

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Jermaine Johnson and loved ones on election night. Photos submitted.

In a telephone interview with this reporter election night, after what Johnson said was “a historic win,” (and with great emotion in his voice) he said, “I am absolutely ecstatic.” And in another interview with him on the Sunday following election, he said that his phone has been ringing continuously since election night from people extending their congratulations to him upon his election to the Worcester School Committee. “I am humbled by my election,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s first place finish was a first for Worcester because Worcester has never had an African American man on the school committee before, only African American women. The tide of African American women serving on our school committee began with the late Mrs. Elizabeth L. “Betty” Price being the first woman of color to win a seat on the Worcester School Committee in 1973, and winning re-election in 1975. Since 1975, there have been three other women of color who have been elected to the Worcester School Committee: Shirley Wright, who for years worked side by side with her pastor husband leading the iconic Emanuel Baptist Church of Main South; Professor Greta O’Neil, Ph.d, a former psychology professor at the College of the Holy Cross; and Hilda Ramirez, a Latina woman who heads The Latino Institute at Worcester State University.

Also elected to the Worcester School Committee on November 2 was Jemoh Kamara, an African American woman candidate, originally from Liberia, Africa, who immigrated to Worcester with her family when she was 11 years old. She attended the Worcester Public Schools and holds a Masters Degree and currently works as a public health professional. Kamara said she has in the past worked as a professor as WPI teaching “Project-based Social Science Research.”

Kamara came in 5th place in the race for school committee garnering, 7,994 votes, or 1,090 votes ahead of incumbent school committee member Molly McCullough who finished in 6th place.

Kamara also holds the title of being the first candidate for the school committee to have immigrated from a foreign country (the previously war-torn country of Liberia), attend the Worcester Public Schools and be elected to the Worcester School Committee. She went to Canterbury Street Elementary School, Sullivan Middle School and graduated from South High in 2011.

All of Worcester should be enormously proud of both of these successful school committee candidates for their electoral accomplishments. Johnson, like Professor Kamara, is amply qualified to serve on the Worcester School Committee. He is a Social Worker, and God only knows social workers hear everything in the line of people’s personal problems. I absolutely guarantee everyone, nothing will surprise a social worker, they’ve seen so much …

When the school committee gets to discussing children and students at their meetings, Johnson can readily apply his professional education and experience as a social worker in helping him and his colleagues make official public policy for all of our school system’s more than 25,000 students in a fair and equitable way.

Johnson is also a graduate of Worcester’s South High Community School.

The third newly elected member of the Worcester School Committee is Susan Coghlin-Mailman who is white and finished in second place right behind Jermaine Johnson, receiving 8,872 votes. Mailman has a background of volunteering for years in Worcester in a variety of genres, including being the chair of the Quinsigamond Community College Board of Trustees and as the past board president of the YWCA of Central Massachusetts. She is also a strong backer of the “backbone of our country” – organized labor and the men and women of the AFL-CIO.

So, all in all, I believe the students and the parents of children attending the Worcester Public Schools will be well served for the next two years by the three new members of the Worcester School Committee.