Tag Archives: Worcester State University


TODAY! Be there! At Worcester State University …



editor’s note: I’m re-posting this column written by ICT contributing writer Parlee Jones … – R.T.

Parlee, center, and family

By Parlee Jones

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

– MLK, Jr.

Dear Dr. King,

As we prepare to celebrate your 8[8]th birthday, and also, the 5[2]st Anniversary of the Selma marches, I thought I would write you a letter, to let you know what’s been going on.

I have been thinking a lot about the civil rights movement and the protests that have been happening since the no indictment verdicts came in Ferguson, Missouri, after the murder of Michael Brown and in the murder of Eric Garner at the hands of the NYPD.

Some people are asking, why are they protesting, what do they want? What do they think protesting and shutting down city streets will do?

My response: What did Dr. King and his supporters think a bus boycott would do? What did they think a 50-mile march would do?

The bus boycott lasted 381 days. For one year and 16 days Black people in Montgomery, Alabama, did not use public transportation! Needless to say, that hit the city in the pocket-book. City officials resisted a long time. Them good old boys did not want those Black folks in the front of their buses. Really!

“Initially, the demands did not include changing the segregation laws; rather, the group demanded courtesy, the hiring of black drivers, and a first-come, first-seated policy, with whites entering and filling seats from the front and African Americans from the rear.

Although African Americans represented at least 75 percent of Montgomery’s bus ridership, the city resisted complying with the demands. To ensure the boycott could be sustained, black leaders organized carpools, and the city’s African-American taxi drivers charged only 10 cents-the same price as bus fare-for African-American riders. Many black residents chose simply to walk to work and other destinations. Black leaders organized regular mass meetings to keep African-American residents mobilized around the boycott.”

This is so powerful!

And then Selma, 10 years later!

Even after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbade discrimination in voting on the basis of race, efforts to register black voters met with fierce resistance in southern states such as Alabama .

In early 1965, you and SCLC decided to make Selma, located in Dallas County, Alabama, the focus of a voter registration campaign.

As you well know, Alabama Governor George Wallace was a notorious opponent of desegregation, and the local county sheriff in Dallas County had led a steadfast opposition to black voter registration drives. As a result, only 2 percent of Selma’s eligible black voters (300 out of 15,000) had managed to register.

You won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and you drew international attention to Selma during the eventful months that followed.

On February 18, white segregationists attacked a group of peaceful demonstrators in the nearby town of Marion. In the ensuing chaos, an Alabama state trooper fatally shot Jimmie Lee Jackson, a young African-American demonstrator. In response to Jackson’s death a massive protest march from Selma to the state capitol of Montgomery, 54 miles away was planned. A group of 600 people set out on Sunday, March 7, but didn’t get far before Alabama state troopers wielding whips, nightsticks and tear gas rushed the group at the Edmund Pettis Bridge and beat them back to Selma. The brutal scene was captured on television, enraging many Americans and drawing civil rights and religious leaders of all faiths to Selma in protest.

You also led another attempt to march on March 9, but turned the marchers around when state troopers again blocked the road.

That night, a group of segregationists beat another protester, the young white minister James Reeb, to death.

Alabama state officials (led by Walllace) tried to prevent the march from going forward, but a U.S. district court judge ordered them to permit it. President Lyndon Johnson also backed the marchers, going on national television to pledge his support and lobby for passage of new voting rights legislation he was introducing in Congress.

Some 2,000 people set out from Selma on March 21, protected by U.S. Army troops and Alabama National Guard forces that Johnson had ordered under federal control.

After walking some 12 hours a day and sleeping in fields along the way, they reached Montgomery on March 25.

Nearly 50,000 supporters-black and white-met the marchers in Montgomery, where they gathered in front of the state capitol to hear you and other speakers including Ralph Bunche (winner of the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize) address the crowd.

“No tide of racism can stop us,” you proclaimed from the building’s steps, as viewers from around the world watched the historic moment on television.

A movie based on the events of SELMA [was released last year]. Can’t wait to see it with my children, family, friends and their children. Because this is a piece of history from which we need to learn.

“We are faced with marches, protests and boycotts as we face the continued brutality of the police force against young people of color, who end up dead instead of in jail. Not only people of color, but the majority are.

We are developing a network of organizations and advocates to form a national policy specifically aimed at redressing the systemic pattern of anti-black law enforcement violence in the US. We are demanding, that the federal government discontinues it’s supply of military weaponry and equipment to local law enforcement. We are advocating for a decrease in law-enforcement spending at the local, state and federal levels and a reinvestment of that budgeted money into the black communities most devastated by poverty in order to create jobs, housing and schools. This money should be redirected to those federal departments charged with providing employment, housing and educational services.” www.BlackLivesMatter.com

Dr. King, the exposure of the injustices via the internet is world wide. It is so hurtful when these police officers are not found guilty of murder, when the murder took place in front of millions of people.

We are still striving to do this non-violently, but the blind are still so blind. We have our demands and are voting and trying to work through the system. A lot of our friends are still silent. We are trying to help our White allies understand their privilege. We are tired of burying our children. Things have improved since the 1950s and 1960s but, unfortunately, we still have a long way to go.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King! Your words still ring true in this day and time. We need your spirit with us, to help guide us, more than ever! Please stay near.

Peace and Blessings,

Parlee Jones


Worcester news you can use – always in style!


From Parlee Jones:

Community Kwanzaa Celebration – rescheduled for TONIGHT!

Kwanzaa: a Time of Reflection, Celebration and Family

Join us as we celebrate Kwanzaa! Bring a dish (Potluck) and enjoy entertainment and learn about Kwanzaa!

TONIGHT! Thursday, Jan. 5

6 pm to 8:30 pm

YWCA (One Salem Square, Worcester)

Parlee, center, and family








MARK YOUR CALENDARS! MLK JR. YOUTH BREAKFAST at Worcester State University – Saturday, January 14 – 9 a.m.


WSU parked in A.I. … Worcester State University students and faculty join fossil fuel divestment fund

The Worcester State University divestment team will start investing in the Multi-School Fossil Free Divestment Fund.

It will join 29 other universities across the country to ensure that donations go to investments that uphold the university’s core values rather than to the Worcester State Foundation’s current portfolio, which includes fossil fuel stocks.

“Students and faculty have worked since the spring of 2013 to persuade the
university’s president and foundation board that Worcester State must divest of its fossil fuels portfolio,” said Patricia Benjamin, associate professor in the Department of Earth, Environment and Physics. “The science is overwhelmingly on our side. We
must leave the oil in the ground and invest in wiser energy choices.”

The student-led divestment effort has included talks in classes, meetings
with university leaders, and a die-in at the university’s Board of Trustees meeting in March, said Ashley Seymour, a junior student divestment leader and biology major.

“One of the university’s core values is engaged citizenship,” Seymour said.
“WSU says it is preparing students to be active and informed citizens. It wants us to be involved in community service, the democratic process and environmental
sustainability efforts.”

The group’s divestment efforts yielded no results.

It will join the Multi-School Fossil Free Divestment Fund so those who want to support the university can do so
without violating their own moral principles.

Tax-deductible donated funds will be held in escrow in a socially responsible
investment account that does not invest in fossil fuels. These escrowed donations will be released to the Worcester State Foundation if it pledges, before the end of
2017, to divest from fossil fuels.

“The foundation must publicly announce that it has halted new investments
in the fossil fuel industry and present a plan to withdraw all existing investments in this sector within five years,” Benjamin said. “The Divestment Fund will then turn over the escrowed funds to Worcester State’s foundation.”

At the current rates of fossil fuel burning, the earth’s temperature could rise by 4 degrees Celsius by 2050, which is 2 degrees Celsius warmer than an
internationally agreed-upon limit. The World Bank has called this amount of
warming “devastating.”

The WSU student-led divestment site is http://wsudivest.wix.com/fossilfree

For further information about the Multi-State Fossil Fuel Divestment Fund, see

At Worcester State University: Dr. Cornell West, Too Smart  

West at WSU. photo: Gordon Davis

By Gordon Davis
Dr. Cornell West spoke at Worcester State University last night. He is a difficult man to understand, but most philosophers are. He certainly stepped on everyone’s toes without any apparent concrete ax to grind.

At first Dr. West talked about love and how it will change the world. By love he means love or the love of human interactions and charity. He feels this should be our primary motivation. He reminded me of a gentleman in Worcester who also says that his enemies will be swept away with this love.

Next Dr. West talked of integrity of the individual and how we should not succumb to the prostitution of ourselves for money and banality. It was almost sermonlike.

Then toes started to get stepped on. He said many of the churches preached the gospel of prosperity or pray to God and you will get rich or be free of material want.

He attacked President Obama, saying we have a Black President, a Black Attorney General and a Black head of Homeland Security, and the racist cops still are not being punished.

Dr. West had a good word for Malcolm X whom he saw as a model of the redemption of the individual, a man who could change his life for the better in terms of social interactions and leadership.

The Constitution of the United took a hit. Dr. West pointed out that the Constitution made legal the exploitative nature of the political bosses of the American Revolution, codifying slavery.  His point, as I understand it, is: the things that are legal are not always just; we should not fall into the trap of thinking legality equals justice.

There was an irony, I suppose, in his analysis of presidential candidate Donald Trump. Dr. West sarcastically called Donald Trump “brother.” He said brother Trump was not yet a fascist. Dr. West thought Trump to be an egomaniac who likes showing off how smart he is. The irony is that Dr. West seemed to be doing the same thing.

Unfortunately, most of West’s audience was Worcester State University students who did not seem to grasp the shock values of Dr. West’s assertions. The terms he used, like “neo liberal,” seemed to confuse many.

From my own experience, terms used by contemporary college students like “intersectionality” go over my head as well.

Dr. West is in his sixties, and a generational gap may be developing with semantics of the 1960s and 2010s. I heard some of the students leaving say that they wanted to cut through the crap and get to the message.

One of the things Dr. West does not have is a cause to fight for. He did not say he wanted to close down Guantanamo. He did not say he wanted a $15/hour minimum wage. He did say he was for a general redistribution of power.

When you do not have a cause, speech becomes more philosophical or ethical.  It is like someone showing off how smart he is. 

What I learned years ago from Dr. Hampsch, one of my philosophy teachers at Holy Cross, is that Karl Marx changed philosophy when he said our job is to make history, not just to study it. That thought came to me as I listened to Dr. West.

WSU parked in AI! … The City Speaks and Worcester State Listens!

Research meets the stage in this devised theatre production. CitySpeak is a joint project between the Urban Studies and Visual and Performing Arts departments of Worcester State University.

In the fall, an Urban Studies class, linked to a Devised Performance class, interviewed “humans of the city” to hear concerns, and listen to their stories and experiences.

The VPA students and faculty then breathed life into these stories, giving these humans voice through a devised theatre production. The production presents real stories, opening the conversation for change.

WHO: The Visual and Performing Arts and Urban Studies departments of Worcester State University, along with Worcester State Theatre.

WHAT: Teamed up to study the people living in the city and give their stories voice through a devised theatre production.

WHEN: April 7, 8, 9 at 8 p.m. and April 10 at 2 p.m.

Tickets available through BoxOffice@worcester.edu

WHERE: Fuller Theater, Shaughnessy Administration Bldg, WSU Campus

WHY: Exploring ideas that stem from interdisciplinary work, the faculty of the Urban Studies and Visual and Performing Arts departments at Worcester State found a way to cross the work of their students. They asked, “If we could act out the research, give it an image, what would that be like? What would come of it?” What came of it is a performance where Visual and Performing Arts and Urban Studies students combined research and theatre to give voice to the people whose voices are not often heard.

CitySpeak, a pilot program, is an innovative approach to arts-and research-based urban planning and community development.

In Academic Year 16, CitySpeak engaged in a year-long project that began in Fall ’15 with Urban Studies students conducting 54 interviews of Worcester residents about living in the city. Those interviews, evaluated and interpreted by VPA faculty and students, are serving as the basis for an original theatrical production, called CitySpeak, about the disconnect between residents and city leaders.

This Saturday! At Worcester State University! All-Day Organic Farming conference!

large_Ben Burkett image
Conference Keynote Speaker Ben Burkett


THIS Saturday,  January 16

(All day)

Worcester State University

Join us on January 16 for our annual one-day conference, which features 70 workshops and exhibitors; keynote speeches with Ben Burkett, family farmer and member of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives; children’s conference and more.

Keynote SpeakerBen Burkett

Ben Burkett is a fourth generation family farmer, who serves as the State Coordinator for the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives.

In 2014 he was awarded a James Beard Leadership Award. His cooperative provides watermelon and other southern grown fruits and vegetables to the communities of Boston. Burkett provides technical expertise to small-scale farmers, farmers with limited resources, and ranchers in rural communities.

He also assists farmers in implementing agricultural marketing/production and coordinates land retention. Burkett serves as the president of the National Family Farm Coalition and numerous boards of directors and has traveled to Senegal, South Africa, Kenya, Nicaragua, Lebanon, and Zimbabwe, exchanging knowledge and information with small-scale farmers.

Conference Schedule:

7:30 am

Registration/Exhibitors open (free tea and snacks for registrants)

9 am – 5:15 pm

Children/Teen Program

(Children/Teen program & Seminar follow same schedule as workshops)

9 – 10:30 am

Workshop Session 1

11:00 am – 12:15 pm

Annual Meeting and Keynote Address: Why Family Farms Matter

11:30 am – 1:30 pm

Organic catered lunch

1:30 – 3 pm

Workshop Session 2

3 – 3:45 pm

Break – Visit our exhibitors

3:45 – 5:15 pm

Workshop Session 3

6:00 pm

Exhibits Close

6:00 – 7:30 pm

Post-Conference Organic Dinner with Keynoter: Intimate conversation around Mr. Burkett’s 7 year carbon sequestration trials

Beginning Farmer Fall Workshop and Winter Conference Scholarships
These scholarships provide Beginning Farmers (farming 10 years or less) with a 50% discount on NOFA/Mass Fall Workshop and Winter Conference registration.

Workshops (workshop descriptions)

All workshops are approved for AOLCP accreditation.

The following workshops are approved Continuing Education Units. Each workshop is equal to 1.5 hour credit. To receive credit the Certified Crop Advisor must sign in at workshop:

New Plant Nutrient Regulations

Making Major Money with Minor Crops: Producing Profit on the Edges

Plant Disease Update: 2015 Year in Review

Effective Pricing Strategies for Local Markets

How to Run Your Own Payroll

Assessing & Managing Agricultural Risks on Your Farm

Five Steps to a Food Justice Farm

Biopesticides: How, When and Why to Use Them

Maximizing the On-farm Benefits of Cover Crops

Vegetable Pests and Diseases in Urban Areas

CLICK HERE to register and for more information!

Environmental awareness at Worcester State University

Bidder70Poster9.28.15 copy

350MA – Central Mass is co-hosting a free showing of Bidder 70 followed by a Q&A with Tim DeChrstopher – Bidder 70 himself!

Bidder 70 centers on an extraordinary, ingenious and effective act of civil disobedience demanding government and industry accountability.

In 2008, University of Utah economics student Tim DeChristopher committed an act which would redefine patriotism in our time, igniting a spirit of civil disobedience in the name of climate justice.

Follow Tim, Bidder 70, from college student to incarcerated felon.

Redefine justice for yourself. Choose your side.


At Worcester State University! For all us animals …

Merchants of Doubt Poster

350MA – Central MA is co-hosting another Environmental Night at Worcester State University!

Tuesday, September 29

7 p.m.

Worcester State University

FREE public screening of Merchants of Doubt

Film Synopsis:

Inspired by the acclaimed book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, MERCHANTS OF DOUBT takes audiences on a satirically comedic, yet illuminating ride into the heart of conjuring American spin.

Filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the curtain on a secretive group of highly charismatic, silver-tongued pundits-for-hire who present themselves in the media as scientific authorities – yet have the contrary aim of spreading maximum confusion about well-studied public threats ranging from toxic chemicals to pharmaceuticals to climate change.

Hope to see you there!!!

Chandler Street: at Worcester State University


350 Massachusetts – Central MA Node is co-sponsoring …

an Environmental Film Night …

at Worcester State University, 486 Chandler St.

Sunday, July 26

5 pm – 8 pm

Ghosh Sci-Tech building, Room 102

The evening will begin with several selected short films, including Forest Man, an award winning short!

Our feature film is Chasing Ice.

Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Watch as a team of photographers deploys revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic, capturing a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers — and undeniable evidence of our changing planet. This movie is not to be missed!

The night will include refreshments, door prizes and plenty of opportunity to hear more about the growing environmental movement in Massachusetts and beyond!