Cambridge joined 30 other Massachusetts cities and downs May 13 when the members of the Cambridge City Council voted unanimously May 13 to pass a resolution supporting a much needed change in the Massachusetts flag and seal. The final draft of the resolution is attached here. Originally offered by Councillors Sumbul Siddiqui and Dennis Carlone, the resolution was in the end co-sponsored by all nine city councillors.
Cambridge residents Linda Brion-Meisels, a retired Lesley University professor of education; Joaquin Inchaustegui, a Dominican-born Cambridge resident, and Tom King, a Hopi tribal member, gave moving presentations. Harvard Divinity student Sofia Wolman spoke of the importance of symbols.
Cole Harrison, speaking for Massachusetts Peace Action, recalled that the American way of war, which combines irregular and regular forms of violence and is still used today in the so-called “War on Terror”, originated in 17th century Massachusetts. The public comments were all very heart-felt and meaningful to the discussion.
Cambridge residents Michelle Napoli, an artist; Charles Franklin; Amy Medford; two African-American and native representatives of the Massachusett nation, spoke in favor. Shelly Lowe, a Navajo member and executive director of Harvard’s Native American Program, spoke with emotion, as did the final speaker, Lowe’s 9 year old daughter.
Students at the Baldwin School wrote supportive letters in small groups and Linda Brion-Meisels turned these in.
Mayor Marc McGovern gave a very thoughtful and moving presentation and was followed by council members who each spoke to why the change was relevant and important to their concerns and values as city councillors.
Cities and towns that have recently passed resolutions calling for change in the state flag and seal include:
Amherst, Ashfield, Buckland (unanimous) Brewster, Cambridge (unanimous), Chatham, Colrain, Conway, Cummington, Eastham, Erving, Gill, Greenfield (unanimous), Hadley, Leverett, Lincoln, Montague, New Salem, Northampton (unanimous), Northfield, Orange, Orleans, Pelham (unanimous) Plainfield (unanimous), Provincetown (unanimous), Royalston, Shutesbury (unanimous), Sunderland, Warwick, Wendell (unanimous), and Whately.
The bills to change the State Flag and Seal, H.2776 and S1877, are now before the legislature’s Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight, which is expected to hold a hearing on them this summer or fall. For more information, see masspeaceaction.org/change-the-state-flag-and-seal/, changethemassflag.com, and maindigenousagenda.org/.