Thursday, March 23, 2006

HAPPY 207th BIRTHDAY ! - Capt. Jonathan Walker

We were very happy with the participation and support from Harwich High School students, who read, along with their teacher, Mr. Richard Houston from HHS, from books on Jonathan Walker's life.

Claire Bangert, representing Harwich Middle School, read from "The Man with the Branded Hand" written by Mabel Weeks of the Harwich High School Class of 1902. Mrs. Trudie Cutler, representing the Harwich Historical Society, read passages from A PICTURE OF SLAVERY, FOR YOUTH by Jonathan Walker, a 161 year old booklet published in 1845, and given to Mrs. Cutler by her long time friend, Emma Augustus Rogers, the great grandniece of Jonathan Walker.

Our surprise guest was Mr. John Walker, the great, great nephew of Jonathan Walker, who read a personal letter written by Jonathan Walker to his wife and family from prison in Florida. At a reception after the read-a-thon, the tall, stately Mr. Walker engaged students with stories of his grandfather, Henry Marshall Walker, who sat in Jonathan Walker's lap as a boy and touched the outline of the raised red scar tissue of the SS branded on his hand while listening to stories from faraway lands.

Harwich Celebrates Capt. Jonathan Walker'’s
207th Birthday
Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006 Read-A-Thon 3:00 - 4:30 PM Brooks Free Library

Reflection and Readings from the selected writings of Capt. Jonathan Walker and the poem by John Greenleaf Whittier, as well as selections from Elmer R. Koppelmann'’s book, Branded Hand: The Struggles Of An Abolitionist, and Alvin F. Oickle'’s book, Jonathan Walker the Man with the Branded Hand. At the Brooks Free Library Wednesday, March 22nd 3:00- 4:30PM!

Capt. Jonathan Walker and many other (“come outers)” of the 19th century were Harwich abolitionists and would have been on the No Place for Hate Committee of their day!

A Branded Hand Experience !
We invite all Harwich residents to “"brand"(in non-toxic ink) one of your own hands with two initials, signifying your most important current human rights issue. As you meet others during the day, discuss the two letters on your "“branded hand"” and share your ideas for a more just world!

What issues are important to you? Perhaps you are a children'’s advocate (CA), or a friend of animals (FA), or an earth steward (ES), No Bullying! (NB)

Within Evergreen Cemetery, in Muskogee, Michigan, a pair of monuments mark the grave of Capt. Jonathan Walker, a Harwich born sea captain and abolitionist. Capt. Walker was arrested off the coast of Florida in 1844 while trying to deliver seven escaped
" “slaves "” to freedom. After being convicted in federal court, Walker's right hand was branded with the letters SS for slave stealer. He is the only man in U.S. history to have been branded by order of a federal court. He died in 1878.

Read-A-Thon: Wed. March 22nd 3 - 4:30pm
Celebrate Captain Jonathan Walker Day with a Read-a-thon at Brooks Free Library from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. Read or listen to the words of Captain Walker and the story of his life.

Harwich Students are invited to visit the library after school and are welcome to participate in the read-a-thon. A Jonathan Walker birthday cake will be served!
Call us 508-432-9256 or (508) 432-4757

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Beloved Community by Richard Flyer

Richard Flyer Action Call for March!

Dr. Martin Luther King challenged us-to go beyond our limited vision to work toward the "Beloved Community." This was the central theme of his teachings. What is this community, what keeps us from realizing it, and how can we work towards this community in our lives?

In this community he said "our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation..."

This would be a community where love and justice prevailed. Love here is not sentimental affection, but the binding power that holds the universe together. In this community we would know that "we are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality."

The ideal for the Beloved Community is not new. People from every culture and time throughout history have dreamed of this nonviolent and cooperative society. It has been called by many names.

Why haven't we developed the Beloved Community?

Our communities are divided by violence to the body, mind, and spirit. Each day we hear the same news about violence and other problems. Alone, these problems are immense. Together, they seem overwhelming.. Many feel powerless and numb.

Current approaches to solving community problems are not working. The reason: we are all divided into special interest groups, the new Tower of Babel.

These include racial, ethnic, religious, political, economic, civic, peace, social justice, and environmental groups, etc.

In the long run, the special interest approach can't be effective. All social problems are connected and have a common basis.

For example, look at how we deal with gang violence. We are kidding ourselves if we think brute force by the police or mainstreaming gang members will solve the problem. Dealing with gang violence in isolation from its interconnected root causes makes no sense. Why does a gang form?

Our society has not provided many youth with fellowship, love, a sense of purpose, relevant education or employment. A gang is an alternative society, a reaction and an indictment against the present one.

The way we have solved problems in the past, then, is like putting out small fires here and there, while the main fire rages out of control.

What is this raging fire?

Conflicts in communities are a mirrored reflection of the battles inside ourselves. As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy, and it is us."

Our little egos have gotten out of control, always grasping, "me, me, mine." Our own fears, insecurities, self-centeredness, and self-righteousness blinds us. Each day we harm ourselves and others. We are just too busy to notice . Ego-centered behavior becomes fossilized in social institutions. Greed and narrow self-interest have become the lubrication for our political and economic machinery.

Daily, we conform with these values, unquestioning, even though they are self-destructive. Look what we've become. We sing the virtues of materialism, consumerism, while hoarding greater profits, as the gap between the rich and poor increases. Then, we say we must use brute force, it's an "eye for an eye" trying to defend our way of life."

Think about the results of this way of life. We are destroying our life support system - Mother Earth -while poverty, hunger, wars, racism, and for many, hopelessness continues unabated.

Where do we go from here?

We must see that the raging fire is our ego-centered attitude and selfish lifestyle. This is the root cause of social conflict. Admitting this deep problem is a first step toward health and sanity.

There are many pioneers who taught us the way of going beyond self-interest. They taught practical means to help make our personal interest one with the common interest of all life. Dr. King is the most recent example. Great teachers of humanity such as Jesus, Buddha, Lao-Tse, Mahatma Gandhi and others were all saying the same thing.

Dr. King was killed because he was a non-violent revolutionary. He challenged us to be honest with ourselves. He saw that a radical change in our values, way of life, and institutions was necessary for there to be peace. He saw that in order to conquer the "giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism... we must rapidly begin the shift from a 'thing'-oriented society to a 'person'-oriented society. "

We have no choice today, but to follow on the same path. There is no time left for just talking about spirituality in the clouds, in the churches or in the ivory towers. We must live and practice it.

Now is the time to consciously develop a new society from the old, a Beloved Community based on love, justice, and fellowship. Begin with an inner attitude change. Dr. King spoke of an "inner spiritual transformation" that would give us strength to fight social injustice and lead us to "personal and social transformation."

The power to change our lives comes from within us and not outside. And, we don't have to wait for anyone else. We can start right where we live. Each day presents opportunities to practice love in action.

We can work locally, knowing that we are part of a larger global awakening. Humanity is leaving its childhood behind and is growing up.

We are witnessing the birth of a new world civilization. The truth is that we are one Spirit, one Earth, one Life, and one People. Every loving act that we perform, no matter how small fosters the awakening of ourselves, our families, then cities, nations, the world, and finally, the entire cosmos.

Working together and sharing ourselves, we can build a Beloved Community inside ourselves, with our families, anywhere we live. The dreamer may have given his life, but the dream lives on. The new dreamers are here, ready to carry the torch.

All contents copyright (c)1991 by Richard Flyer

Please send comments to

Monday, March 20, 2006

NPFH Monthly Meeting Tuesday, March 21, 2006 7-9pm

No Place for Hate Monthly Meeting

Brooks Free Library
Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Hi Friends,
Looking forward to seeing you all on Tuesday night at 7 pm. This is the
agenda as it now stands; please note a few changes. Thank you all who sent
me in additions or made suggestions. If there are any other inclusions,
there is no problem adding them in on Tuesday evening. See you soon; and
remember to bring a friend to the meeting!

Peace, Chuck Micciche

Harwich No Place for Hate Meeting Agenda
Tuesday, March 21st, 2006, 7 pm.
Brooks Free Library, lower level meeting room..

Welcome to All

Members Present: Ask all to sign in on clipboard; if new, invite them to add
contact info (email, tel, address)

Announcement of next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 18th, at 7 pm. at
Brooks Free Library, lower level meeting room.

Setting of Agenda: Review agenda items received; call for any other items to
be added for discussion. Set agreed time limit for discussion for each
item (I'd recommend a goal of 10 minutes per item for old bus/ 15 minutes
per item for new bus. if we hope to conclude by 8:30 pm). Review of minute
tracking system (numbered items) and 4 R's (Resolve, Refer, Revisit, Retire)

Old Business:

10306: Update on NPFH endorsements

20306: Report on HNPFH Night at Harwich Junior Theater Production of "Our
Town" (3/18)

30306: Chase and Sanborn Coffee Can Collection Update

40306: Capt. Jonathan Walker Day Festivities (3/22) Update

50306: Human Rights Commission Meeting (3/23) Update

60306: MLK Society Meeting (3/15) Report

New Business:

70306: HNPFH Table at the Harwich Civic Spirit Day (3/25)

80306: NPFH "Guidelines for Respectful Dialogue" flyer and hospitality table
at Town Meeting (5/?)

Other Business:

Announcements: Activities of other groups of interest

Reading of minutes

Call for corrections and approval of minutes

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Man with a Branded Hand!

John Bangert outside the old Abolitionist Hall on the corner of Bank and Miles streets. (Staff photo by Merrily Lunsford)

Man with a branded hand

By Douglas Karlson
Wednesday, March 15, 2006

John Bangert had lived in Harwich for 35 years and never heard of Jonathan Walker. But since launching No Place For Hate in Harwich, a group dedicated to fighting prejudice, Bangert has become fascinated by the famous Harwich abolitionist, so much so he’s throwing Walker a birthday party of sorts (his 207th). The whole town’s invited.
Better known as the man with the branded hand, Walker is, to Bangert, a kindred spirit and source of inspiration. If Walker were alive today, he’d probably be on the No Place for Hate committee, said Bangert.

Walker was a whaling captain who was born in East Harwich and lived in New Bedford.
He was arrested in Florida for attempting to smuggle slaves to freedom. As a punishment, his hand was branded with the letters "S.S." for slave stealer. Walker re-interpreted the initials to stand for "slave savior." He became an instant celebrity among abolitionists.
According to Bangert, Walker’s message of equality and brotherhood still resonates today. "It’s a teachable moment," he explained.
No Place for Hate will celebrate the anniversary of Walker’s birth with a read-a-thon on Wednesday, March 22 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at Brooks Free Library. The event will be a time of reflection, and there will be readings from Captain Walker’s writings, as well as a reading a John Whittier poem about Walker. Cake will be served.
Also, selections will be read from Alvin Oickle’s biography, "Jonathan Walker: The Man with the Branded Hand," and Elmer Kopelmann’s "Branded Hand: The Struggles of an Abolitionist."
Following Walker’s example, at the read-a-thon, No Place for Hate is inviting Harwich residents to use non-toxic ink to "brand" their own hands with the initials of the human rights issue most important to them.

Chuck Micciche is considering "N.T." for "no torture. Bangert has decided on "N.D." or "non-denomenational." It’s a message that ties in with his goal to break down barriers by visiting every house of worship on Cape Cod, an undertaking he estimates will take two years Harwich Youth Counselor Shiela House, thinks the event is a good idea. She’s concerned that students are becoming increasingly intolerant of one another. At the same time, she said many of her students recognize and are frustrated by the problem. They want to do something about it, she said.
Having time off from their busy school schedules to associate with one another and reflect in ideas is important, said House, who plans to mark her hand "T.H.F." for "teenagers have feelings." The Walker event, she said, is an ideal opportunity to create a moment of dialogue and awareness.

Over the past several months, Bangert has been busy researching the life of Walker. The more he’s learned, the more interested he has become. His exploration has also led to an interest in the abolitionist movement in Harwich.
Bangert has been delving into the underground railway, and was excited to learn about that the apartment house on the corner of Bank and Miles Street was once a meeting place for abolitionists, and was known as Unity Hall or Abolitionist Hall.

"Racism and abolitionism was the big issue" is Harwich in the mid 19th century, he explained. Harwich, he said, has a tradition of challenging hate and injustice.
Not that it was easy. Abolitionists were not accepted in some churches, said Micciche. He theorized that may be the reason for Abolitionst Hall. Church congregations, he said, were divided on the issue, so some ministers avoided the topic altogether. Bangert said he hopes to sponsor a tour of Harwich’s underground railway when his research is completed. If anyone has information about Harwich’s Underground Railway, they can contact No Place for Hate at 508-432-9256.

If you go...
What: Capt. Jonathan Walker’s 207 birthday
When: Wednesday, March 22, 3 - 4:30 p.m.
Where: Brooks Free Library
Cake will be served.
Also, the Harwich Junior Theatre will dedicate a performance of Thornton Wilder’s "Our Town" to "No Place for Hate Night," Saturday, March 18th.
A special discount price of $12 is available with the code "NPFH"

Jonathan Walker on Jonathan Walker!

“ I do not appeal to the laboring classes simply because they are the only productive people, but there are other considerations.

You, my working friends, are under obligations which none others can discharge, and owe an imperious duty to the country, to the slave, to your children, to yourselves, to humanity, and to God.

No longer attempt to shield yourselves behind an organized government. The government rests upon your shoulders. So long as you uphold the present government, you uphold slavery and endanger your own liberties! In fact, you cannot be free with this mountain of iniquity and its increasing expense resting upon you.

It is by your aid and support that there are now three millions of human beings in your country chattelized.

It is by your aid and support that more than 200 newborn infants in your country, daily, have their humanity wrung out and are hurled down and classed among marketable wares and commodities.

It is by your aid and support that a disgraceful, barbarous and uncalled for war is now waged and carried on at the expense of a half million dollars a day, for the sole object of extending slavery and slave power and it is you that have to fight the battles and foot the bills in the bargain.

Have you thought of that fact? ” Captain Jonathan Walker
Born - Harwich, Massachusetts, March 22, 1799
Died Age 79 years at Muskegon, Michigan April 30, 1878