I write these words in early January, as we approach the commemoration of the birth of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On January 18 the Falmouth community will gather for its annual King Breakfast, sponsored by No Place For Hate (Falmouth), and to engage in a Day of Service to honor Dr. King’s legacy.
Some have noted, and lamented, that this annual event is one of the very few occasions when our community truly intermingles, when people with different colored skin break bread and converse together. The Cape community is, overwhelmingly, white and many of us have few, if any, meaningful relationships or even interactions with our neighbors who are people of color.
We are living in an time of heightened awareness of the lingering and pernicious legacy of slavery and institutionalized racism, both of which contribute to the distance we keep from one another. As part of its mandate to educate and combat prejudice, No Place For Hate (Falmouth) is engaged in an exploration of issues pertaining to race and prejudice, all part of an effort to raise consciousness and to help our community see and understand itself more clearly.
Every February we are presented with an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the African-American experience through the observance of Black History Month. The Woods Hole Black History Month Committee (WHBHMC) is dedicated to celebrating and educating the Woods Hole community and the community at large about African American history and culture. The committee is responsible for planning and putting on events during the month of February. Past events have included art exhibits, speakers, musical groups and the annual Harambee. What is Harambee? WHBHMC tells us, “Jomo Kenyatta was the first prime minister and later first president of Kenya. He led the East African nation to independence from Britain in 1963. He adopted the slogan "Harambee!" which is Swahili for "Let's all pull together!" to encourage whites and Africans to work together for the development of Kenya.
We honor this concept during our Black History Month celebration by "pulling together" all members of the community for a potluck feast in which we can enjoy great food while interacting with wonderful people and sharing a spirit of togetherness. Join us in our annual ethnic potluck feast celebrating everyone of every race! Enjoy multi-cultural arts, delicious food, and live music.”
Harambee will be held on Thursday, February 25, beginning at 4:00 PM, at MBL Swope Center. For more information about this and other Black History Month events being held in Woods Hole, visit this website:
I plan to attend the Harambee celebration and I hope you will join me! Small committed steps can lead to meaningful connections, the kind of connections Dr. King envisioned when he famously said: “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.”