Originally published in the Worcester Telegram May 31, 2015. BOSTON - About 100 students from Worcester’s South High Community School managed to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill Friday, and they pulled it off before lunch.
Granted, it was just part of a simulation, held at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. But getting that many teenagers to work together on anything, much less one of the most complex and heated political issues in the country, is impressive. Read More
Originally published in American Forests Magazine, Winter 2015.What Boston’s battle with the Asian longhorned beetle can teach us about stopping an invasive pest in its tracks.
Clint McFarland didn’t want to believe the pictures he was looking at on his smartphone.
Late on a Friday afternoon in July 2010, he was at a gathering in Worcester, Mass., to recognize federal and state staff who had been working long, hard hours for two years to wrangle the city’s runaway Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) infestation, the country’s largest by far. By the time a homeowner reported it in 2008, the invasive beetles had already been boring their way across the heavily forested city in the center of the state, frighteningly close to the edge of contiguous forests that span New England and reach into Canada. Read More
Beneath the water lie memories of vibrant villages.| Originally published in The Magazine, September 11, 2014.
Sally Norcross stands outside what was once her childhood home, in the heart of Dana, Massachusetts. She and her family left town 76 years ago, but she has clear memories of throwing crabapples into the yard of her grouchy neighbor Mr. Vaughn. Across Main Street is where she used to sit in school and watch out the window as the men dug up all the graves in the cemetery.
The bodies and headstones were relocated and the town of Dana abandoned. Her family’s house is an empty stone cellar overgrown with brush, like the remains of all the other buildings that made up the town. Dana is one of four towns that once lay in the Swift River Valley. All four of them are gone. Dana is unique in that its town common is the only one of the four that’s still above water and accessible. Read More
First published in American Forests magazine spring/summer 2014. |
In the 1820s, America's cities had a problem: People kept dying, and church burial grounds were filling up. Fortunately, a group of horticulturists in Massachusetts had a solution and, in 1831, Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge became the first modern cemetery. Other cities began to follow suit, dedicating rolling, scenic tracts of land on the outskirts of town to honor the deceased. This “rural cemetery,” or “garden cemetery,” movement not only temporarily solved the problem of where to put the dead, but it also gave us the nation’s very first parks.
Over the decades, cemeteries fell out of vogue as cultural centers, but their fall from favor was not to be permanent. Today, the practice of using cemeteries for outdoor recreation is bubbling up once more, as urban dwellers seek out nature in the city. Read More
Originally published on Curbed National, April 18, 2014. |
The Boott Mills complex stretches along the Merrimack River like a fortress, a 179-year-old set of connected brick buildings that once housed roaring hydroelectric textile factories in the heart of Lowell, Mass. It's a remarkably intact representation of the mills that launched Lowell and other towns like it to prominence during the Industrial Revolution, and then left them in economic decline in the second half of the 20th century. But Lowell's factories—most recently, the iconic Boott Mills near downtown—are making a comeback. Read More
Profile of Boston Palestine Film Festival artist Omar Robert Hamilton, originally published on Open Media Boston, October 24, 2013.Image courtesy BPFF, from Hamilton's film "Though I Know the River is Dry."
by Tate Williams (Staff)
Omar Robert Hamilton’s entry in the Boston Palestine Film Festival is his third fiction short, but he’s made several other films, dozens, in fact.
They’re mostly brief documentaries he filmed and publicized as co-founder of the Egyptian film collective Mosireen, which played a major role in documenting the 2011 revolution and aftermath. Mosireen became the most-watched nonprofit YouTube channel in Egypt, and even worldwide during one month. Read More
Originally published in Open Media Boston. by Tate Williams (Staff), Jul-24-13
Cambridge, Mass. - The climate movement is a unique one, longtime activist Bill McKibben told an audience in Cambridge Sunday night, because it doesn’t gain its strength from a few powerful advocacy groups or high-profile leaders.
“What we are getting are thousands of nodes of people all around the world, groups in the community, fighting particular things—particular power plants, or fighting for wind on Cape Cod, fighting on all those fronts, but also realizing that they are connected and part of something much larger,” he said to the crowd at a rally and fundraiser.
And that’s why, McKibben would conclude, he wants you to get arrested in Somerset this weekend. Read More
Originally published in Open Media Boston. | It was right here on the steps of Cambridge City Hall, on May 17, 2004, where it all started. To the cheers of a crowd waiting eagerly outside, Cambridge opened its doors at the stroke of midnight on the day Massachusetts became the first state to cross the federal law of the land and allow same sex marriage.
So it was a fitting place for hundreds of supporters, many of whom were married here on that day nine years ago, to reconvene and celebrate the defeat of the Defense of Marriage Act, struck down by Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision. Read More
Originally published in Open Media Boston
by Tate Williams (Staff), April 16, 2013
BOSTON/Dewey Square - The Boston rally to honor programmer and activist Aaron Swartz had tearful moments, but it went beyond remembrance. Supporters of Swartz’s work called for a move from sadness and outrage to sustained political action that will reform computer regulations and the criminal justice system.
More than 100 people—academics, parents, children and 20-somethings—gathered at Dewey Square Saturday to mark what would have been the end of Swartz’s trial for downloading millions of academic papers over an MIT network. Swartz never made it to trial; he took his own life in January at age 26. Read More
Originally published in Open Media Boston by Tate Williams (Staff), Mar-15-13
BOSTON - When the Boston Phoenix announced it was shutting down Thursday afternoon—after nearly 50 years of often being at the cutting edge of alternative media—the response was a mix of utter shock and resigned acceptance.
After all, while it had been a staple publication for the city for decades, there was general awareness that it was struggling in a world where classified ads are all online, and “alternative media” has fractured and bled into every corner of the Internet. Read More