Massachusetts License Plate MV 1

Massachusetts License Plate MV 1

If you’re driving around on the roads of New England, you might want to lookout for Massachusetts license plate MV 1.

What is it about us in the Bay State, that makes us obsessed with low number license plates? I’ve never had one, but always notice them and wonder about the owners. These plates are prized family heirlooms passed from one generation to the next.

Well, apparently the generation passing didn’t happen for the MV 1 license plate. Because this past Sunday, some lucky person bought it. The Vineyard Gazette reports that it was purchased via live auction for $46,500.00.

Celebrities are no strangers to the Vineyard and Seth Meyers, who was visiting with family, hosted the Zoom event. He joked that the winner of the plate would still need to make a ferry reservation and that motorists should acknowledge them.

Be sure to say thank you — maybe two polite honks. But this is New England . . . so if they cut you off, feel free to give them the middle finger.

Most of the proceeds go to Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, so the money raised will do a lot of good, which I had no idea until now. It’s nice to know that these vanity plates benefit people in need.

So if you play the license plate game, you might want to add a twist and focus on low number plates.

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Image: Possible Dreams 2020

Change The Massachusetts Flag

Today,  I’m home in Quincy, Massachusetts. This state, like the rest of the United States is on land stolen from Native Americans.

4th of July

Like last year on the 4th of July, it feels right to think about the founding of this country. I consider my birthday a personal new year and a time for self-reflection. Likewise, the birthday of this country is a time to think about the history of the United States — how we can do better now and in the future.

The Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. But it wasn’t until five years later, in 1781, when the Massachusetts state legislature became the first to recognize the 4th as an official state celebration recognizing the anniversary of the country’s independence.

Receiving a link to sign a petition prompted me to write this post today, on the 244th birthday of the United States. The petition seeks to change the North Quincy High School mascot from the Yakoo, an offensive caricature that stereotypes Native American culture. I signed the petition and immediately thought about the Massachusetts flag.

Massachusetts Flag

When I was in my 20s and working for the state, I remember looking closely at the flag. Previously, I had only noticed the figure of a Native American man standing. But that day, I noticed that there is an arm holding a sword over his head.  A sword over his head!

Taking the Indigenous peoples’ land was bad enough. The flag shows the violence of it. Why should this emblem continue representing our state? Should we be proud of this? I am horrified by the symbolism.

The seal, which is on the flag, goes back to circa 1639, when the Massachusetts settlers adopted it. The sword was owned by Myles Standish, known for his violence against Native Americans as a military advisor for the Pilgrims in the Plymouth Colony in the 1620s.

Many say the the original sin in this country was slavery. As an African-American, I can trace my ancestry back to enslaved African-Americas in Virginia and South Carolina. The exact year enslaved Africans arrived to colonies in the Americas is not clear. Some have said 1619. But that seems to reference English colonies. The European slave trade began in the 1400s and Christopher Columbus may have transported enslaved Africans to the Americas in the late 1490s.

However, looking at the time line, Native Americans were here for thousands of years before European colonizers arrived. The theft of their land and the brutality against them was a sin. Slavery was an additional sin and the timelines intertwine.

Further, when people deem the United States a nation of immigrants, that leaves people out. Some of us were already here. Some of us came here unwillingly. We are a nation of immigrants, and Indigenous people and descendants of Africans who were enslaved in the United States. Let’s include us all.

Take Action

Since we’re at a place in time where symbols of white supremacy continue coming down, it’s well past time to change the Massachusetts flag. Especially as the Trump administration targets the Wampanoag tribe’s land. Is the state of Massachusetts in solidarity with Native Americans or not?

Last year, WGBH reported on the issue and a suggestion for the change could be an easy one. Remove the arm and sword and add a tree. A tree flag was one of the ones used during the American Revolution. Ships sailing from Massachusetts also used the tree flag. So adding a tree would be consistent with Massachusetts history.

For 36 years, the MA Indigenous Legislative Agenda has been working on changing the flag and seal, along with other initiatives as well.

Let’s support current legislation (S.1877 & H.2776) and urge the MA Rules Committee to move the Mass Flag and Seal Bill out of committee. Click on the links to send a letter. See a sample letter below.

I am a resident of (city or town), Massachusetts. I am writing in support of (S.1877 / H.2776) the bill to create a special commission, made up of Native leaders of the area now known as Massachusetts and state legislators, to change the state flag and seal of Massachusetts. The time has come to remove the sword that has been hanging over the heads of the Native people of this land for 400 years! This legislation has been stalled for 36 years in the legislature. Even Mississippi is holding bipartisan discussions now to remove the Confederate symbol from its state flag – which would leave Massachusetts as the last flag of white supremacy flying in the country. This image is a disgrace to the progressive traditions of our Commonwealth, an offense to Native people, and to everyone who upholds the value of racial justice for all. Thirty nine Massachusetts cities and towns have already voted at town meeting or city council to change the Massachusetts flag and seal, and an equal number of legislators now co-sponsor S.1877 / H.2776). Please vote favorably to move the legislation to change the Massachusetts flag and seal forward now.

*Updated 7/17/2020* Yesterday, there was a rally by Native American groups in front of the state house in support of this legislation and it generated some media attention. Governor Baker was asked about it during a press conference and stated that he is open to discussion.

*Updated 7/29/2020* There is real momentum behind this issue and the Massachusetts Senate unanimously approved new legislation (S.2848) to create a special commission. Now it’s up to the House and Governor.

*Updated 8/4/2020* North Quincy High School has changed the image of the Yakoo mascot.

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Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The New Wollaston Station

new wollaston station

This picture of the renovated Wollaston Station in Quincy, Massachusetts is from August 16, 2019. I’m writing this post on April 4, 2020 and living in a new world.

The global pandemic of coronavirus rages on. We are waiting out this health crisis in our homes for the most part. Hoping not to catch COVID-19 and hoping not to spread it.

I’m only going out to take a walk or go grocery shopping for me and my mom. When we come back home from grocery shopping, we have to clean everything that we bought before putting anything away. Wash our hands repeatedly. The list goes on. These are such strange times.

One thing I’m trying to do while I’m at home is write more. Over the years, there have probably been hundreds of posts that I wasn’t able to write due to lack of time. Since I have a bit more time now, I’m hoping to go back and write some of those posts. I have pictures and notes ready and waiting. So I will take some old things and make them new. Plus, writing calms my nerves. Writing has always made me happy.

I thought I had written a post about when Wollaston Station reopened. I was looking for it to link to another post, but couldn’t find it. It seems that I had just taken pictures of the station, but never got around to writing it up. Or at least I can’t find it now. So this is that post.

It took close to two years for the station to be renovated. It’s a much nicer station and what a relief to not have to take the shuttle to North Quincy.

But for my life now, my last project ended in mid-February and I don’t think that I have taken the T since then. I certainly don’t know the next time that I will take it. And I wonder if I will feel safe. When will we be sure the spread is contained? June? July? I don’t know. I guess none of us really does.

Free Coffee Today @ Coffee Break Cafe!

coffee break cafe turns 24

Happy 24th Birthday Coffee Break Cafe! On Instagram yesterday, I saw that today, Tuesday, March 3rd, Coffee Break Cafe will be giving out free small coffees, iced or hot, all day until closing.

What a generous way to celebrate their birthday! You can get free coffee at all four locationsWollaston, Quincy Center, Milton and Hyde Park. The locations have different closing times, but they are all open until the early evening, so you still have a lot of time to stop by.

Since it’s also Super Tuesday, many of you here in Massachusetts are out voting and breaking up your usual routines. So while you’re out, treat yourself and grab a free coffee! ☕

 

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Image Credit: Coffee Break on Instagram

Leap Year Birthday? Get Free Kane’s Donuts!

Leap Year Birthday Donut

By now, most people have realized that this is a leap year. Especially those who have that once every four years birthday on February 29th. An early Happy Leap Year Birthday to you!

If leap day is your birthday, then you could get a free half dozen of Kane’s Birthday Donuts. Yeast donuts with buttercream and sprinkles. Yum!

Show up at any of Kane’s Donuts three locations (Boston and Saugus) next Saturday, February 29th, and bring a license or birth certificate to prove your leap year birthday.

Now how many leaplings are there exactly? Kane’s donuts often sell out quickly. And these are free. Will you need to arrive early and stand in line?

Well, as of 2019 there were around 205,000 people in the United States with this birthday. And none have been added since then. A bunch more will be born on Saturday. But you most likely won’t be standing in line competing for donuts with newborns. But who knows? Maybe their parents will want the donuts to celebrate!

Since 205,000 is the whole country, if you divide by 50 for each state, that would be about 4,100 people in each state. So actually, if you really want your donuts, that’s still a few thousand people to compete with. I’d get there early if I were you!

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Image Credit: Kane’s Donuts Twitter