Beyond Buzzwords, Beyond Awareness
Review Systems, Policies & Structures
We are kicking-off a multi-year Initiative to normalize public discourse and solution oriented discussions around the systems, policies and structures in place; We invite each of you to think critically - beyond awareness - and evaluate how these systems have not only sustained apathy, and inequity...but also have inflicted harm. The community at large will be invited to embrace a collective responsibility for actions to liberate us as we embrace the power of possibility.
Legislative Successes, and Failures
2021 Town Meeting: After a lengthy, hate fueled campaign where we were threatened and harassed; circled, hissed at and attacked at Town Meeting - we changed the name of a Conservation Area to properly reflect a valued, respected small business owner and Revolutionary War Veteran Joseph Brown. Despite repeated attempts to have the experience chronicled, thus far no one talks about it. The ONLY Media coverage came from one of our members. Read her piece HERE. Our Articles on equity, diversity, inclusion, accountability and accessibility failed loudly - unanimously opposed.
Special Note: Executive Council Member launched an online media outlet to take the lead on setting new standards in Accountability and amplify Informed Voting. To this day, it is publicly vilified by elected and appointed officials as well as those adjacent to the powers. In other words, the status quo is under extreme scrutiny and NOT appreciating it.
We are proud to say that in 2022 the Select Board - with new voices on the Board - sponsored our 2021 Gender Inclusive Language Article and despite opposition from a member of the Task Force Against Discrimination, it passed at Town Meeting. Media coverage HERE.
After soliciting and receiving support from the Task Force Against Discrimination (only official town board to address discrimination), our Article to adopt a Diversity Statement passed. We now have a town sanctioned Statement that reflects a welcome to all.
After soliciting sponsorship for a Land Acknowledgement Article, allies of #PowerUP worked tirelessly to draft and pass an Article that reflects acknowledgement of creating a town on indigenous land. It is humbling to hear it read at the start of each Town Meeting.
Our Article on creating Standard Operation Procedures lost by 7 votes. Our Sponsored Article for Accessibility for All was twisted into a "high cost" category, and tossed into the nightmare of a "Feasibility Committee". That was a year long, deep dive into systemic oppression - the meetings displayed ableism, elitism and sexism but our stalwart Article Sponsor prevailed.
2023 Town Meeting: We formed a Town Meeting Commission from the community-at-large. Together we shared ideas and drafted and sponsored Citizen Articles for the Town Warrant. EVERY Article PASSED at Town Meeting 2023. Despite attempts to thwart progress and silence the will of the People - We showed up for THREE nights of Town Meeting, On Night #2, we refused to adjourn. On Night #3 our voices prevailed. Our hearts fill and our eyes tear at reliving the moments. There are new standards for accessibility, equity, transparency, safety and accountability.
Dismantling policies, systems and structures in order to reimagine and redefine community is fraught with pure joy and infuriating obstacles. The complexity is multiplied because there are loopholes, known only to the status quo. This process of diminishing impact or ignoring your existence is effective - the "goal posts" are made unattainable and the rules are always changed, "legally". It has been quite the journey and every day we learn and unlearn that which does not serve us.
There are NO regrets. This is our calling.
However, it is contrary to our movement to be inauthentic or misleading. Some of the most unlikely supporters, will hear your message and become fierce accomplices. Some of those who loudly claim "ally", will be offended by you. Leadership tactics include: Patronization, and the concept there is only "one right way" and the current leaders are the the only one who know the "right" way. Binary thinking, reducing the complexities of governance into "right or wrong" and "all or nothing". Fear of open conflict, and equating disagreements into "personal attacks" and/or being overly defensive at the presentation of a differing view. Fear - fear of retaliation. Shockingly, the most unnerving bit is the tacit acceptance of "normal" is wrapped up in one or all of the -isms even by fellow whi.te women. You absolutely MUST shake this off and continue on your journey. You must.
Lifting Our Voice
"Your Silence will not protect you." - Audre Lorde
Speaking Out Against Hate February 2021
“I think the unknowns, the 18 months that somebody knew the event took place and it took so long to get to the chief. involved is worrisome,” said Megan Sweeney. Sweeney wondered if an existing institutional environment prevented the incident from coming to light sooner.
Speaking Out Against Hate September 2021
“Dialogue, education, and accountability are effective tools in combating hate,” said Megan Sweeney, cofounder of the PowerUP Coalition, a diverse group which promotes increased civic engagement in town. “Marblehead’s acknowledgement of the legacy of trauma hate crimes inflict is a first step in an ongoing process.” -
Speaking Out Against Hate January 2021
“It is incomprehensible why the investigation has not been completed/results released. Our community has been left wondering and worrying for too long. Our police department reputation damaged whilst a shadow of white supremacy looms overhead.” -Megan Sweeney, cofounder of the PowerUP coalition.
Standing Up at Town Meeting May 2021
"If you think an affluent and generally liberal community like Marblehead isn’t a place where you’d find racially insensitive remarks said at a public meeting, think again. At the annual town meeting May 3, residents voted on a matter concerning changing the name of a pond and conservation area."
We are motivated by our profound Impact since 2021. Our PowerUP01945 Events and media campaign built an unsurpassed energy around Marblehead Town Meeting and Town Elections. The local media coverage further amplified the heightened awareness of issues, candidates, and voting. Our recordings generated thousands of views, Candidates sought our Endorsement, Town Meeting's engagement levels are still discussed and only outshone by Elections because every precinct ran out of ballots in June 2022. Town Meeting and Elections are nothing short of a loud, emphatic #PowerToThePeople. THIS is how we create change: finding points of unity, speaking out unapologetically, believing in our collective #Power. We look forward to finding more ways for you to #GetInvolved!
Creating Space for New Perspectives
March 2022, Jewish Journal "Hate Crimes Spike in North Shore and Beyond"
“How many swastikas do we have to have before we are completely consumed by outrage and wanting substantive change?” said Megan Sweeney, cofounder of the Power-UP coalition in Marblehead. “We cannot be perpetually reactive.”