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Business Team

Impact

Legislative Successes, and Failures: Citizen Sponsored Town Warrant Articles

  • 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 HEREOur Articles on equity, diversity, inclusion, accountability and accessibility failed loudly - unanimously opposed. 

  • 2022 Town Meeting:

    • 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. (Don't worry, that same TFAD member, stood opposed to every. single. article. And retained his seat - for now.)

"Your silence will not protect you."
-Audre Lorde

In 2023 Town Meeting, leaders may have stayed silent, but we did not trust or believe their silence was acceptance. (Plus, the Marblehead Beacon shined a light on their money mismanagement ...aka they needed to lie low). The 2023 Elections were ugly - smear campaigns, threats, vandalism and property damage were common place. We wrote to  Leaders. They stayed silent. It ended up that the election results were history making; however, celebration was short lived. Reeling from the losses x generations of toxicity x challenging tacitly accepted societal norms => facilitated the release of aggression. The status quo and their supporters - some hidden as "allies" - proved they were (are) not ready for a Committee of women and people of color making decisions. When this newly formed committee held a white man accountable AND removed him from his position, they lost their collective mind. Fear is a powerful weapon.  So is distraction. "Women of today are still being called upon to stretch across the gap of ignorance and to educate" as to our existence, power and abilities. Distraction "...is an old and primary tool to keep the <marginalized> occupied.."  We remain vigilant. We invite everyone to normalize women and marginalized community members and those typically excluded - speaking from Seats of Power. Without perpetuating violence when we disagree. Your silence will not protect you. 

Our experiences in previous years are covered below:

The Cost of Challenging the Status Quo

Dismantling policies, systems and structures in order to reimagine and redefine community is fraught with obstacles. The complexity is multiplied because there are loopholes, known only to the status quo. This tactic of diminishing impact to progress is a powerful and effective to dissuade engagement - as the "goal posts" are always unattainable and the rules are always changed, "legally". It has been quite the frustrating journey and every day we learn and unlearn that which does not serve us. 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 bits are not necessarily centered around the fear - although it does serve to "delay" - but rather the invisibility of and the tacit acceptance of "norm" wrapped up in the -isms while whi.te women sabotage each other and our collective mission...turning on each other and our fellow community members under the guise of misguided "allyship". We have historically been and continue to be our single worst enemy to progress, equity and creating a just society for our children. Challenging the "status quo" sadly has an expanded definition as we learn that challenging long held beliefs comes at the cost of interpersonal relationships, and with rage fueled retaliation campaigns initiated by those for whom we are trying to create space.  The travesty thus far in August 2023 is that we are not willing to share power through an intersectional lens.

Lifting Our Voice

PowerUP! March 2021

After months of swimming through ambiguity, obstacles and subterfuge, we transitioned to an organized existence. This is our first Letter to the Editor in the Marblehead Reporter (now defunct local paper)

Image by Markus Spiske

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.

Image by Greyson Joralemon

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.” -

Image by Tim Marshall

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.

Image by Fatih

PowerUP! 6 Months Old

"Since our introduction, many have tried to define us from the confines of what exists - sometimes through an "us vs. them" lens. It has initiated many conversations and we are truly grateful - Democracy is, after all, a continuous dialogue."

Image by Clem Onojeghuo

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." 

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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 2022's engagement levels are still discussed and only outshone by Elections because every precinct ran out of ballots in June 2022. The 2023 Town Meeting and Elections were nothing short of a loud, emphatic #PowerToThePeople. THIS is how we create change: finding points of unity, speaking out unapologetically, believing in our collective #PowerUP. More news coverage: Google "Powerup01945" We look forward to finding more ways for you to #GetInvolved!

Creating Space for New Perspectives

“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.”

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