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"Keeping The Dream Alive"®

Summit planned to bridge gap between students, police

Group addresses diversity issues

Updated: 6:23 PM EDT Jul 14, 2016

MANCHESTER, N.H. —

Law enforcement officers from across New England will join high school students from at least a dozen schools to talk openly and discuss diversity issues in an attempt to bridge the divide between the two.

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The summit is planned to take place during the coming school year in New Hampshire, and although it wasn't spurred by the violence in Dallas, organizers said they hope it can be a tool to prevent similar violence in the future.

The catalyst for the program was concern about ISIS recruiting young people, but organizers said it has evolved in light of recent events, and they believe it can help build trusting relationships between youth and police.

"Unfortunately, they forget that those officers protect them," said Wayne Jennings, chairman of the National Cultural Diversity Awareness Council. "Those are the people you come to when you need help. Unfortunately, there's just not enough people saying great things about police officers."

The National Cultural Diversity Awareness Council is trying to change that. A few years ago, the group organized a youth conference in Waterville Valley where middle-schoolers interacted with officers.

The upcoming summit will focus on high school students.

"So many things have happened over the past year," Jennings said. "ISIS is having a major influence on young people. You had the Dallas shootings, and there's been an ongoing tension between police and people in the community."

Four hundred high school students from more than a dozen schools across New England are expected to attend the summit, and police representing the six states are invited as well.

"The skills they will learn from those officers, they will take back to their communities and share," Jennings said.

Jennings said he wonders if things would have been different if the suspect in the Dallas shootings had opportunities such as this.

"I've got school districts calling me up saying, 'Hey, can you give me a speaker to come in and talk about different issues?'" Jennings said. "I always reach out to law enforcement."

New Hampshire State Police said it's in full support of the upcoming summit and plans to participate.

New Hampshire celebrations honor the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

Granite Staters urged to continue King's dream

Updated: 11:51 PM EST Jan 18, 2016

HOLLIS, N.H. —

People from across the state gathered Monday in to honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

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During the 32nd annual Southern NH Outreach for Black Unity MLK Day Breakfast in Hollis, there was a call not just to remember the man, but also to take steps to ensure that his dream becomes a reality.

The breakfast celebrated King's life and legacy. Among the speakers was Gov. Maggie Hassan, who said the country is stronger when no one is excluded from the American dream.

"Dr. King also recognized the importance of individual commitment and dedication to this cause of inclusion justice and human," Hassan said.

The host for the breakfast was WMUR news anchor Shelley Walcott, who spoke about the universal appeal of the civil rights leader.

"Everywhere that I've been, people feel that it's absolutely necessary, important and crucial to take a moment and remember the great works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.," Walcott said.

The theme for the breakfast was "Our world, his dream. Freedom: Make it happen," and while speakers noted that progress has been made, others noted that black history is rarely taught.

"From year to year, each textbook told the same one-dimensional story," Campbell High School junior Roberto Luis Landrau said. "The founding fathers built this country from the ground up with their bare hands, and blacks didn't have a history until slavery in the early 1800s."

The breakfast also included a call for action. Those in attendance were urged to contact their legislators to make sure that their voices are heard.

"The question I have for you is simply this," said the Rev. Arthur Hilson of New Hope Baptist Church. "How will you honor the principles for which Dr. King lived and died?"

Because this is a presidential election year, those who attended the breakfast were urged to also approach the presidential candidates.

New Hampshire's 14th annual "Keeping the Dream Alive" dinner in Manchester also honored the work of Martin Luther King Jr.

The theme of the event at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester Monday evening was multiculturalism and national security, and it was dedicated to those who serve in law enforcement and the military.

"After the events that have happened over the last six months, we want to honor the men and women who put on the uniform every day and put their lives on the line to protect us," said Wayne Jennings, of the National Cultural Diversity Awareness Council.

The audience included members of New Hampshire's congressional delegation and Gov. Maggie Hassan, and U.S. Navy Adm. Michelle Howard, the nation's first African-American woman to achieve the four-star rank, was a keynote speaker.

Howard is also vice chief of U.S. Naval Operations and commanded a multinational task force that coordinated the 2009 rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips and his vessel from Somali pirates.

Matan Zamir, Israel's deputy consul general to New England, was also a guest at the dinner, and he said Dr. King's dream has reached beyond America's borders.

"How his values have passed these shores, and I think most Israelis share these values of tolerance and peace and coexistence," said Zamir.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Hassan and Rep. Annie Kuster were also among the speakers.

There was a special salute to the FBI's joint terrorism task force, which is headquartered in Boston and lead by Kiernan Ramsey.

"What this organization tries to do is bring people together, and it's bringing people together at a time where seemingly there are a lot of people that are actually trying to push us apart," said Ramsey.

“For them to want to honor us for all the work we do -- we don't get that very often, it's a great feeling to be here for that,” said Ramsey.

The proceeds from the annual dinner will fund youth diversity programs -- to keep King's dream alive.

 13th Annual " Keeping the Dream Alive®"

      Honoring Women In The Workplace

Guest speaker U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, left, talks with keynote speaker Cecilia Vega, correspondent for ABC News, at the start of the 13th Annual “Keeping the Dream Alive” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dinner at the Radisson last Monday. The event was sponsored by the National Cultural Diversity Awareness Council.

(MARK BOLTON/UNION LEADER)
Monday January 19, 2015

 8th Annual " Keeping the Dream Alive®"

      Diversity Conference for Business and Education

Donald Shumway, President and CEO of Crotched Mountain Foundation, with two early marathon racing wheelchairs, speaks during the National Cultural Diversity Aweness Council's"Keeping the Dream Alive" Conference held at the Radisson Hotel on Thursday in Manchester.  (Thomas Roy/Union Leader) Thursday October 30,2014 

 

State Police Honored for their Diversity Efforts

 

On June 13, 2005 Wayne D. Jennings, Chairman of the New Hampshire Cultural Diversity Awareness Council visited the Massachusetts State Police Headquarters.

 

 

The purpose of the visit was to thank Colonel Thomas G. Robbins for giving him the honor, pleasure, and privilege of having Sergeant Robert J. Sylvester and Trooper Zina J. Chambers serve as facilitators at last January's "Keeping the Dream Alive" cultural diversity workshop in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. Their charismatic leadership enabled 20 junior high school children in their group to stay motivated and engage in the workshop activities.

 

Mr. Jennings states "We recognize the demands, which are put on the State Police, have stretched the department's personnel and resources. We are extremely grateful for the high level of support and cooperation that you have given our organization".

 

Colonel Robbins acknowledges that the Massachusetts State Police will participate in the up coming 6th Annual "Keeping the Dream Alive" cultural diversity workshop at Waterville Valley on Wednesday, January 11, 2006.

Celebrating Diversity 
 

By PATRICK MEIGHAN

Nashua Telegraph Staff

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2004 

 

MERRIMACK - February is Black History Month. 

 

But does it have meaning for a town of nearly

26,000 people, which, according to the 2000 census,

had fewer than 200 black residents?

 

Even though we’re not African-American, it still affects everybody else,

because it was a major part of our country’s history, Rachel Damery, 14, said.

 

(African-American history) has had such a huge impact on everything. There have been great African-American inventors, musicians, athletes, you name it, Stephanie Greenland, 13, said.

 

Damery and Greenland were among 40 students from Mastricola Middle School who in January attended a daylong conference in Waterville Valley sponsored by the New Hampshire Cultural and Diversity Awareness Council. Each year, a handful of schools are selected to participate.

 

Through speakers, film and group discussions, the students addressed the challenges of living in a diverse culture. Diversity was defined in broad brush-strokes to include not only differences of skin color and race, but also of religion, ethnicity and age.

 

Topics included learning to live with students who might dress differently, wear their hair differently and have different interests. Students also touched on diverse classrooms and school populations that included special-needs students.

 

Five Mastricola eighth-graders who attended the conference gathered recently in the school library to reflect on why African-American history is important to them, as well as to discuss how diversity affects their lives and their school.

 

I think (African-American) history is really important because a big part of our population is African-American, said Rachel Deraney, who shares not only a similar name with classmate Rachel Damery, but the awareness that society at large is more racially diverse than her town, and her school. 

One of the great things about America is how everyone is different, but it doesn’t really make a difference to other people, Deraney, 13, said.

 

The 40 students were picked to attend the conference out of roughly 800 seventh- and eighth-graders at Mastricola based on the strength of essays they wrote about what a truly culturally diverse society would look like.

 

I can say I have never been made fun of because of my heritage. I hope I never will be. That’s why I try not to judge a person. I accept them for who they are, not what they are, wrote Cristina Vega, 14. As a person with family roots in Puerto Rico, she is one of a relative handful of people of color at Mastricola.

 

Vega moved to Merrimack from Lowell, Mass., where she attended a much more diverse school.

 

Since I was in preschool in Lowell, I have been lucky to participate in a I have been lucky to participate in a culturally diverse school system, Vega wrote in her essay. We celebrated Asian, Hispanic, Indian, Jewish and many other holidays. Being involved in those activities brought me to learn that other cultures or religions weren’t wrong, just different from what I was used to.

 

Vega said diversity isn’t discussed much at Mastricola. The students who attended the conference gained a broader perspective on the topic.

 

I was talking to my friends who didn’t go (to the conference), and we were talking about racial diversity and stuff like that, Vega said. It’s not that they had a different view - they didn’t have enough of a view.

 

The conference didn’t sugar-coat the challenges of living in a diverse society, the students say.

 

Tolerance is an ongoing process. . . . It’s not always easy for people, Greenland, said.

 

A lot of people think of racism that happened in our past, but it’s really still something we have to work on today, said classmate Julie Jaynes, 14.

 

Added Deraney: It’s not something that happened in history. It’s happening now.

 

Most Americans are privileged, said Assistant Principal Peter Bergeron, one of 10 Mastricola faculty and staff members who attended the N.H. Cultural and Diversity Awareness Council program.

 

We’re a privileged group. We don’t know what it means to be ostracized, or to experience negative feelings toward one particular minority group. It really made me think, Bergeron said.

 

There’s a lot of different groups in America who are not (so privileged) - and they have to rise above all that.

 

The students all talked about the importance of not judging people based on appearance, and of accepting people who are different, including special-needs students who too often are shunned by classmates. 

Before you judge someone, like someone else in an activity you’re doing, get to know them and talk to them. That’s really what our school needs to work on, Jaynes added.

 

As for African-American history, several students said one thing about the conference that touched them was seeing - some for the first time - a videotape of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivering his famous speech before a great mass of people in Washington, D.C.

 

Every time someone stands up for his or her rights, like Martin Luther King Jr. did on Aug. 28, 1963, with his ‘I have a dream’ speech, the world becomes more diverse, Deraney wrote in her essay.

 

The students’ essays reflected their own dreams for how beautiful a truly diverse society could be.

 

Living in an area where there is not much cultural diversity, I learn about these differences from resources other than just personal experiences, Jaynes wrote.

 

It is important to learn about others in different ways, and that alone shows acceptance as well as respect.

 

Though today’s world is filled with cultural diversity, it would be a beautiful sight to see everyone respecting each other as people, and as equals.

 

 

A Lesson in Diversity: Charlestown students ski and learn about differences
 
 
 
 

New Hampshire Sentinel Source 

Monday, February 09, 2004

By Erika Cohen 

 

 

 

CHARLESTOWN — Charlestown Middle School 8th-grader Erin K. Cody likes to dress “goth.” She wears black clothing, thick-colored eyeliner and T-shirts with graphics such as bleeding spiders.

 

Erin says she likes her wardrobe because it’s comfortable, yet she also knows some of her peers “label” her solely because of her clothes. And that, Erin says, is “stupid” because “no one gets to know the person behind the clothes.”

 

But attitudes at Charlestown Middle School are slowly changing. Erin was one of 40 7th- and 8th-graders who attended a daylong youth cultural diversity workshop at Waterville Valley on Jan. 14. It was paid for by the N.H. Cultural Diversity Awareness Council.

 

Eighth-grader Andy Fischer described the workshop in an essay: “The objective was to create awareness, sensitivity and appreciation of the similarities and differences in ourselves and others,” he wrote.

 

And it seemed to work. Andy, Erin and three other students who went to Waterville Valley sat in teacher Paula Southard-Stevens’ room during lunch recently and discussed what they learned.

 

“When you started talking to people in your group, they wanted to know what you had to say and they didn’t just judge you first,” said 7th-grader Ginny M. Chamberlain, 13. “Now I get to know people first.”

 

Asked whether they all sometimes judge people on what they look like, the students looked silently down at the floor. Then they all nodded yes.

 

Asked whether they would look at others differently now, they nodded again, this time looking up at the questioner.

 

Kevin M. Peck, a 7th-grader, said he learned there are many different ways to judge people other than race. Peck, 12, mentioned height and if people play sports.

 

Ginny said kids are often judged by the number of friends they have. Nicole J. Cabaleiro, 12, said kids will judge others based on who they date.

 

The 40 Charlestown representatives joined students from four other middle schools in the state for the workshop. In the morning session, they broke into small groups to talk about diversity, stereotyping and how to respect others for who they are. In the afternoon, the students had the choice of skiing, snowboarding or another winter activity.

 

Charlestown was picked as the representative for the southwest corner of the state; teacher Southard-Stevens said someone on the council was familiar with the town.

 

Science teacher Shawn M. Stevens, one of the chaperones, said the students already knew about stereotypes. The workshop, he said, gave them a different perspective.

 

“They know why they pick on somebody; they just don’t admit it,” Stevens said. “They realize now that even thinking of it can cause problems down the road.”

 

The effect of the youth cultural diversity workshop, said teacher Karin N. Sjostrom, was immediate.

 

“The demeanor of the kids changed on the way home,” Sjostrom said. “They were less willing to rag on each other on the coach bus. They usually get cranky and tired, but they were polite and kind.”

 

Sjostrom noted the kids left school at 6 a.m. and returned 12 hours later at 6 p.m.

 

Stevens, the science teacher, also learned lessons of his own. Like the students, the teachers attended their own workplace cultural diversity training in the morning.

 

“I learned not to be afraid of teachable moments if someone says something outrageous,” Stevens said. “It is so worth missing some of the academics to address issues of awareness.”

 

Southard-Stevens said that, for some of the students, it was their first coach bus ride and first time skiing or snowboarding. She added the students chosen were a purposely diverse group.

 

The mix featured boys and girls, shy and outgoing personalities, diverse economic backgrounds and some students with behavioral issues.

 

Principal Diane Hicks said the students were called to the gym to hear the news. She said they were quiet as the announcement was made, adding that students kids who generally don’t get picked for adventures were beaming.

 

 

 

Diversity workshop draws students from NH, Mass.

 


DATE: January 11, 2007 
PUBLICATION: New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, NH) 
EDITION: State 
SECTION: News 
PAGE: A9

 

WATERVILLE VALLEY -- More than 250 students from the Boston area and across New Hampshire had a chance to ski, snowboard, eat pizza and, most importantly, meet each other at the 7th annual "Keeping The Dream Alive" workshop at WatervilleValley Resort yesterday.

 

 

Using Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision, students from inner city schools and those from small country schools attended the event and had a chance to interact outside the classroom. 

 

 

Middle school students from Hillsboro-Deering; Armand Dupont Middle School in Allenstown; Gilford Middle School; Waterville Valley Elementary, Mountview Middle School in Holden, Mass., Donald McKay School in East Boston and Rafael Hernandez School in Roxbury, Mass., attended. 

 

 

Wayne Jennings, president of NH Cultural Diversity Council, host of the event, said the day annually leads to a better understanding of one another. 

 

 

"The kids leave feeling that they have more in common with each other," he said. 

 

 

Although the weather conditions recently have been unkind to the ski industry, Waterville Valley was covered in white had lots of trails open, including its novice Lower Meadows slope. A light snow fell throughout the day. 

 

 

The program is believed to be the only one of its kind in New England to bring together middle school students for a day of diversity training, as well as skiing and snowboarding. 

 

 

The program goal is to foster greater sensitivity and awareness of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday while promoting cultural diversity. Martin Luther King Jr. -- Civil Rights Day is Monday, Jan. 15. 

 

 

During the morning session professional trainers from area corporations, educators, law enforcement and military worked with the students on such issues as prejudice relating to one's economic status, language, religious and ethnic origin. 

 

 

Participating groups included the New Hampshire and Massachusetts state police, police from each of the communities where the groups were from, the U.S. Air Force, 23rd Space Operations, based at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts and the N.H. Army National Guard. 

 

 

Corporate sponsors included Stop & Shop, Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, State of New Hampshire Department of Education and the Education Alliance at Brown University in Providence, R.I. 

 

 

Through the use of hands-on exercises, students learned problem-solving strategies and positive ways to resolve conflicts.

 

 

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