Massachusetts Officials Looking For Stories About ‘Indigenous Communities, Women, The Enslaved, and Youth’ To Celebrate Anniversary of the American Revolution

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Massachusetts state officials promoting the upcoming 250th anniversary of the American Revolution in 2025 are looking to highlight the experiences of particular groups.

“We are currently seeking events and programs across the state that are related to the Revolutionary War history, especially stories and locations that share a lesser-known narrative, including the impact of the Revolution on indigenous communities, women, the enslaved, and youth,” said Kate Fox, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, whose appointment to lead the state agency was announced June 13.

Fox made the comment (at 10:02 of the video) during a public hearing Thursday, July 27 of the state legislature’s Special Commission on the 250th Anniversary of the American Revolution. The commission includes seven state legislators and 31 other members, for a total of 38.

The state legislature created the special commission “to investigate and study the promotion and celebration of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the American Revolution.”

The commission has a Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee, which met for about 23 minutes on May 1. The subcommittee chairman, Barbara Krauthamer, a professor of history at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said during that meeting that organizers should focus on “groups of people who should be targeted, right, for inclusion.”

“And then also the focus on the content, on the story, that whatever programming is created, that the programming that comes out of this has diverse a set of voices and people, historical actors, as possible,” Krauthamer said (at 8:03 of the video).

Ray Shepard, another member of the subcommittee, said he hopes a report to be produced by the group can help supporters of diversity navigate a hostile atmosphere.

 “And I wonder if the report could also address, I think for communities — particularly communities, let’s say schools, libraries — in this anti-woke environment, to what degree can you, can we help them navigate some of the controversial issues in a way that gives them confidence that they’re being inclusive and diverse?” Shepard said.

Kerima Lewis, another subcommittee member, said she wants to make sure “we’ve covered our bases as far as diversity,” mentioning in particular indigenous people and Hispanics.

“I know that one time I made a mistake and signed on to a group, and I’m going to go back in my emails and see if I can find it, that were LBGT,” Lewis said. “And they were focusing on the Revolution, as well.”

The Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism plans to launch a web site and to hire a full-time employee to concentrate on promoting the 250th anniversary, Fox said during the full commission meeting Thursday, July 27.

During the same meeting, state Senator Michael Barrett (D-Lexington), a member of the commission, said the current version of the state budget for fiscal year 2024 (which began July 1, 2023, but doesn’t yet have a final budget) contains $1 million to promote the 250th anniversary of the Revolution.

Barrett said he’d like to see “large scale private donations” supplement the public appropriation.


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