In Oak Bluffs, strangers become family

“I was part of the social justice task force that pushed our sports department to look more into hiring practices,” said Williams. “We a...

“I was part of the social justice task force that pushed our sports department to look more into hiring practices,” said Williams. “We also pushed for anti-racism awareness training for our coaching staff and players. It’s all about community, and what I feel on the island, I try to create in other spaces. Meanwhile, the spirit of activism on the island continues, with events being held this summer for June 17, receptions supporting the campaigns of black political candidates, and collecting supplies to benefit students.

But things on Martha’s Vineyard aren’t always rosy. On July 29, during a summer camp organized by the Chilmark Community Center, an incident has taken place in which two white children wrapped a tent strap around the neck of a black child, eerily reminiscent of a noose. The centre’s investigation determined that “we found no evidence of overt racial motivation,” but noted that “the act itself and the races of the three boys involved are significant.”

Sophia Hall, of Lawyers for Civil Rights in Boston, represents the family of the black child. “We are still a country trying to find a way to fight racism,” she said. “The report released by the community center indicates their belief that because there was no overt racism, it could not be a racialized incident. Contacted, the center declined to comment further.

Nicole Groves, a lawyer from New York, started coming to the Vineyard 10 years ago, when her parents bought a spot on the island. I met her in front of C’est La Vie, a black-owned clothing store. This summer in particular, she has been reassured by the prevalence of faces that resemble her and the presence of Black Lives Matter banners flying from homes and shops along the city’s main streets.

This summer Ms Groves, 42, was pregnant with her first child, a boy. She said the prospect of raising a black male child in this day and age is “scary,” but Oak Bluffs offers a break.

“To have a place where you feel at home, and people walk down the street and give you ‘nods,’ you always feel safe here,” she said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: In Oak Bluffs, strangers become family
In Oak Bluffs, strangers become family
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