Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 01-08-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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PAWTUCKET EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | JANUARY 8-14, 2020 LETTERS / PAWTUCKET 13 THE BIRTHDAY CLUB Here are a few additions to our January Birthday Club. JAN. 11 Emily Martin, Happy 22nd Birthday! Love U More, Pat JAN. 20 Happy 100th Birthday, Thaddeus "Teddy" Piekos! Dad has fond memo- ries of his Woonsocket beginnings! Love, daughter Paula Diversity is a fundamental human value On Monday, Dec. 16, the Pawtucket City Council gathered at Arigna Irish Pub to celebrate the holiday season after our last meet- ing of the year. At the end of this gathering, 2nd District Councilman Mark Wildenhain threw two $1 bills at Councilor Elena Vasquez's face and told her to "take a bus back to Colombia" in front of several council members and their guests. Apart from the fact that Councilor Vasquez's family is from Guatemala, not Colombia, Wildenhain's behav- ior was breathtakingly disrespectful and reprehensible. And as Pawtucket reckons with what it means to be a 21st-century city, filled with people of different backgrounds, races, gen- ders, and experiences, this incident is an opportunity to consider and act on issues of inclusion. In a recent Valley Breeze article, remarks from fellow councilors insin- uate that the incident was a "joke," a "mistake," or still, a "private mat- ter." While it may have been both of those things (a joke in incredibly poor taste, or a mistake that suggests its maker is ill-suited to serve in pub- lic office), it is nonetheless wholly unacceptable. And if it were ever a private matter, it no longer is. Discussion from community mem- bers on social media shows the anger that people feel toward intolerance in our diverse city. The incident also illuminates how structural discrimination works. We – Councilors Vasquez and Kallman – are the only two women on the Pawtucket City Council. Councilor Vasquez is the only person of color. Councilor Vasquez is in her first two-year term and Councilor Kallman in her second; at no time in Pawtucket's history have there ever been more than two women on this body or more than one person of color. There have been many years in which there were no people of color or women representing us at all.As of the 2010 U.S. Census, 24.24 percent of Pawtucket's population proudly identified as Hispanic or Latino, and 16.16 percent as black or African American. Approximately half of us are women. The fact that our repre- sentation is so lopsided matters for many reasons. First, diversity is a fundamental human value. In other words, we value each other for, and not despite, our differences. An inclusive world is one where everyone can participate in the social, economic, cultural, political, and civil aspects of our city. Diversity among our elected officials helps ensure that the needs and experiences of different parts of our community are also represented, that their problems are heard and solved, and that their voices are honored. Our institutions thrive when they reflect the people they serve, and make everyone feel welcome within them. In other words, representation matters because for too long, politics has leaned on old, male, rich, and white. This means that those of us who are not those things – who may be young, poor, of color, female, or all of the above – have been the least likely to vote or feel connected to politics at all. Even in 2020, this remains all too common. What does it mean to have a Pawtucket council that is so homogeneous? That is so white, and male? Whose priorities does such a body represent? Whose worldview? Whose experiences? These are questions that we must ask ourselves as we strive to make our communities more fair and inclusive. ELENA VASQUEZ MEGHAN KALLMAN Pawtucket City Council Senior Center will host pain self-management program PAWTUCKET – The Leon Mathieu Senior Center, 420 Main St., will host a chronic pain self-manage- ment program. This six-week program is designed to give seniors the tools needed to manage chronic pain, which can be caused by a wide variety of condi- tions. Participants will learn about managing symptoms and medica- tions, communicating with family and doctors, eating well and exercising safely, setting goals to improve health and lifestyle. The workshops will take place every Monday through Feb. 24, from 12:15 to 2:15 p.m., with the exception of Jan. 20 and Feb. 17. This program is made possible by the Department of Health. For more information, call 401-728- 7582. Fiber market returns to Old Slater Mill this weekend PAWTUCKET – The annual Knitting Weekend and Fiber Market returns to Old Slater Mill, 67 Roosevelt Ave., on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 11 and 12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. According to organizers, the upcoming event will have an expanded marketplace as compared to prior years, with 30 fiber vendors located on two floors of the historic factory. The opening of the second floor of the mill, also a former manufactur- ing space in Samuel Slater's time, will allow for an expanded roster of fiber producers, artisans, and crafters in the 2020 market. Knitting Weekend is not just the Fiber Market, but also includes opportunities for classroom instruc- tion for knitters seeking to expand their skills. Two four-hour classes, one each on Saturday and Sunday, will be offered for early and intermediate skill levels respectively. "We're super excited to host internationally-known master knitter Laura Nelkin as our guest instructor this year," said Lori Urso, the execu- tive director of the museum and his- toric site. "Her Sunday sweater class filled up quickly, and Saturday's beading class is just a few seats away from being full." In addition to Nelkin, who travels from upstate New York to teach at the event, the mill will host fiber vendors from the six New England states and Pennsylvania, including Rhode Island vendors: WeeOnes, Gigi Bonin Yarns, We Got the Buttons, Ball and Skein, Ladylove Llamas, Lucky Star Llamas, North Light Fiber, Dursin Merino Roving, and Old Slater Mill Book Shop. Visitors to the Fiber Market may register for free for a door prize raf- fle, featuring Berroco yarn gift bags, and other prizes. Admission is free both days, and free parking is available in the lot next to the mill on Slater Avenue, or in the municipal lot across from the mill on Roosevelt Avenue. For more information, visit www. facebook.com/slater.mill , email info@slatermill.org, or call 401-725- 8638, ext. 108. SENIOR NEWS Virtual Dementia Tour set for Jan. 24 PAWTUCKET – The Leon Mathieu Senior Center, 420 Main St., will host a Virtual Dementia Tour sen- sitivity training program on Friday, Jan. 24, at 12:30 p.m. The program enables participants to gain a greater understanding of dementia. For more information, call 401-728- 7582. Alzheimer's Foundation offering scholarship essay contest for teens NEW YORK – High school seniors across the country who have been impacted by Alzheimer's disease are invited to share their experiences to raise awareness and have the chance to earn a college scholarship through the Alzheimer's Foundation of America's annual Teens for Alzheimer's Awareness College Scholarship Essay Contest. The deadline to enter is Friday, Jan. 17. AFA's scholarship essay contest is open to college-bound high school seniors. Applicants must submit a 1,200 to 1,500-word essay describing how Alzheimer's disease has impact- ed their lives and what they have learned about themselves, their fam- ily and/or their community through their experience with Alzheimer's. Essays can be submitted by visiting AFA's website, www.alzfdn.org, and clicking on the "Teen Scholarship Essay Contest" tab in the top menu. Students already attending college are not eligible to participate. Awards range from first prize of $5,000, second prize of $2,500, third prize of $1,500 to honorable men- tions between $1,000 and $500. got a news tip? Call Ethan at 401-334-9555, ext. 130 Or e-mail it to ethan@valleybreeze.com Making a Difference in the Lives of Others 610 Smithfield Road North Providence, RI 02904 (401) 353-6300 Sub-Acute Rehabilitation, Long-term Care, Secure Dementia Care and Hospice Services Physical, Occupational & Speech Therapy Private and Semi-Private Rehab Rooms Admissions 24 Hours ~ 7 Days per week We accept: Medicare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United Health, Neighborhood & Medicaid Hopkins Manor nter Ball Tis the Season to be Jolly & Smart... Why buy when you can rent? Solstice Ball • Company Party Tuxedo or Suit Your Choice $ 45 2044 Smith St., North Providence, RI (401) 231-2370 fax (401) 232-9220 www.ourplacetux.com

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