Oak Bluffs: Courage

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February not only is the shortest month of the year, but it is also Black History Month. After reading a few articles and watching documentaries these past few days, I realize I am not brave. Speaking up is perhaps the easiest part, but when you act on your beliefs and know the consequences of those acts will probably be loss of your job, your house, and sometimes your life, that is courage. Let me tell you about Medgar Evers, for those of you who are not familiar with his story. Evers was a black American civil rights activist in Mississippi, and the state’s field secretary of the NAACP. He worked to overturn segregation at the University of Mississippi, to end segregation of public facilities, and to expand opportunities for African Americans in the ’60s. He was assassinated by a white supremacist and Klansman, leaving behind a wife, two sons, and a daughter. He had marched along a path that he knew would not have a happily-ever-after ending. His story, and those of many others who followed in his wake, leaves me amazed, tearful, and aware that I am not brave or courageous. Are you?

Please note that in last week’s Oak Bluffs Column, I made a mistake in the article regarding the Oak Bluffs library’s mini-golf event. The date is Saturday, Feb. 10, for the Children and Families event. Friday, the 9th, is the adults-only event.

Those are not the only events that our ever-creative library staff has planned. If your sweetie is a book lover, surprise them with a beautiful book bouquet. On Saturday, Feb. 10, at 2 pm, Carolina Cooney will be crafting these book bouquets, and you are invited to do so also.

On the 12th and 13th there will be breakdancing with the Yard. This is a two-part workshop, and space is limited; please call or stop by to register.

Along with snow and cold, winter also brings us the dreaded flu. On Feb. 15, from 2 to 6 pm, there will be a flu clinic at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital community room. You may enter through the main entrance. As reports are that this has been a very severe flu season, it is highly recommended that everyone receive this vaccine. Children over 6 months old are eligible. For more info and to register, call 508-684-8309, or email cfuller@tisburyma.gov.

Leslie Clapp, executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living, will be the guest speaker at the 11:30 am coffee hour on Sunday, Feb. 11, at the Federated Church Parish House. Leslie will be sharing helpful information, including options available for transportation to Boston for medical appointments, what is going on at the old VNA building, respite care, and more. She will answer questions and keep you well informed. For more information, call 508-627-4421.

Big Easy Mardi Gras Potluck will be held at the Federated Church Parish House in Edgartown on Tuesday, Feb. 13, from 5 to 7 pm. Dress up or not, as you wish. Wear beads if you have them, but if you don’t, beads will be provided. It is free and child-friendly. You can bring some traditional Mardi Gras food if you like, but it is not necessary. Just bring an appetizer, soup, salad, entrée, or dessert, remembering it is the “Big Easy” potluck. Please sign up in advance by calling 508-627-4421.

Our Island Wide Youth Collaborative is sponsoring two screenings of the documentary “Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety.” The film includes a special interview with Michael Phelps, a mental health advocate and one of the greatest athletes of all time. In addition, the documentary provides discussions with mental health experts about the causes of anxiety and its sociological effects, along with the help, resources, and tools available to address the condition. The screenings will be held at the Martha’s Vineyard regional high school library on Feb. 13 and 16 from 6 to 8 pm. The event will feature a viewing of the 56-minute film from 6 to 7 pm, followed by a Q and A session led by Tricia Bennett, LMHC.

We send birthday smiles to Adam Barmakian and Nelson deBettencourt on the 10th, Juanita Suarez-Espeno and Cody Pachico on the 11th, granddaughter Melissa Kalagher and Simone Davis on the 12th, Tory Asqualino on the 13th, Sue Christopher on the 14th, and brothers Eric and Michael deBettencourt and Lorraine Mavro on Feb. 15. And don’t forget to send Valentines on the 14th to your sweetheart.

Enjoy your week. Peace.