The Town of Wellesley will hold its remote Annual Town Meeting and Special Town Meeting beginning at 7pm on Monday, June 22, 2020, using the Zoom meeting platform.
The meeting will be televised live on Comcast channel 8 and Verizon channel 40 beginning at 7pm and will be live streamed on Wellesley Media.
Town Meeting’s main focus will be Wellesley’s budget, but it’s the outcome of Citizen’s Petitions 42 & 43 that many are watching closely.
Petition 42 asks that Town Meeting (TM) members vote to establish the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day and cease to recognize Columbus Day in Wellesley.
Petition 43 in its original version read that Town Meeting was being asked to adopt a resolution to establish the second Monday of October as Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day.
Those putting forth Petition 43, however, have amended the language for that petition. The amended language for Petition 43, approved by Town Counsel in March, is broken into two parts. Part 1 asks Town Meeting to “support the observance of Italian American Heritage day on the second Monday in October to coincide with National Italian American Heritage Month.” The second part of the petition asks TM to “support the observance of Indigenous Peoples Day on a to-be-designated day in the month of November to coincide with National Native American Heritage month.”
On Monday the Board of Selectmen will announce that it is ready to take up the six citizens petitions (41, 44, 45, 46, 42 & 43 — in that order). It is likely that the petitioners of 41, 44, 45, and 46 will agree to have their petitions moved off until fall for discussion. The reason for pushing off the petitions is that right now the town is focused on the budget. Also, given that TM is being done remotely, an unprecedented situation, it seems best to debate the petitions when TM is able to meet in person.
Given that Petitions 42 & 43 are tied to a specific date — October 12, 2020 — TM may agree with the petitioners that the timely nature of the petitions requires immediate action.
Wellesley resident and proponent of Petition 43 Donna Maria Ticchi said, “Article 43 originally asked our Town to support a compromise — an inclusive observation of Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday in October. We listened and learned that this is not an acceptable compromise and have amended the language on the petition. We have removed the name Christopher Columbus, which is offensive to some. The new language represents a further step toward a compromise that would recognize, honor, and respect both groups.”
World of Wellesley president and proponent of Petition 42, Michelle Chalmers, said, “Proponents of 43 now wants Columbus Day renamed to Italian Heritage Day. They say they’ve changed their motion to reflect their new-found views. I feel very good about Indigenous People’s Day passing. I think the people of Wellesley understand that it’s the right thing to do.”
Wording of Article 42:
That the Town vote, with the understanding that since 1977 Indigenous people of our country have requested Indigenous Peoples Day as a recognition of their humanity, culture and history and further, that our country was built on Native lands, to 1. Establish that the second Monday of October henceforth be commemorated as Indigenous Peoples Day and cease to recognize Columbus Day in Wellesley, in recognition of the position of Indigenous Peoples as native to these lands, and the suffering they faced during and after the European conquest; and 2. Encourage the Board of Selectmen to proclaim the 2nd Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day throughout the Town.
Wording of Article 43:
That Town Meeting vote to adopt the following resolution: Resolution 1. To support the observance of Italian American Heritage day on the second Monday in October in the Town of Wellesley to coincide with National Italian American Heritage month; and 2. to support the observance of Indigenous Peoples Day on a to-be-designated day in the month of November to coincide with National Native American Heritage month.
Original wording of Article 43:
That Town Meeting vote to adopt the following resolution: to support the inclusive observance of Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday in October in the Town of Wellesley.