Organization determined to rebuild destroyed Diverse Little Library
The vandalism that demolished the Diverse Little Library at Neds Point in Mattapoisett did not destroy the enthusiasm of the Tri-Town Against Racism organization and their plans to move forward.
“We were very devastated about the vandalism,’’ organization president Tangi Thomas said at a community forum held virtually on Jan. 11. “But the silver lining was we realized how much our community valued that little library.’’
Since the library and its books were destroyed Dec. 18, donations of books and offers to help rebuild have poured in, group members said.
The response was “overwhelming,’’ said Jennifer Hunter, secretary and treasurer of the organization, which was formed in 2020 to address issues of race and diversity in the Tri-Town area.
The Diverse Little Library, which provides free books about issues concerning diversity, plays an important role in the group’s mission, members said. Education is crucial to battling racism and educating the community about diverse cultures and opinions, they said.
The library will be rebuilt, group members said, and later this year, a new library will be installed in Rochester, the only one of the three Tri-Town communities that does not yet have one.
The organization is also planning a series of events this year, vice president Alison Noyce said. A competition involving artwork that reflects the theme of Black History Month through students’ perspectives will take place in February.
Book clubs are also being planned, and a conversation cafe is under consideration at the Tabor Library in Marion to host “uncomfortable conversations’’ around race and diversity, she said.
FIghting racism begins at an early age, said Rhonda Baptiste, director of community development.
From a very early age, children can be taught kindness and compassion, she said. They can understand a simple definition that “racism is treating people unfairly or unkindly just because they’re different,’’ she said.
The conversation can then become more complex as children get older, she said.
Parents play vital roles, she said, because children are always watching them. If displaying compassion and empathy “is important to you, it will be important to them.’’
President Jason Chisholm said that, as the vandalism clearly shows, not everyone supports the organization’s goals.
“This is a large problem,’’ he said. “It’s not going to be solved easily. It’s going to require a lot of involvement from a lot of people.’’
He encouraged community members to share their ideas and skills with the organization, which can be reached at www.facebook.com/startwhereyoulive.
The community can join forces to make change, he said.
Working together “we’re going to be able to defeat a lot of the problems we face in the Tri-Town.’’