The Chelmsford Library is embarking on a year-long project to promote civic participation and education with our REACT Grant: Read, Engage, And Come Together.
Join us as we explore six key issues that most impact our community and society as a whole, through engaging programming, in depth, moderated discussions, films, readings, and quality resources. The schedule of these six areas are:
- October 2018: Promote the project and Voter Engagement
- November/December 2018: Poverty and Food Insecurity
- January/February 2019: Racial Justice and One Book
- March/April 2019: Environment and Climate Change
- May/June 2019: LGBTQ+ Equality
- July/August 2019: Immigration and Refugees
- September/October 2019: Public Education
You won’t want to miss what we have in store, so keep your eye on our calendar for more REACT programming.
As of the 2016 election, the population of American citizens of voting age (18+) was approx 224 million people, but only 157 million of those people were registered, and only 137 million of those reported to the polls to cast their vote in the 2016 Presidential election.
The turnout is far lower for important local elections. For example, mayoral elections in 50 US cities only garnered 15% of eligible voters.
What are the reasons for low engagement among US citizens?
Why is voting important?
What can be done to increase voter engagement?
- Visit Massachusetts Voter Resources to register online to vote, check your voter status, find out where to vote, and more – including recent updates
- Keep up with Town of Chelmsford Election Information for local voting information, sample ballots, precinct maps and voting locations, election results, and more
- Contact the League of Women Voters to find out how you can become a more empowered voter
- Get in touch with your local republican, democratic, or other political committee and get involved
Check out the full Voter Engagement brochure [pdf] for suggested reading, films, podcasts, and additional resources.
Poverty and Food Insecurity
As of September 2015, the Census Bureau reported that 43.1 million people lived in poverty in America, and The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports that 553,742 people were experiencing homelessness in America.
More than 40 million people in America need the government’s help to keep from going hungry, and many families struggle to receive adequate nutrition. For many children, school breakfast or lunch may be the only real meal they receive per day, though the quality of these meals varies, and the number of elderly individuals experiencing food insecurity exceeded 10 million for the first time last year.
If unemployment is only 4.4 percent, why are so many still living in poverty?
Should the Federal Government spend more on anti-hunger programs?
- Volunteer, organize a food drive, or donate to the Merrimack Valley Food Bank
- Sponsor a meal or volunteer for Table of Plenty in Chelmsford
- Participate in Project Bread’s Annual Walk for Hunger (May 2019) to raise money for hunger defeating programs in your community
- Get in touch with your representatives in Congress to let them know how important this issue is to you: www.govtrack.us
- Chelmsford Food Pantry – Located behind Town Offices at 50 Billerica Road, food pick-up times are Wednesdays 5:00-8:00, Thursdays 2:00-4:00, and Fridays 6:00-8:00. If you can offer support, drop-off hours are Thursdays 10:30-1:00, and there is also a drop-box at the Chelmsford Library
- The Open Pantry of Greater Lowell – Located at 13 Hurd Street in Lowell and open weekdays 9am – noon and Wednesday evenings 5:30pm – 7:00pm. Check website for holiday hours and how to make donations
Check out the full Poverty & Food Insecurity brochure [pdf] for suggested reading, films, podcasts, and additional resources.
Racial Justice and One Book
Since 1960, the ethnic and racial statistics show decrease in the number of caucasian people, and an increase in those identifying as black, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian and multiracial. Projections expect that this trend will continue through 2060. Chelmsford too enjoys an increase in diversity since 2010.
Such an increase in diversity is something to be celebrated. However, it seems in recent years that animosity between people of different racial or ethnic identity has increased.
How do we reverse this trend and return to working toward
a more united people?
Where do racial injustices exist in your community and in society as a whole?
Why is protecting equity and opportunity for all people important
to our country?
What measures can we take to increase equity and opportunity in America?
- Participate in One Book Chelmsford:
- Read Counting Descent, by Clint Smith – A collection of poetry exploring race, society, and justice in America, designed to encourage people to reflect on our culture and experiences
- Join us as we welcome author, educator and activist Clint Smith to Chelmsford for a powerful presentation – Monday, January 28th, 2019 at 7pm in the CHS PAC
- Read The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas – A novel of a teenage girl growing up in a poor black neighborhood while attending a predominantly white suburban school who witnesses the shooting of her unarmed best friend by police
- Attend a film screening of “The Hate U Give” at the Main Library – Sunday, April 28th, 2019 at 2pm
Check out the full Racial Justice and One Book brochure [pdf] for suggested reading, films, podcasts, and additional resources.
Environment and Climate Change
Research shows that sea levels have been climbing at an increased rate (3cm per decade since 1990) due to human caused climate change. This does and will continue to pose serious challenges to coastal regions, increase the likelihood of devastating storms and endanger marine wildlife.
With human ingenuity and the technological advances available to us, action is possible to mitigate the effects of climate change, and keep our planet strong for future generations.
Do you feel there is enough being done to mitigate the effects of climate change?
What are some of the barriers to action to reduce the effects of climate change?
What can you do as an individual and in your community to assist efforts to reduce the effects of climate change?
- Read the classics:
- Support the Chelmsford Land Conservation Trust, or volunteer with the Chelmsford Open Space Stewards Learn more at www.chelmsfordlocal.org
- Support organizations working for stronger policies and action around climate change: 350.org – sierraclub.org – edf.org (environmental defense fund) – support.nature.org (Nature Conservancy) – wwf.panda.org (World Wildlife Fund)
- “Vote” for the environment with your dollars, or plant a Climate Victory Garden! Visit www.greenamerica.org to find out more
- Write to your representatives! Let them know how much this issue means to you!! www.senate.gov – www.house.gov – www.malegislature.gov
Check out the full Climate Change and the Environment brochure [pdf] for suggested reading, films, podcasts, and additional resources.
Immigration and Refugees