Around Amherst: Rights day celebrated on Town Common, at library

  • Magdalena Gomez, a poet laureate for the city of Springfield, will speak at Saturday’s International Human Rights Day in Amherst. Kayla Creamer photo

Staff Writer
Published: 12/9/2022 11:16:05 AM
Modified: 12/9/2022 11:15:44 AM

AMHERST — International Human Rights Day on Saturday will feature a celebration on the North Common in front of Town Hall and a program at the Jones Library.

Starting at 1 p.m., the local chapter of Amnesty International, AI-Group 128, is hosting a performance by poet, actor and activist Magdalena Gomez, a poet laureate for the city of Springfield and daughter of a Spanish Roma immigrant and a Puerto Rican mother.

Gomez will discuss “Rights of the Child/Voice of the Child: An Urgent Listening,” focusing on championing child rights, using the Convention on the Rights of the Child approved by the United Nations in 1989, but never ratified by the United States.

The Student Human Rights Art Exhibit is also being shown at the library throughout December, with all creations by Amherst Regional Middle School students inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Students will be on hand for a brief presentation.

Then, at 4:30 p.m., the annual candlelight vigil takes place on the town green, with the public invited to read the Universal Declaration, which was adopted unanimously by the United Nations in 1948. Eleanor Roosevelt was a delegate to the U.N. who chaired the committee that worked on the text and aimed to prevent future human rights atrocities across the globe.

Members of the Town Council will also read a proclamation marking the 74th anniversary of the Universal Declaration.

The event concludes with hot chocolate.

Sip & Shop Stroll

The Amherst Business Improvement District is launching its first Downtown Amherst Sip & Shop Stroll and Makers Market at the Drake on Dec. 15.

During the event, running from 5 to 9 p.m., horse-drawn carriages from Muddy Brook Farm will bring people to their shopping, dining and entertainment destinations from 6 to 8 p.m., while Hurricane Carolers from Amherst Regional High School perform along the streets.

Several restaurants have “three for $35” meals, while the Inn on Boltwood is offering rooms at a special rate. 

The Drake is being turned into an artisans and makers market curated by Kristin Kelley, the former owner of Ode in Northampton.

Vaccine clinic success

An opportunity to get a COVID-19 vaccine, whether an initial dose or a booster, along with a $75 gift card, drew more than 400 people to the Bangs Community Center on Monday for a clinic open to any Massachusetts resident. The clinic, with its gift card incentive, was put on by the Department of Public Health and brought out 463 people to be immunized.

A similar clinic for anyone 6 months and older will be held Dec. 16 from noon to 2:30 p.m. at the Amherst Survival Center, 138 Sunderland Road.

Co-op holiday baskets

A holiday baskets silent auction and the Rattlesnake Gutter Gallery artisans market are underway at the Leverett Village Co-op, 180 Rattlesnake Gutter Road.

The second annual auction to benefit the co-op, running through Dec. 18, includes 10 baskets with themes, such as wellness, gardening and happy dog, and a hand-turned wooden bowl. All winning bidders will be notified on Dec. 19 to make arrangements to pick up their baskets.

The gallery, expected to be a permanent part of the store, is beginning with more than 24 artists who have made paintings, jewelry and pottery. It will be open during regular store hours.

Planners leave

Amherst Planning Department is expected to lose another member of its staff, as Senior Planner Maureen Pollock was recently selected to be the town planner for Montague and is in contract negotiations for that position.

Town Manager Paul Bockelman said Pollock handled implementation of grants and is overseeing several projects, as well as being staff liaison to various boards and committees.

She is the second planner in recent weeks expected to leave. Ben Breger departed earlier this fall for a position with the state Department of Transportation.

Planning Director Christine Brestrup, Senior Planner Nate Malloy and Administrative Assistant Pamela Field-Sadler remain on the planning team.

“It will be a significant challenge for the town,” Bockelman said of the changes. “But both had strong, unique opportunities.”


MONDAY: Design Review Board, 5;30 p.m., Cultural Council, 6 p.m.; Town Council, 6:30 p.m.

TUESDAY: Public Shade Tree Committee, 5:30 p.m.

WEDNESDAY: Cultural Council, 6 p.m.

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