Small Town History-Making: The Power of Local Protests

Juniors+Gabriella+Bachiochi+and+Anna+Sheehan+%28%2721%29+participate+at+the+Medway+Marches+on+June+7.

Maevis Fahey '21

Juniors Gabriella Bachiochi and Anna Sheehan ('21) participate at the Medway Marches on June 7.

Maevis Fahey '21, Editor-in-Chief

The year 2020 will go down in history books. Between the Australia wildfires, the coronavirus pandemic, and recent protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death, there will certainly be many topics to cover.

Hopefully, the future history books of local town communities will see a change in the year 2020 as well. On Sunday, June 7, about 1,000 Medway residents took to the streets in a peaceful march from the Medway Middle School to Choate Park. The Medway Marches were filled with people of all ages dressed in black for solidarity and wearing masks to cull the spread of coronavirus. While practicing general social distancing, the crowd displayed creative, funny, and deeply touching posters while joining in with chants led by the march’s organizers.

Americans experience a strong sense of exhilaration and patriotism when we practice our First Amendment rights, and this demonstration was no different. Any attendee could attest to the fact that our town is small but mighty.

As the Medway Marches headed down Main Street on the way to Choate Park, I stood with Mrs. Sue Rorke, a fellow member of the Democratic Town Committee, and took photos of the coming crowd. Soon before the beginning of the march, I had gathered with some friends at the Medway Middle School and watched as the crowd grew larger and larger in preparation for the event. But watching the stream of protestors flowing down the hilly Main Street was a sight I will not soon forget. We snapped photos upon photos of the passerby, listening to the waves of chants echo into the air and saying brief hellos to friends who recognized us behind our masks. Catching sight of so many familiar faces — from close friends, to Medway teachers, to other Medway Democratic Town Committee members — reminded me that the message of this event has rightfully struck a chord amongst so many communities across the country. Anna Sheehan and Gabriella Bachiochi (‘21) also came to the event after attending other local demonstrations recently. I couldn’t be prouder that so many Americans from Medway wanted to share their voice at this event.

In the past year, I have participated in protests in the streets of Boston and our Capitol. It felt high time that I had an opportunity to participate in a protest in my hometown. As a to-be first-time voter this fall, I have watched the presidential race develop over the past year with great anticipation. We all seem to be asking ourselves the same questions about who might come out on top during waves upon waves of uncertainty in our country. But during moments like these, when Americans come together in solidarity over a deeply important cause, I feel more motivated than ever to have hope for the future.

After arriving at Choate Park, the protestors congregated behind the Thayer House to listen to a series of speakers. First came Medway’s Chief Tingley, followed by Medway students, Boston teachers, and other local activists. As I sat in the grass watching each speaker come up to the microphone, I realized how many different ages were represented amongst the speakers and the crowd. In the grass, there were young children sitting on the laps of their parents. Teenagers gathered with friends and siblings. Many adults and grandparents, too.

A sophomore of Medway High School received a worthy standing ovation from this crowd after offering a window into her experiences as an African American teenager in Medway. She, along with the many other powerful speakers, made me realize that the issue of injustice is one that we all must reflect and take action upon. While the town of Medway has a predominantly Caucasian population, we are not discounted from confronting the issue of racial injustice amongst ourselves and others.

The Medway Marches were an incredibly memorable and powerful experience for me as a rising first-time voter, a lifelong Medway resident, and an American. I walked away from the event not only feeling touched by the inspiration and stories that were shared behind Thayer House, but also extremely motivated to educate myself and take action within my community and relationships with others. Our town was moved by this event, and rightfully so. I hope that the Medway Marches will leave a lasting mark upon our community’s population, and that someday, we’ll find them in our town’s history books.

Maevis Fahey ‘21, Editor-in-Chief
21mfahey@montroseschool.org