Civil Rights Leader Talks About Making Watertown Safe and Welcoming for All

Pride and optimism filled the auditorium at Watertown Middle School Thursday as Dr. Bernard LaFayette praised the work the town has done to build what he called “a global community.”

“When I tell you that you have a uniqueness here, you better believe it,” said LaFayette, who was greeted by student-made posters and a performance by Watertown High School’s a Capella group, The Watertones. “You are very special people.”

As a leader in the Civil Rights Movement and someone who worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., LaFayette has traveled the world teaching the philosophies of nonviolent conflict resolution. He’s was a member of the Nashville Student Movement and worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the American Friends Service Committee. For the crowd at Watertown Middle School Thursday night, LaFayette recounted many memories working with King and other Civil Rights groups in the ’60s, from his experience with the Freedom Rides to his work as a leader for the Selma Voting Rights Movement. He also discussed his work developing a curriculum based on King’s nonviolent philosophies, and taking those teachings to prison groups and violence-filled countries like Columbia.

See Details of Plans to Redesign Mt. Auburn, Common Streets

Watertown officials joined transportation engineers Thursday night to present concepts for two major roadway projects that aim to improve safety for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. The public forum, held during a meeting of the Town Council’s Public Works Committee, provided an update on the Mt. Auburn Street reconstruction project as well as early designs for the Common Street improvement project. Residents were given the opportunity to weigh in on goals of the projects and provide feedback on design concepts. “We are very early in the process of these projects and this is the first of many community meetings we will have,” said Councilor Cecilia Lenk, who chairs the Public Works Committee.