Chelmsford resident, Chelmford TV produce civil rights collection

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CHELMSFORD – From Slavery to Modern Times, a video series explores the history – and the ongoing struggle – of civil rights and racial justice.

Resident Jesse Heine produced “Civil Rights: A History”. Heines also narrates and acts as the host of the series.

More:The Chelmsford Board aims to promote diversity and dialogue

The four segments of the series follow the draft of lawyer and civil rights activist Bryan Stevenson – slavery, lynching, segregation and mass incarceration.

The series is linked to the Diversity, Racial Justice and Inclusion Committee and is also available on YouTube and Chelmsford Telemedia.

The Shalom Congregation, a synagogue in the city to which Heines belongs, is planning a virtual presentation and discussion of the series on Martin Luther King Day on January 18.

Heines, a retired computer science professor who worked at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, is a member of the adult education and social justice committees of the Shalom Congregation.

“Civil rights are an important principle of Reform Judaism,” said Heines.

Jesse Heines from Chelmsford appears in his series,

A panel discussion on Chelmsford Telemedia is scheduled for March 9th.

An idea grows

The idea for the series came after Bob Pariseau, a producer with Chelmsford Telemedia, heard a presentation made by Heines on behalf of the Learning in Retirement Association in early 2020, just before the coronavirus crisis.

“It snowed from there,” said Heines.

past and present

When Heines retired, he began working with the New Hampshire Department of Corrections to develop vocational training programs for inmates.

A UMass Lowell colleague, Melissa Pennell, asked Heines to give a presentation to her class.

The series follows a timeline – from the transatlantic slave trade to the murder of George Floyd – that sparked global outrage and called for an end to racial injustice.

“The theme of the program is historical, but I’ve tried to relate it to the present,” said Heines. “What happens nowadays doesn’t just happen in a vacuum.”

The series alludes to Stevenson’s quote: “Slavery didn’t end in 1865, it just moved on.”

Persistence of Racism

Heines said, “White supremacy is on the news all the time now – people who just believe that blacks are not as good as whites for whatever reason.”

Pete Pedulla, General Manager of Chelmsford Telemedia, told Heines about the Diversity, Racial Justice and Inclusion Committee.

Speaking to the chairman of the committee, Philip Hicks, Heines said: “We had a wonderful conversation … and he asked me to speak to the committee.”

Heines hopes the series will raise awareness of the ongoing struggle for civil rights and encourage dialogue about the past – and the future.

To learn more, visit

Forum on tap

A presentation and discussion of the series by Jesse Heines: “Civil Rights: A Story”

WHEN Tuesday, March 9th, 12.30 p.m.

WHERE Virtual presentation by Chelmsford Telemedia

FIELD OF DISCUSSION Professor C. Shawn McGuffey, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of African and American Diaspora Studies at Boston College; Brenna Wynn Greer, Associate Professor of History at Wellesley College; and Ralph Edward Jordan, Assistant Professor at the Manning School of Business, UMass Lowell.


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