Union Chapel will begin its first series of celebrations recognizing the 150th year of the chapel by dedicating the rebuilt and totally refurbished 1924 Austin Organ. Minister of Music Bill Peek has selected internationally acclaimed organist Alcee Chriss 3rd to deliver the dedication recital. It will take place on August 4 at 7:30 p.m. Chriss hails from Dallas, Tex., where he was exposed to music at an early age in his father’s church. He studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music before pursuing his Ph.D in music at McGill University. He appeared in Stacey Tenenbaum‘s 2019 documentary Pipe Dreams and was the winner of the 2019 Canadian International Organ Competition. Alcee has joined the faculty at Wesleyan University as university organist and artist-in-residence. See you there!

The Union Chapel Speaker Series has been newly dedicated and, going forward, is named for Prof. Charles Ogletree. On July 29 at 4 p.m., the series will feature Nikole Hannah-Jones and Michael Eric Dyson. Prof. Hannah-Jones became a staff writer for The New York Times in 2015. That is where she created The 1619 Project, which aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of America’s national historical narrative. In May of 2020, the Pulitzer Prize Board announced that she won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for her introductory essay to The 1619 Project.

In Prof. Dyson's latest book, Long Time Coming, five chapters are devoted to the violence that took the lives of Elijah McClain, Emmett Till, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Hadiya Pendleton, Sandra Bland and Rev. Clementa Pinckney. He will be sharing excerpts from the book. Both will deliver presentations on the state of democracy in the second decade of the 21st century.

Sparked by the murder of George Floyd, many Island community members took a knee at Beetlebung Corner every day for a significant period of time protesting the harm visited on black people from police brutality. This gathering was made aware of the life of Pervis Payne, now on death row in Tennessee, and are hosting Disrupt Death Row: Art and Justice art show to support the freedom of Payne. The event will be held at the Kara Taylor Gallery in Chilmark on July 31 from 6 to 8 p.m. Proceeds will support the Free Pervis Campaign and the Innocence Project.

Thanks to Deborah Porter, Jill Shaw Ruddock, Trina Martin and Claudia Weill, the Island is buzzing about the upcoming film Lilly, which is currently in production. It stars Patricia Clarkson and is about the life and times of Lilly Ledbetter, who worked in a Goodyear plant in Gadsden, Ala. and was the victim of wage and sexual discrimination on a regular basis. Despite the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the 1964 Civil Rights Bill, gender discrimination in the work place remained prevalent. Ledbetter sued Goodyear and the case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court shedding light on the issues facing women in the workplace. Stay tuned!

Island residents Ed and Shirley Redd, Kathy Taylor, Caroline Taylor Ellerson, Jon Evan Hornsby, Colin Redd and other family members left Oak Bluffs heading to Horsham, Pa. this past weekend to celebrate the life and legacy of Edward Taylor Coombs, who passed 10 years ago in a car accident while home from Marist College. Ed came to Oak Bluffs all of his life, swimming at Inkwell Beach with his cousins. The family established a scholarship foundation in his name for promising student athletes heading to college. It has given out $789,000 to date. It is a fitting tribute to Eddie, who was an all-star lacrosse player and outstanding student.

Paradise on earth is living the Vineyard experience. Enjoy it as life is fleeting!