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We are pro light show, but not on this site.

The City of Waltham received state money to buy the Walter E. Fernald Developmental Center under the Community Preservation Act six years ago.  Mayor Jeannette A. McCarthy failed to deliver on commitments that were tied to the purchase which limits use of the land to open space, recreation, affordable housing, and historic preservation.  We are calling on the Mayor to deliver on her promise to redevelop the property, create a museum of disability history, memorial, and have in place a public permitting process to ensure respectful site use.  We are asking for an immediate meeting with the mayor to ensure her promises are fulfilled.

Letter to Waltham Mayor Jeannette A. McCarthy

Advocates—including The Arc of Massachusetts, the Disability Law Center, the Boston Center for Independent Living, and the MetroWest Center for Independent Living—said use of this site was disturbing and inappropriate given its history of human rights abuses and experimentation on children.


Please sign petition, share widely, and call the Mayor of Waltham at (781) 314-3102.

About The Fernald Developmental Center

CBS and 60 Minutes coverage:

America’s Deep, Dark Secret: Bob Simon Reports On Hundreds Of Thousands Of Warehoused Kids.

Metfern Cemetery Project:

296 forgotten inmates from two Massachusetts state institutions are buried in the woods of Waltham, Massachusetts. This site, a collaborative project of Gann Academy, tells their stories for the first time. Explore their biographies and the story of the cemetery below.


News Coverage:

12/01/2020 Advocates Vow To Continue To Protest Light Show At Fernald

11/26/2020 Waltham hasn’t delivered on its promise for Fernald

11/24/2020 Waltham Patch: Lessons, Not Lights, Needed at the Fernald

11/23/2020 Waltham Patch: Disability Advocates Protest Waltham Light Show, Citing History

11/21/2020 Boston Globe: Disability advocates blast plans for holiday light show at Waltham’s Fernald site

11/20/2020 AP: Advocates want light show moved from former mental facility

11/20/2020 New York Daily News: Protesters demand light show be moved from shameful ex-mental facility

11/20/2020 CBS WBZ 4: ‘Disgraceful’: Advocates Want Drive-Thru Holiday Light Show Moved From Former Waltham Mental Facility

11/19/2020 WBUR: A Holiday Light Show In Waltham Obscures A Devastating History

11/18/2020 Letter to the Lions Club from the Executive Director of MHLAC: Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee

11/18/2020 Response from the Waltham Lions Club

11/18/2020 WGBH TV: In Waltham, A Holiday Light Show For Charity Stirs Up Controversy

11/17/2020 Media Release by Alex Green with Comments from Charlie Carr

11/10/2020 Waltham Patch: Disability Advocates Push Back On Waltham Light Show At Fernald

04/19/2020 Boston Globe: Just like the coronavirus, the 1918 flu pandemic ravaged group living facilities

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