Jamie Larson | Chronogram
It's easy to look at Great Barrington, Massachusetts, in the Southern Berkshires' forested mountains, with its historic streets and tidy, scrollable business district, and think it's a sleepy town. But Great Barrington sleeps like a panther in the branches—elegant, poised, and self-assured in its ability to surprise you at any moment.
The Heart of Great Barrington
As much as it's an old town, steeped in history, including being the birthplace of W.E.B. Du Bois, Great Barrington these days is all about the future. In 2017, the town board enacted a Trust Policy, ensuring undocumented immigrants are supported and protected by town government and police. Town board member Pedro Pachano said the decision was unanimous and was indicative of the values Great Barrington wants to wear on its chest. "It was a conscious effort for the town to be recognized as being welcoming to all people," says Pancano. "It's a pretty progressive town. Other towns in the South Berkshires are much more conservative, but we want change and we want growth."
The Trust Policy was the idea of the Multicultural Bridge, one of a number of other innovative and brightly run community aide nonprofits that speak to Great Barrington's civic character. The South Berkshire Regional Community Center, for another example, along with its many programs, holds a weekly free dinner where local professional chefs rotate in to cook high-quality meals available to all regardless of their circumstance.