Let’s move past fear, celebrate diversity
In Wednesday’s Monitor, the Rev. Jed Rardin suggested that “There are alternatives to violence.” He explained how Stand Your Ground laws give us permission to assume the worst when conflict arises and reminded us that each of us has work to do if we are to learn to resolve conflict peacefully. The Love Your Neighbor Coalition exists to help our community move past fear as we learn to assume the best, even in people who are not part of our own, immediate group.
The Love Your Neighbor Coalition came together in response to several incidents of hate-filled graffiti left on the homes of refugee families in Concord. Each time, our community came together to insist that, collectively, we are better than this. We want to build on the spirit of good will created by those rallies by creating opportunities for all of us to get to know each other.
On Aug. 9, the Love Your Neighbor Coalition is hosting a party to celebrate the diversity of our community. Please join us at Keach Park from 4 to 9 p.m. for a soccer tournament, free food and a dance party. When we bring our diverse communities together, we open up opportunities to practice many of the conflict resolution skills that Rardin outlined. We’ll take turns, we’ll share and good humor will abound. Most of all, we can’t help but to change when we get to know people who were not born in Concord but now contribute to the vitality of our city.
Our hope is that soccer players will join us for an afternoon of games. We’ll have a bouncy house for younger children. DJ Frankie Rosario will play music from all over the world. There are few easier ways to cross boundaries than to sit down to share a meal.
A party like this is only possible with the generous support of the community. Many faith groups are helping to provide food; ask your faith leaders if your organization is participating. If you would like to donate a watermelon, some chips or bags of hot dog or hamburger rolls, please let us know. If you can help to coach one of our pickup soccer teams, we welcome your participation. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know how you’d like to help.
Stand Your Ground laws have institutionalized violence as an acceptable response to fear. Let’s stand our ground by coming together to remind each other that we needn’t live in fear of those we do not know. We can instead come together for an evening of showing Concord that it is indeed possible to Love Your Neighbor.
(Cheryl Bourassa lives in Concord.)