Hi 44° | Lo 23°

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 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.)

Legacy Comments11

I'm all for celebrating diversity, Cheryl. Sometimes, however the ones who argue the loudest for "celebrating diversity" are the ones who are least accepting of "certain" types of diversity.

Progressives can't have it both ways but they sure do try. Celebrating diversity is the problem, not the solution. On one hand our progressive citizens are saying that we need to be color blind and on the other they want to point out the differences through diversity. Which one is it? I can tell you that most people are not "racist" but they are well aware of the 'attitude' of certain racial groups. We don't see Swedish gangs in Los Angeles and we don't hear much if anything about French on French crime. We see Asian Americans working hard and not complaining about anything, just applying themselves and not crying "discrimination" at every turn. The sense of entitlement that some ethnic groups feel is their issue, not an issue with native born Americans or other immigrants who have assimilated into our society. We talk about equality but progressives do everything that they can to point out, at every turn, every little thing that may point to inequality and they stoke the fires of racism by suggesting it at every turn. Diversity is fine, but assimilating into a society where we are all "Americans" and not "___________ Americans" is what holds a society together. In 2008 Obama campaigned on "we're not _______________American and _________________Americans, we are just all "Americans". Yes, as expected he has completely reversed himself, but that was one of the most accurate things he has ever said. Regardless if he was just pandering politically to the general public.

Also I find it strange you have so much respect for our politicians. You are definitely in the minority according to all the polling data.

TCB, I am quite serious. The 2010 Republican Legislature was elected on a platform of the economy and jobs. Guns, abortion, voter id and certainly SYG was barely mentioned if at all. Next election they were almost all thrown out, and the majority Republican Senate just barely squeaked through. So if the citizens really liked these laws they had a strange way of showing it. Do you know what ALEC is, and how they are writing the laws for many of the state legislatures? There was no ground swell for these laws.

Tillie, My understanding is a proposed bill must get through committees, be voted on and approved by a majority of the legislators and signed by the governor. Are you saying that system was bypassed? The NRA does not pass laws.

ARE YOU NOT LISTENING! Why do you think corporations and billionaires (including Dems) spend so much money on ads and causes they espouse? Because people (not mentioning anyone in particular, but if the shoe fits) are easily manipulated. Now I don't know who you are but you seem very naïve about politics. Stop for a minute and think why 400 people seem very happy to work for $100 a year. I am finished with this subject. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

The citizens did not ask for this legislation, It was pushed on them by the NRA and ALEC. The NRA pushed for this in FL and low and behold within the next few years 30 states have it. Citizens are told this is what they want, along with right to work, voter id and other ALEC legislation. Ten years ago no one wanted these things and now the citizens can't seem to live with out them. People are very easily manipulated and seem to let other people do their thinking for them. It is just a selling game. Just like this new anti-abortion legislation, one by one all the states fall in line just like dominos. Stand Free or Die, different drummer? Baloney!

Tillie, Are you really suggesting citizens did not ask for a laws that passed all the way through the legislative process? Are you serious? "people are easily manipulated...." You mean like the soc/left? I do not share this utter disrespect for our citizens, legislators or governors.

in addition - law-abiding citizens do not raise a weapon (any kind) because they fear what/who is in front of them. Its because they care for those who are behind them.

Not in the real world, they don't. Fear of the "other" is the greatest motivator for the carrying and use of firearms.

I disagree with SYG=violence. Why was SYG passed into law? Why did the citizens ask for SYG legislation? Why did the majority of our legislators pass and our governor sign SYG legislation? Was it because citizens enjoyed too much safety for themselves, families and property? Similarly, why do communities ask for or form neighborhood watches? Is it because they enjoyed an excess of safety and security in person & property? These laws were requested and passed because citizens were being robbed, injured, raped and killed and despite best effort, the police could not do enough. I agree the more people who adopt non-violence tactics – the better the world will be. However, as much as I believe there is good in this world – I know there is evil also. I did not make that way – that’s part of God’s plan. I do not believe God wanted us to be mere sacrificial lambs – slaughtered at will by predators (violent criminals). I do not believe God wanted us to be totally passive in the face of evil and give up our health, life, children or all we have worked for -to criminals- some political cause. I believe we are meant to take responsibility for ourselves and our families and to protect both. Non-violently, if possible, but effectively by whatever means are needed. Secondly – diversity and unity are diametrically opposed concepts and we need both. Diversity is good – in the proper proportion. Unity is good in the proper proportion. However, societies always need more unity than diversity – or the society disintegrates (usually to be replaced with something no one likes).

Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.