Editorial: The many paths of resistance

  • Silvia Tunguru joins others in singing during the Monday night rally in front of the Concord city council chambers on July 9, 2018. Tunguru, 17, who came to America from the Congo spoke to the crowd. GEOFF FORESTER

Published: 7/13/2018 12:04:57 AM

Protesters made their voices heard outside of Concord City Hall on Monday night. The Trump administration’s policy of separating children and parents at the nation’s southern border is abhorrent, and a group of 50 or so people asked the city council to say so, loudly and officially.

The protesters were right to push for a resolution. This inhumane piece of American immigration policy – which has been met with outrage and condemnation across the political spectrum – must not be forgotten nor forgiven; it must never become an acceptable component of border security. But in deciding not to speak out as a body, the city council was also correct. If councilors took an official stand on every humanitarian crisis and injustice, it is all they would ever do.

As Mayor Jim Bouley and Councilor Rob Werner suggested, it is more important that Concord continue to be a welcoming place for all people, and the city is performing well in that regard. From the new community center and improvements to Keach Park on the Heights, to the annual multicultural festival and Welcoming Week in September, to outreach efforts by the police department, as well as all of the gestures of kindness and empathy we see, hear and read about daily, it seems to us that Concord’s collective heart extends far beyond its geographical footprint. While America has lost much of its shine in the eyes of the world over the past couple of years, the goodness emanating from the American people has only grown stronger. Those who boldly speak truth to power are part of that, as are the people who are changing the world quietly and incrementally, one marginalized person at a time, here and abroad. They are everywhere.

Last week, for example, the Boston Globe and reporter Deirdre Fernandes told the story of Southern New Hampshire University’s online degree program for refugees – “the innocent casualties and castoffs of human conflict.” SNHU began the effort in Rwanda in 2013, the Globe reports, and has since expanded to Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Lebanon. This is a creative business model for a university trying to carve out a niche in a competitive industry, but more importantly, it’s a path to someplace better for millions of people with little reason for hope. The program is the very essence of American soft power. While President Donald Trump is telling refugees and immigrants they are not valued, SNHU is showing them otherwise. That matters for people who dream of where an education might take them; it will matter for their children, who will know America as a place of opportunity despite the dark shadow cast by its government.

The higher purpose of political resistance is to lay the groundwork for something better, and there is no single way to achieve that goal. “Something better” begins, has always begun, with the way one exists in the world and spreads outwardly from there.

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