Thank you to Dr. Alex Kharazi of Franklin Township’s Interfaith Council for organizing Sunday evening’s vigil to reaffirm the community’s commitment to unity and solidarity in rejection of any form of racism, hate and bigotry. 

Thank you as well to the spiritual, governmental and educational leaders who clearly and passionately expressed dedication to speak out if there is injustice and to harness the power of love to counter the actions or words of those who seek to oppress, vilify or instill fear in others due to their race, creed, ethnicity, sexual orientation or other “differences”.  

The core values upon which our nation was formed – that all men are created equal and that we have the right to freedom of speech and peaceable assembly – was affirmed at this vigil along with a call to action to resist responding to hateful, bigoted or racist speech or actions with dismay, disdain or apathy but, rather, to respond as a united community where any attack on acceptance and tolerance will be met with loving disrupance.  Speeches reflected what Martin Luther King, Jr. said:  “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality … I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” 

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Listening to the speakers’ acknowledgement that we all grew up with prejudices; that these attitudes and ideas are learned and can be unlearned; and that our progress in promoting acceptance, tolerance, and inclusion will only continue if we acknowledge our history, denounce and expose hate, and counter such expressions with acts of goodness, I was inspired by this diverse group who, though clearly denouncing “supremacist” and hateful speech, guided us with one voice to pray for and communicate with fellow human beings who express ideas that can be harmful and divisive. 

As Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high.”  All in Franklin Township should be proud of and join with its leaders who affirmed a dedication to win against hate, expressed faith in the goodness of our community, and advocated for using light to drive out darkness.  View the videos of speeches in the article in TAPinto from 8/21/17 to be more inspired.

Barbara Cuthbert

Griggstown section of Franklin Township