Village Matters

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Get Out Your Clipboard

By Ann Christoph
By Ann Christoph

Your clipboard, your shovel, your social connections; whatever it takes to make a difference, set things right. That is the message of President Obama’s farewell address, and the theme of the Martin Luther King Jr. gathering at Main Beach this past Sunday.

Laura Buckle
Laura Buckle, 10 sings “Amazing Grace” at Main Beach on Sunday at a Martin Luther Kind Day rally. Pastor Jay Grant and Toni Iseman also spoke.

A candlelight vigil was quickly organized to remember Dr. King and his ideals and to counterbalance the recent racially charged incident involving local students with a positive message of love and action. We gathered near the lifeguard tower, clutching our flickering lights as the sun was setting and clouds gathered, appreciating how community togetherness supports in time of trial.

Guitarists Tommy Benson and Orin Neufeld played John Lennon’s, “Imagine all the people living life in peace . . .You may say I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us and the world will be as one.”

Organizer Cottie Petrie-Norris introduced local Pastor Jay Grant, who quoted King’s “I have a dream” speech, and added a few more of his favorites from other oratory by King: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” Grant reminded us that loving lovable people is easy, but loving difficult people is the true test of our commitment.

Courageously 10-year old Lura Buckle stood on a park bench and sweetly sang “Amazing Grace.”

Mayor Toni Iseman maintained we must not let this incident go unresponded to, we must understand more, reach out more, and take needed action.

As we milled around afterwards one young woman explained her response to the election, to Obama’s plea for widespread participation, King’s life, and our local community issues.

“I realized that I can’t wait until my children grow up to get involved. Now is the time. Jay Grant said that Martin Luther King would have been 88 today, his birthday. When he died he was just 41! That is the age I am now. Look at what he did in those few years; look at what I have still to accomplish . . . we can’t wait.” (In fact, King was even younger, 39, when he was assassinated in 1968.)

On Saturday, Jan. 21, there will be marches throughout the country. One of them will be right here at Main Beach from 10 a.m. until noon. That will be the kick off, the beginning of a new era of long, persistent action toward a better, more loving country. Every small step, every tree saved, flower planted, child cared for, nuclear canister deactivated, kelp fostered, park created, community nurtured, natural habitat preserved, wildlife protected, bit of energy saved, kindness extended, understanding reached, difference respected is a part of the dream come true. We won’t give up. Never give up.


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