We have an opportunity to come together to enact great good
To the editor:
We’ve gone through another election cycle. Based upon the results of the national election, we’re clearly pretty divided on a lot of issues.
In our local community, nowhere is this more evident than what happens on the Mound every Friday evening, with the #BlackLivesMatter and #AlllivesMatter people demonstrating. I’ve talked with a lot of folks who say everyone should go home, that both sides look like idiots, that we don’t have a problem with racism here in the tri-state area.
My belief is that at minimum we’ve got opposing beliefs demonstrating, which, if nothing else, is part of what democracy is supposed to look like (the free exchange of ideas and opinions, the right to assemble and demonstrate peacefully, the right to advocate for groups of people who are at risk).
But the other thing I’m seeing is that there’s some real tangible community outreach and potential good that’s coming out of what’s going on, up there on the Mound. Those Tri State Unity and Justice people are working hard to identify and help people or organizations that are pinched by the economy and by COVID-19.
Two hundred and forty dollars was raised at the Ruth Bader Ginsberg memorial that took place at the courthouse earlier this fall. That money was given to Turning Point for help with needed supplies.
It was when this money was delivered to Turning Point that the idea to raise money specifically for Thanksgiving was raised. As a result, an additional $250 was collected to be earmarked specifically for this need.
In addition, $130 was collected and given to the Steuben County Foundation to be used in a Community Inclusiveness Fund. A Clear Lake family established this grant as a way to promote equity, diversity and inclusiveness in our area.
Supplies were gathered after the TLC Women’s Shelter put out a call for needed items, and now money is being raised in conjunction with local businesses for families and individuals in need this holiday season.
What I know is that the Tri State Team will work with anyone in need. They will work across party lines, they will advocate and help regardless of skin color, sexual orientation or religion. This seems to truly amplify the idea that all lives do matter, that we’re all in this together, and that we have the power to enact great good for our neighbors and friends.
I can’t help wondering how much more good would come if both sides pooled their resources — really worked for all the lives in the tri-state area. Held joint fundraisers for Turning Point, local food pantries or other areas of need here, in this place.
Yes, as a nation we’re divided. Yes, we fight about all lives versus black lives, and yes, there is a tremendous amount of anger and resentment on all sides.
But there’s also an opportunity to come together to help those in our communities who need it. And that, it seems to me, should be the springboard we use to work together for our community, even as we hold different beliefs.