By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Westborough – Although this year’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration was held virtually Jan. 18 instead of in person, it was just as powerful and impactful as the two previous years.
Nearly 200 people signed up for the event which was organized by Central MA Connections in Faith, Westborough Interfaith Association, Westborough Public Schools and Westborough Connects. During the program, the theme of “Standing In My Shoes: Love, Inclusion, Trust” was emphasized in song, prayer, and by the event’s speakers.
“Be the love that hate can’t stop”
The keynote address was given by Jamele Adams, the Brandeis University Dean of Students, who is also a poet and activist known as Harlem 1two5. Through his address and interactions with the Zoom attendees, he spoke of the importance of the power of loving others from a place of love.
“Love how I love, who I love,” he said. “If you love children…others…. come at others from that place of love. Be the love that hate can’t stop.”
“There is language that we would not use with some of our most beloved and respected elders,” he added. “Apply that love in other places.”
It was important to continue to have communication and open dialogue with others as well, he said, especially in a time of racial inequity.
“We have the responsibility to undo justice,” he added, “Politics should not determine how we connect with other people. There’s nothing about violence that communication won’t solve better.”
Adams also shared a powerful video he created, “Who Shot You?” which he filmed outside an MBTA station in Lynn. In it he asks repeatedly the viewer to imagine themselves in a variety of simple and ordinary scenarios such as going to church, jogging or using a cell phone and then being shot.
“Are there guns in heaven? Can you get shot in heaven? Can you imagine a place where you cannot get shot?” Adams asks at the end of the video. “I cannot.”
Perspectives from student poets
Three Westborough High School students, Mai Lord, Kyla Kamugu, and Aratrika Ghosh, also shared their original poetry in the event, addressing such issues as being a Black woman, white privilege, systemic racism, police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Participants in the Zoom call were also invited to pick up a Black Lives Matter rock painting project kit at the Westborough Public Library as part of the National Day of Service. That project was sponsored by WeCARE – Westborough Committee for Anti-Racism in Education.
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