To the Editor:
For over five years we have gathered across our differences to learn about and from each other in creating an interfaith organization called Central MA Connections in Faith (over 300 members). As adherents of Bahá’í, Buddhist, Chinmaya Mission, Christian (multiple denominations), Eckankar, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Society for Krishna Consciousness, Unitarian Universalist, Zoroastrian, and more than a dozen other faiths we have had difficult conversations as we recognize our own prejudices, biases and ignorance, while also embracing deep friendships, laughter, and care. We are much more together than we could have been alone, and our work centers on establishing and building peace across our differences.
We are heartbroken at the recent offenses that happened at Westborough High School:
- The horribly racist writing of the “N” word on a stairwell.
- The antisemitic swastika in one of the boys’ bathroom stalls.
Both the “N” word and the swastika are two of the most reviled symbols of hate, and we denounce these two acts. Yet we recognize that the most meaningful way forward is through relationships, education, and dialogue.
Hate is taught to us; we instinctively show love and acceptance. We hold to the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Even when things appear bleak and disheartening, hope can emerge.
We ask the Westborough Public Schools, other area school districts, youth organizations and parents to further the education of our students on the need to see others as equals. We invite everyone, especially our young people, to join us at Westborough High School on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday January 17th at 9:30am, for our fourth annual celebration of Dr. King’s life, as we seek to honor and respond to his call to embrace love.
No matter if you practice a faith or not we hope you will join us.
Central MA Connections in Faith
Reverend Philip N. LaBelle, St. Mark’s Church, Southborough
Pastor Jeff Goodrich, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church of Westborough
Mark Sebell, Lead Facilitator