Devotion to a dream lives on

Last modified: 1/19/2015 7:07:04 PM
The region in which we live has long been known for its forward thinking. Great men and women, like Willa Cather, Mark Twain and Frederick Douglass, have made their homes, if only temporarily, in our towns. Others born and raised here embody that same tolerant, creative and universally accepting attitude.

That spirit was on display this weekend, as activists championing a number of different causes descended on Dublin, Peterborough, Hancock, Bennington and Jaffrey. NH Rebellion’s Granny D-inspired walk, with activists braving the cold rain on their way from Keene to the State House. They passed through our towns, sweeping up marchers along the way who picked up the mantle of Doris Haddock, who had famously fought for campaign finance reform. A one-woman show about Haddock’s life was showcased as well, in Peterborough and Dublin.

In Jaffrey, the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. was evident in the townspeople and students who turned out to celebrate the Reverend’s life and legacy. King’s dream was that his children would someday live in a world where they would be judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Our local students dedicated their time and effort to honoring King by marching in a Sunday procession and writing essays explaining his message. And while those students still don’t live in an entirely tolerant world, reading the words they wrote in King’s honor gives us all hope for the future.

These movements should stand as a shining example of how peaceful, meaningful activism can be. Unfortunately, they stand in stark contrast to other recent events classified under the umbrella of activism.

Last week, Boston-area protesters took to I-93, chaining themselves to concrete-filled barrels in order to block traffic, in an effort to bring attention to the Black Lives Matter campaign. While the cause, inspired by the events of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, is worthy in its ideals, the execution of this protest was ultimately counterproductive. Commuters were hours late for work, patients late for surgery, and hospital-bound ambulances were diverted as the protesters squabbled with police.

One construction worker, quoted in the Boston Globe, may have put it best when he said, “All they do when they do something like this is alienate people to their cause.”

Perhaps future protesters will take a cue from our local activists as to how one can spread a positive message, without putting more negative energy out into the world. When it comes to doing the right thing, sometimes all it takes is the innocence of a child.


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