Racism is a headache

A few weeks back in the Jamaica Plain Gazette, a reader wrote a letter stating that “racism is our limp.” Interesting metaphor but I see racism not as a limp but as a headache. We often spend to much time in our heads apparently in pain over a previous incident that colors our views of the world and each other.

As a teen growing up in lower Roxbury, I lived through the turmoil of the ’60s when race relations began a turn for the worse.  Boston was far better at living together than other large U.S. cities. I remember 50 years ago in 1967 when racial unrest was a fire quickly moving city to city across America.

Busing in the 1970s brought out the best in many and the worse in some as people started building invisible barriers against one another. As today, the media often looks for conflict, it sells the news. Bad news increases ratings and ratings increase advertising rates. Same today as back then.

I do not believe there is a face of racism because most racists hide their real feelings in darkness. It sprouts from outside agitation like forced busing did for too many.  Racism is for most of us a form of Original Sin, a stain we carry inside us. Our job is to stand up against it when that ugliness comes to the surface.

It is a human contagion that affects all us  when we least expect it.  As we grow in age usually wisdom follows for most. We see each other not as rival gang members but as members of the one human race.

Sunday, May 21 over at the Franklin Park Zoo, it was the annual Kite and Bike Family Festival and the zoo area was packed with families with young kids and folks of all ages like myself who remembers the old days when my parents took us to the zoo on the orange-colored streetcars out of Egleston Square headed up Blue Hill Ave to the zoon entrance’

There were rainbows of colors on both the kites flying in the wind and in the faces of those enjoying this spring festival on a great day. I saw no one limping. I saw people acting nice to each other. It does happen you know.

We need to stop limping through life. We need to cherish our shared humanity. Think about the positive and positivity can actually happen.

No denying bad things still happen but we need to stay positivity because our actions are what counts .We are Boston Strong. We are better than our past. We have a future to protect.

Sal Giarratani  

East Boston

Monthly vigil for Black Lives Matter

The Vigil in Support of Black Lives Matter gathers on the first Thursday of each month from 5:30-6:30 in front of the First Baptist Church at 633 Centre St. in JP. We have been meeting for the last 16 months. Through these monthly vigils, we hope to create: a regular presence to show visible support and solidarity with Black Lives Matter, a space to come together and stand against white supremacy and for racial justice, and an opportunity to raise our voices in unison to denounce the murders of Black men, women, and children

Each month, there is a speaker, a reading of the names of those killed by racially motivated violence since Trayvon Martin, and a silent sidewalk vigil. As many as 525 JP and surrounding community members have attended each time.

The next vigil is on Thursday, June 1. 5:30-6:30. We hope to see a Gazette reporter and photographer there

The Vigil Planning Group

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