Monday, March 21, 2016

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter banner went up over South Pleasant Street this morning

Barbara Love, former Amherst School Committee Chair and Professor Emeritus of Social Justice Education at UMass,  told a crowd of 75 gathered in Amherst Town Hall that the Black Lives Matter movement is "Not a statement of value of other lives but simply our effort to make a statement that black lives matter, to contradict historical forces that have placed black lives in jeopardy."

She opened her presentation with "I'm so proud of Amherst, so proud to call it my home."

And closed with a vignette about driving back to Amherst late one night a few weeks ago and upon crossing the town line  "I noticed my shoulders relaxing. I breathed a sigh of relief. I was feeling safe and secure because I was at home. I'm in Amherst."

Turning towards Amherst Police Chief Scott Livingstone she stated emphatically, "Thank you for creating a community where I can feel safe."

 Chief Livingstone and Barbara Love embrace at Town Hall ceremony for Black Lives Matter

The two embraced at the close of her speech as the crowd broke into applause.

 Standing room only crowd attended the event in the Town Room

For his part Chief Livingstone said he was approached at the Martin Luther King Breakfast back in January about the banner ceremony because folks did not want him or his department to feel like it was a statement against them.

 Russ Vernon Jones (standing left), former Fort River School principal, help coordinate event. Representative Ellen Story (standing center) and Dave Ziomek (standing right) also in attendance

He told the crowd that would have never even have occurred to him.  He instantly volunteered to do whatever he could to help make it happen and even wondered why it took so long.

In closing the Chief Livingstone read from the department Mission Statement that was written by his officers over six years ago when he first became Chief:

"We value and are grateful for the diversity of our community and the confidence they have placed in us.  We strive to protect the safety, rights, and property of every person in the town of Amherst.

We are committed to the enforcement of the laws, preservation of order and improving the quality of life for our community.  We do so in partnership with our community, while holding ourselves to the highest professional and ethical standards."

Amen.

First Congregational Church (adjacent to Amherst Police Station)

Unitarian Church town center

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's taken me close to 60 years of my lifetime to understand fully just how unsafe black Americans feel within so much of the geography of our country. The reading that's helped me most to get there: "Beloved" by Toni Morrison, "Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates, "The Warmth of Other Suns" by Isabel Wilkerson. So when Dr. Love talks about feeling safer here in Amherst, I get it, admittedly belatedly. It's a blessing that we should cherish in our oft-ridiculed town.

Rich Morse

Anonymous said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qO4X2TPLZ0A


Only


idiots


believe.



Dr. Ed said...

I thought that the outcome of the infamous Easter banner (or was it anti-abortion?) was that only announcements could be hung, not political messages.

It's called "content neutral access to a public forum." If the left gets to hang it's political messages, then everyone else can as well. Turtleboy Sports or the UMass SGA wants to post a "Support Barney Blowout" (or "F*ck the Amherst Police" -- without the asterisk), they NOW have every legal right to do it. And as to that particular vowel, _Cohen v. California comes to mind.

Barbara Love may feel safe in Amherst, but EVERYONE should feel safe n Amherst and MOST UMass STUDENTS *DON'T*!

And as to Barbara Love, she "retired" in 2009 (at age 63) and is given a tax-free pension of $82,193.64 per year (that's $6,849.47 per month -- a lot more than a lot of white men earn. This "Social Justice" crap doesn't pass the stench test....

Dr. Ed said...

Two other things -

1: If the converse of an argument can not be made, then there is an issue with the argument. It's an argument that Dr. King made, with frequency, and he was right.

What would happen if a "White Lives Matter" banner were hung across the road next week? Would people agree that all lives matter (as Dr. King would have)?
Would people simply ignore it, perhaps quoting Milton's line about truth being stronger than falsehood? Would people quote the (misattributed) Voltaire line defending free speech?

Or would all hell break loose????

(Anyone remember when someone mistook the PR flag for the TX flag -- how is beyond me -- and literally stole it?)

2: There is something inherently wrong with hanging political banners on the side of a church. Once God becomes partisan, religious bigotry becomes perfectly legitimate as there no longer is a distinction between partisan disagreements and the religion itself. This was the problem with Congressman/Father Drinan -- Pope John Paul II said he (and another Priest in WI) could be one or the other, but not both.

And I don't care what the political message is, I don't think it belongs on the side of a church.

Anonymous said...

Ed, you don't live here. Worry about banners someplace where you actually reside.

Anonymous said...

Black lives matter, but apparently not to other blacks who kill their babies and kill each other at a mind boggling rate.
Black lives matter except the lives of anyone who belongs to this cop and white-hating organization.
It's funny...when I come into Amherst I feel Less safe because of haters like B.

Anonymous said...

Ed's opinion is valuable. You can't see his point? Does where he lives make his thought invalid? I thought our little town celebrates diversity. Just not diversity of thought, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Bull.

Anonymous said...

BLM, that is.

Anonymous said...

All houses matter

Anonymous said...

Save the rainforests!

Well I think that ALL forests matter! Surely MLK would agree with me.

Anonymous said...

Ed is the classic busybody.

Anonymous said...

That bullshit statement about diversity is just that. Bullshit. There is little diversity of thought here. Very little.

Dr. Ed said...

Give me what I want and I'll go away. Not before.

Oh, and Enku, have you noticed that the death toll in Belgium has now exceeded that of Virginia Tech? Just sayin....

Mark Warren said...

What is it you want Dr ed?

Anonymous said...

I actually, gulp, agree w Ed and some other posters. The town banner should not bear political messages. Churches should also not make political statements. Police Departments should not support political movements. Your system is broke up there in the republic. So much fail for a "tolerant" society....that your liberiablism actually has become oppressive. Well done!

Dr. Ed said...

As to what I want, a Federal Grand Jury doing what was done in Springfield -- and there is more cause at UMass -- would suffice. People have no idea how many mid/high-level UM people would go to prison if state/federal law was enforced.

0h yes, I know about the "I don't want to go to jail" meeting in Whitmore...

Larry, I respect the fact you no longer drink, but if you want to buy me a beer sometime, I'll tell you about the UM folks who ought to be in jail and why.

I don't want that institution to do to anyone else what it did to me...

Jackie M'Vemba said...

Get this racist banner down. Who gets to decide what goes up there anyway?

Anonymous said...

Racist organization. Calls for the death of cops. And we support this?

Anonymous said...

Larry would you so kind as to offer an explanation as to why you've censored the postings to this article?

Larry Kelley said...

Because you're not saying anything new.

Anonymous said...

Oh, like all the other ground-breaking comments on other articles here. I see. Only those who say something new are allowed in, eh? I get it.