Opening statement from the 19 August 2017 Vigil for Love on The Green:
“We gather in the understanding that we are all the same and equal. We revel in laughter and joy with good friends and family; want beautiful and meaningful experiences for our children; and feel deep loss when our loved ones pass on. We all experience our humanity the same and yet people of color have experienced rape and genocide for centuries, and continue to endure trauma, violence, and oppression all because of white supremacist ideology and the racist systems that have long proliferated in American Society. Let us share a moment of silence to reflect on and pay honor to Black scholars, writers, artists, activists, and every day individuals whose insights, sacrifices, and perseverance allow for us to gather here, acknowledging the need to cultivate a new American way of life based on love and affirmation of diversity in all its forms.
“Today’s vigil is about holding space for us all. Space for those who have suffered from white supremacist practices to grieve, be witnessed, and held in love and admiration. Space for those who have benefited from white supremacy and stood by unquestioning and in silence, like I have, to embrace the embarrassment, shame, discomfort and disgust that comes from being complicit, and to work through these necessary emotions without appeasement to authentically commit to anti-discrimination and anti-hatred in thought, speech, and action. We gather to hold space for allies and survivors; we gather in hope that those with hate change their ways; we gather to celebrate the diversity of our multifaceted identities, which nourish our collective humanity.
“Thank you for being here today, and on behalf of the Woodstock Social Justice Initiative, I invite you to fill this space with your messages of love and diversity celebration. Welcome in the spirit of love.”
–Mary Ellen Solon, Co-founder WSJI