Photography by Urbano Photo (@urbanophoto)
August 3, 2020 by Laura Harper Winters
Today, at the invitation of the Hingham Unity Council (HUC), Hingham residents and neighbors gathered at the Hingham Bathing Beach for a peaceful event titled, "Stand Up for Unity: Hate Has No Home in Hingham."
The goal of the HUC gathering was to "recognize that every person deserves to feel valued, appreciated, and most importantly, safe from intimidation and fear in Hingham and our country."
Hingham resident Jenny Weymouth shared, "This event was important to me because I needed to believe that there was a non-threatening way for our community to process the recent events and divisiveness we've seen in our community and our country these past few months. I hope that the event gets the attention of people who are wondering what all the fuss has been about or are confused about their own understanding of the issues and gets them to ask questions." Weymouth continued, "this is how change happens, through reflection, dialogue, and a willingness to listen and learn."
The HUC also promotes the idea that supporting people of color and supporting Hingham’s police, firefighters, and other first responders who serve our community are not mutually exclusive, a message that resonates for many of today's attendees.
"When members of our community are targets of threats, intimidation, and made to feel unsafe (for expressing their views), we must gather together and proclaim that the residents of Hingham stand united for human dignity, tolerance, and civil discourse," shared Michelle Ayer, HUC Board member.
In the spirit of the HUC’s mission, the gathering of approximately 100 attendees was peaceful and respectful.
After the event, HUC Board member Katie Sutton spoke to the Anchor and shared, "We live in a horribly unjust world. And even in this beautiful little town full of wonderful people, racial injustice exists." Sutton continued, "I can’t stand silently by and do nothing. I want to find ways to create dialogue so we can find a way to make positive change. For me, today was a piece of that dialogue."
The following statement was drafted by the HUC and read aloud at today's event by Board member, Andrew Turner.
The Hingham Unity Council was formed to create a space for conversation, to unify our community, and to support Hingham residents and guests who have been marginalized and treated unjustly throughout history.
In an essay that he wrote days before he passed away, John Lewis wrote: “When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war.”
We gather here today as a united group of citizens, with individual stories and intersecting lives, to remind ourselves that our community cares.
We gather here today to show support to our friends and our Black, Indigenous, and neighbors of color and affirm that while they are few in number in our town, they are not alone. We are listening deeply to their stories and experiences, and are grateful for their bravery in sharing these stories with us. We say unequivocally: Black Lives Matter.
We gather here today in the midst of a pandemic. After a difficult week for many in our town, we long simply to be together and to stand united. As we move Hingham forward, one step at a time, may we do so carrying peace in our hearts, exhibiting generosity toward our neighbors, and expressing gratitude for the opportunity to work together.
Enjoy your time here today with old friends and new. When our gathering ends at noon, please remember that WE, this group here, is Hingham. What we stand for is alive, thriving, and supported by our friends in neighboring towns.
Let us lay down the heavy burden of divisiveness and embrace peace and unity.