The “Pause” we have all so carefully adhered to over the past three months is slowly loosening its grip. This week we will be in Phase 2 which will allow greater movement and freedom for us personally and especially our local businesses and restaurants. We have been through a lot since this health crisis began and it has taken its toll – not only the great loss of human lives and the effects on the economy and small businesses but the human connections that have been diminished. It has been difficult, and yet the personal level of responsibility has been extraordinary, in the face of something that we have never experienced. It is a true testament to our sense of humanity, but there is more.
The sad and brutal death of George Floyd has set off a global reaction and our communities are shaken, disturbed, and angered. Here, there have been hateful racist postings on social media that caused fear and shock to our black residents and to all of us. Locally we have witnessed some large gatherings to express the frustration and anger that is felt at home and our nation. This is a wakeup call to reckon with the issue of racism- sometimes an undertone, sometimes overt, but present. The right to gather and to demonstrate is an essential part of the freedom we have as Americans. The local rallies were peaceful and organized but brought with it some fear and anxiety based on reported violence throughout our country, peppered with social media rumors.
As I addressed the Saturday gathering, what I was impressed with were the young men and women who came to these events. It was clearly a moment to stand up, speak out against racism and social injustice, and to have a voice. I believe our strength as a community is its desire to face what matters and that silence will only deepen painful wounds. Each speaker throughout the afternoon brought a message that clearly recognized the weight and importance of this moment. It is an awakening, a time to change the trajectory. Change, true change, is something that occurs when we open our ears, open our minds, and open our hearts.
Hate grows when it is left untended, in fact, it is as deadly as any virus. In the same spirit of solidarity that we have shown during this health crisis, let us do the same to change systemic racism, social injustice, and brutality. The hard work is ahead, and we can only do this together.
A large gathering is a civil right but to ensure it is safe and that all are protected the presence of the Warwick Police and in this case with State Police backup was critical. Thank you to the men and women of the Warwick Police Department for your dedication to the safety of our citizens.
The next Village Board meeting will take place on Mon., June 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall, located at 77 Main St. in Warwick, and will be held through Zoom videoconference and may be viewed live by the public on the Village’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/VillageofWarwick.