Essay: Let Love, Not Hate, Reign Over Our Hearts
During a time when many New Hampshire residents believe their state is embracing diversity like never before, the City of Portsmouth was reminded that not everyone is on the same page.
On the evening of Feb. 21, hate aimed to rule over Portsmouth. Abhorrent graffiti and swastikas were spraypainted on several businesses including Cup of Joe, Macro Polo, Deadwicks, 3 Bridges Yoga, Cotillion Bureau, Grim North Tattoo & Piercing along with a place of worship, the Temple Israel. With all these locations being either Jewish places of worship, BIPOC owned or LGBTQIA+ supporting companies, it is more than evident why they were targeted.
When cowardly hate crimes like this occur, we tend to ask ourselves, “How does this continue to happen in 2023?” Who could attain such odious ideologies and hateful views? But the first thing we should be asking is, “How can we prevent these doings from ever occurring again?” Fortunately, our state is filled with powerful activists and leaders who continuously work to better our community and environment every day. On this recent occasion, they did exactly that.
Our community leaders did not wait, did not sit in fear and wonder, but decided to show our strength, unity and support of each other. Within hours of waking up to the news, community organizers were in full force.
Organized by Assistant Mayor Joanna Kelley, Black Lives Matter Seacoast Executive Director and Co-Founder Clifton West, Mary Boisse-Barnes of the Lovering Health Center and Reproductive Freedom Fund of New Hampshire Executive Director Josie Pinto, an event titled “Love Blooms Here” was held inside Cup of Joe, Kelley’s business. The goal was to pick up the donated flowers and allocate them among the vandalized areas, utilizing the powers of our active leaders and allied community. Within an hour of opening, over 1,000 flowers had been distributed throughout the city.
As many might think, flowers are a simple yet questionable way of displaying support. However, nothing is more powerful than the collaborative voice which filled our town, our community and our people that day. The love which was created within the collective action that day holds power like no other. Our strength to overcome, to drown out animosity, to find unity, truly shows that our community stands together and does not tolerate hate of any kind. Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. proudly stated, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
We can all agree love won this battle. But what must not be forgotten is the immense war the people of America and the people of this world still fight. Though light may shine today, there is always injustice lurking in the shadows. Many still believe our communities are progressively inclusive and welcoming to all, but disregarding prejudice, such as the vandalism of Feb. 21, is simply ignorance and foolishness at its best. We can no longer sit in fear and disbelief of disgraceful operations that may occur within our state. We can no longer ponder what could be happening in disarray, but rather work to prevent any more discrimination and bitterness.
How can you take action? How can you better your community? There are always supporting organizations, discussions, rallies and more to participate in. There are always ways to educate yourself on the present and past of our nations and ways to truly understand the wrongdoings of the world to further prevent them. Always remember the wise words of Angela Davis: “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change, but changing the things I cannot accept.”
This article is featured in the spring-summer 2023 issue of 603 Diversity.
603 Diversity’s mission is to educate readers of all backgrounds about the exciting accomplishments and cultural contributions of the state’s diverse communities, as well as the challenges faced and support needed by those communities to continue to grow and thrive in the Granite State.
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