Reflections from Boston: Payal


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Healing Our City: An Interfaith Service – worth getting up at 5:30am for. 🙂

After 2 hours in line, meeting/connecting with new Bostonians, getting a group of 6 of them to sing “Lean on Me” in line and build community without waiting for church, getting interviewed, turning down interviews, cracking jokes at the NBC Los Angeles anchor that seemed totally out of place, and airport like security, it was worth it.

As a spiritual person, being part of an interfaith community was great. Great energy, powerful reflections by faith leaders. Cardinal O’Malley was especially powerful, as well as Nasser S. Wedaddy from the American Islamic Congress.

What was also powerful was Menino’s speech [listen, think what you want of the Mumbles, but he loves Boston, and his energy and voice verified that for me], and President Barack Hussein Obama’s speech. To explain why the president’s speech hit me hard, as I agree wholeheartedly with some of his approaches and disagree wholeheartedly with others, here’s a bit of my heart:

It was especially important for me to attend, because being brown in this city at this time is scary for me. On Monday, I feared leaving my house for two reasons, one, because of the bombings, and the worry that it was not over, and two, because I did not want to cross the path of a suspecting stare, violence fueled by fear or anger, a look that “other-ed” me more than usual, or feared me or those that looked like me.

It is fresh in my head that not less than 6 months ago, Sunando Sen was pushed onto the path of an oncoming train and killed by a woman who blamed Muslims AND Hindus for the attacks on September 11th. In New York City. Oak Creek Wisconsin is fresh in my head. My friends who have been scared THIS WEEK to go to their mosque occupy my thoughts.

Obama’s speech was responsible. Uplifting, powerful, catered to Boston [sports, sports!], but overall, responsible. I needed that, for me, and for my family, and for my brothers and sisters. This was not cowboy mentality. This was unity, community, and support. The church sat at the edge of their seats, caught with his every word, and for a figure like that, arguably one of the most influential people in the world, to send a message of love, not fear, was a very, very good thing.

We are Boston. I AM BOSTON. Let no one, regardless of who is responsible for the acts on Monday, forget that.



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