“This is not the darkness of defeat. This is the darkness of the womb, as a new movement is being born.” Those poetic and prophetic words, passionately uttered by the Reverend Nell Fields of the Waquoit Congregational Church and echoed through their actions by hundreds of passionate Falmouthites as last weekend’s volunteer fair sponsored by Engage Falmouth, signify a resolve and a sense of hope that belie the conflict and consternation that is sweeping the nation.

In a time of bitter disputes on major issues that seems to spill over into every event from finding a parking space to finding health insurance, unprecedented meanness amongst each other that has turned Facebook into an in-your-face-book, and a general angst and anxiety that make a simple act like attending a public meeting or writing a letter to the editor a major task because of the fear of retaliatory or bullying behavior, the emergence of Engage Falmouth, and its efforts to promote the values for which they stand, is extraordinarily timely and important.

Engage Falmouth’s volunteer fair, held at the church hall at St. Barnabas Church, a fitting location given the welcoming and open-armed nature of this historic gathering place and house of worship in our community, was designed to, “encourage one-on-one conversation and community engagement,” according to the organizers. It did that and so much more. Donna and I arrived to lend our positive voices to the event and to interview attendees for FCTV. We arrived 15 minutes before the event was to begin; the room was already packed with people, filled with a positive energy, and busting at the seams with enthusiasm.

As we made our way from booth to booth, wading through the filled but not frustrated crowd, the message was the same at each stop; making a small difference still makes a difference and being part of small change is still being part of change. From community powerhouses like Brenda Swain and Rabbi Elias Lieberman to octogenarian activists continuing their life’s pursuits, to Engage Falmouth founders like Elise Hugus, who took time to personally thank attendees and offer encouragement and a smile, the attendees at this event captured a community commitment and positive momentum that will most certainly not end with this single day of activism. The clear message and result of hours of collaboration will resonate well beyond our borders and well beyond today and tomorrow; Reverend Nell was right—a new movement has been born, and a wave of positive change is cascading over our community.

According to a social media post, Engage Falmouth is “a nonpartisan umbrella group for raising awareness of current political issues in Falmouth and beyond. We (they) advocate for progressive change in our local community and worldwide.” At the volunteer fair, which really turned into a celebration of all that’s right with Falmouth, the palpable positivity seemed to leap from person to person, from booth to booth, and from positive utterance to positive utterance. I’ve been to my share of rallies, fairs, and conventions in the last 25 years. I’ve never been to something quite like this—where you could physically feel the positive energy and watch it be passed along. Engage Falmouth is the start of something big—and the amazing founding women of Engage Falmouth are at its amazing core.

Falmouth Selectman Megan English Braga, who long ago embraced the notion of giving back by giving of her time to improve our collective lot, had this to say about this local effort: “There is a level of concern, of discontent, that I haven’t seen in a long time and it is heartening to witness a new demographic in our community taking the lead in mobilizing friends and neighbors. These women have a range of talents and expertise and are truly plugged into the community, and I have no doubt that the work they do going forward will be meaningful–not just for Falmouth, but beyond.” Those words, humbly spoken by a local leader ushering in— and welcoming—new community leaders, encapsulate the essence of this constructive, progressive, and encouraging movement.

I had the opportunity to interview one of those leaders, one of the founding members of Engage Falmouth: Jarita Davis, whose boundless enthusiasm was only matched by her boundless smile. She explained,simply but powerfully, that she and her co-founders have one simple objective: positive change through community engagement. They’ve already done that—but intend to continue.

When I was a young political activist in Falmouth a quarter-century ago, the women I looked up to, the women who inspired (and sometimes admonished) me to be a better citizen were names like Lowell, LeClair, Valiela, Flynn, and Lindtner. Today, the torch has been passed to local leaders with names like Braga and to the founders of Engage Falmouth—names like Hugus, Rogers, Cohen, Niemeyer, Lans, Davis, and Valle. Our Falmouth future begins now, and our future and our Falmouth are in good—and positive—hands.

Mr. Clarkson may be contacted at votetroy99@aol.com and followed on Twitter @TroyClarkson59.

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