Tuesday morning I set off for my daily walk enjoying the sunshine, the sounds of seagulls and the smell of salt air. I felt a sense of peace and well-being despite the problems of the world that press in on us all regularly. When I got to the beach I stopped to rest and pulled out my cellphone. I know I should never do that on a beautiful walk, but I did. As I scrolled through Facebook (something else not recommended for morning walks), I found that our beloved Highfield Theatre was vandalized.
Highfield Theatre is home to College Light Opera Company and each summer, except this last one, has been overflowing with music, dance, orchestral music and young, aspiring performers. Each summer a large cast gathers to learn more about their craft and in the process delights audiences with sparkling performances.
But theater is not over in late August. Falmouth community theater continues to offer productions through the winter. In a word, Highfield Theatre is a treasure to our community.
It is with angst that I saw the defacing of the Black Lives Matter sign at Highfield Theatre.
“Blue Lives Matter” was spray-painted in several places on the building. Destruction of another’s property is always wrong and illegal. There are dueling signs around about just whose life matters. Of course, everyone’s life is important. But with the dueling signs people forget something important. Since the founding of this country, Black lives have not mattered as they should. Instead, they have been subject to slavery at first. Yes, The Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery; however, systemic racism continued across the board in all our major institutions, leaving behind nonwhite persons. In many quarters that is still true today.
My eyes were opened to the challenges Black families face when talking with a neighbor many years ago living near a large city in Connecticut. My blond, blue-eyed son had recently gotten his license. Our talk with him before he took our car out for a spin included things like observe the speed limit, do not play the radio too loud, no more than one other passenger. Be respectful of the police if they happen to stop you. Answer their questions and cooperate.
My neighbor’s talk with her son was quite different. Keep your hands where an officer can see them, no sudden movements. She believed it was a foregone conclusion that her son would be stopped. Her family knew from experience that Black men were more routinely stopped than anyone else. I was stunned. I had never heard that before.
I respect the Black Lives Matter signs. But I wonder if something different could bring us together more. Perhaps the sign should read “Systemic Racism ends with us Today”…perhaps that could unify us rather than pit us against each other.
Reverend Nancy W. Strickland
Old Dock Road