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The Ashfield News
Ashfield, Massachusetts
February 1, 2021     The Ashfield News
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February 1, 2021

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FEBRUARY 2021 THE ASHFIELD NEWS History Puts Lie to Claim Mob ‘Not Who- We Are’ In early January, the US. Capitol was breached by people from groups trying to overturn the election of President Biden. A large number of the rioting crowd Were identified as white supremacists from groups like the Proud Boys and others. Over the next few days, I listened to news commentators bemoaning the riot, and saying that “this is not who we are.” But isn’t this who we are? Is this new and unexpected? I don’t think so. I think this is exactly who we are and who we have been since Europeans arrived on these shores. I have had the opportunity to speak with many of my Black friends from the movement days about this statement. All of them agreed that this is who we are. Anyone who has faced the White Citizens’ Council or the KKK is intimately familiar with white supremacists and hate—filled mobs. This is nothing new. It is not the first attack against government and not the first attack against groups of minori- ties of many colors. It is not the first attack and murder of individuals who differ from the majority or the norm. After the election of 1898, the government of Wilmington, NC, was made up of both white and Black citizens, who had defeated the all-white Democratic Party. On November 10 that year, a group of about 2,000 white men set out to overthrow the legally elected Fusionist party. Over the course of several days, more than 60 (some histories say up to 300) people were killed and many Black businesses were burned. , On May 31, 1921, mobs of white residents attacked the GreenWood District of Tulsa, a predominantly Black area of about 10,000 people. Over the next few days, there were shootings, riots, looting and burning in the town. As many as 300 Black people were killed. ’ It was not always race that was the under- lying cause of mass murder and riots. In 1838 in Missouri, an unauthorized militia was organized and began putting pressure on a group of Mormon settlers. In defense, the Mormons armed 36 of their people. Even after negotiations and a stated truce, on October 30 the militia rode into the Mormon camp and killed seventeen peOple. This became known as the Haun’s Mill Massacre. ' In 1857, a group of Mormon settlers killed 120 members of .an emigrant wagon train in the Mountain Meadows of Southern Utah. August 6, 1855, saw Protestant mobs attack German and Irish Catholics in Louisville, in violence that arose out of political party differences. .And it was not only mass murder that ' occurred. Here is an excerpt from the Encyclopedia Britannica: “In the early morning hours of August 28, 1955, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam invaded‘Emmett Till’s great—uncle’s home and abducted the boy at gunpoint. They then severely beat him and gouged out one of his eyes before taking him to the banks of the Tallahatchie River, where they killed him with a single gunshot to the head. Afterward they tied Till’s body to a large metal fan and dumped him into the river. His corpse, barely recognizable, was discovered in the river on August 31.” Emmett Till was fourteen years old. He lived in Chicago but was visiting relatives in Mississippi. They say he looked at and maybe smiled at a white woman. His killers were acquitted by an all-male, all-white jury. On October 12, 1998, Matthew Wayne Shepard, a gay student in Wyoming, was tortured and killed. On June 7, 1998, James Byrd, Jr., was abducted by white males, tied and dragged behind a pickup truck for three miles. The means and methods of killings like these vary widely. The race, religion, gender identity and politics of the victims and perpetrators cover the gamut of people in America. This is a tiny list of examples of some of the ways we have chosen to deal with our problems, our distrust and our hatred of others. This is what we have done. This is what we have always done and continue to do because this is who we are. Unless we can see the inhumanity, the futility, the harm that hatred does to ourselves, we will remain this way. Can we change? I don’t know, or so the voices tell me. Food Pantry The food pantry distribution dates for February are February 9 and February 23. The program runs from 2 to B p.m. Senior Center Calendar February 2021 The Senior Center is open to the public for limited one—on-one services by pre-registration only. Staff is working and available Monday through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. by calling 625-2502. Staff is also available for phone calls (9 a.m.-—1 p.m.) and transportation on Fridays. The center is taking registrations for foot care, reflexology and SHINE. Other services offered: Transportation: Van transport for seniors 60+ covering nine towns in West County, including Ashfield. Rides provided only in Franklin County are prioritized as follows: medical appoint— ments, grocery shopping, once a month Walmart trip. Call to make an appointment at least 48 hours in advance or for information about reservations and fees. Outreach: Call Leanne Dowd, the outreach coordinator, for information and help with fuel assistance, SHINE Medicare insurance assistance, home repair program, home health care, food programs including applying for SNAP benefits, caregiver support group, Memory Café and other questions. Her services are available Monday—Thursday. ‘ Food Programs \ Lifepath To-Go Lunch: On Wednesdays, you can order lunch and pick it up curbside in front of the Senior Center. Call 625-2502 no later than 3:30 p.m. on Mondays. Suggested donation is $3. Lunch is ready for pickup between noon and 2 p.m. and is brought to your car. Tuesdays To-Go Lunch: Available once or twice a month. Call for dates and menus. Tuesday meals have become very popular so call early! February 2 February 16 (register by January 28) Texas chili, cornbread, rice, dessert (register by February 11) com chowder, ham 8t swiss sandwich, fruit, red velvet cupcakes. Pickup from noon to 1:30 p.m. for all lunches. Cost is $3. Drive by the front of the Senior Center and your lunch will be brought to your car. Brown Bag: Brown Bag is available on the third Wednesday of every month to be picked up between 2 and 3:30 p.m. in front of the center. If you are not yet a recipient, call Leanne at 625-2502 for guidelines on eligibility. Pantry at Cowell Gym: Open on the second, third and fourth Wednesdays from 11a.m to 4 p.m., 51 Maple Street, Shelburne Falls Hilltown Churches Food Pantry: Open every other Tuesday from 2 to 6 p.m. in Friendship Hall at the Ashfield Congregational Church. Footcare by Nurses: February 8 and 22. Pre-registration required. Call 625—2502. Reflexology: February 9 and 23. Pre-registration required. Ashfield Library Book delivery: The Ashfield Library and the Senior Center have partnered to make library books more accessible for homebound residents in Ashfield. Senior Center or Ashfield library volunteers will pick up books‘at the library and deliver to your home. Call the library by Monday or Tuesday (628-0306) for delivery on February 24. Caregivers Support Group via Zoom: Monday, February 1, 2 p.m. Call at 625-2502 if you’d like .to attend. Zoom Tai Chi: Lois Bascom is teaching Dr. Liam’s Tai Chi for arthritis and health every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 10 a.m. Tuesday’s program is for people who have never participated before. Bascom is charging $20 per month. To join or for more information, call Lois at 625-2970 or email her at lola621@comcast.net. The Mantra That Helps Me Through our Fractured Era Throughout life, friends sprinkle you with seeds of advice, but the best I ever got, the seed that dug its deepest roots and spiraled most righteously toward the sun, was this one: “Everyone has their reason.” " Everyone has their reason. For every single thing, all the way down to their own personal personality. That piece of advice has nudged its way like a Cat into most of my dealings since Meryl Levitz shared it with me thirty years ago. Meryl was . the head of Philadel- Listemng t0 phia’s tourism someone.else’s industrY- She hung as ")1, out with governors, presidents and made have a lot of very large like them. . .It stuff happen. Meryl I grow knows from reason. know And how to listen for it, and what to about, how the do with it when you rest of the world find it. thinks I remember when and where we were . ' . when she said it to things me. And I remember ’ me more the lightning bolt Power, . that shot through and anchored me to the ground when she said it. Everyone has their reason. Every One has their Reason. It’s the advice that has bridged friendships with people whose belief systems dance around on the far distant side of the philo- sophical universe from where mine do. Why does that matter? Because we all live in the same larger universe, and finding ways to bridge those gaps makes my world safer, as well as yours. Hearing the reasons and understanding them doesn’t mean I have to agree with them, it only means that I don’t just stomp on them, antagonize everyone, pride myself on being so smart, and make the world more divided. It means I stop my angry tirade and say, “Oh!” It means I can explain my own reason and perhaps, maybe, we then hear each other and realize where the dispa- rate ideas came from: A bad experience. A different childhood. Welcome attention from someone who thought that way. Fire and tempers strike hot and immediate. Social media and screaming voices shoot the flames across the country. Across the state. Across town where it didn’t need to burn so intimately. Everyone has their reason and it may be the most surprising and logical of ’ reasons, but arriving through a different ' I’NSU pipeline. Heard with empathy, it often creates its own bridge. File under: Things I Now Know from My Own Experience; Listening to someone else’s Reason doesn’t mean I have to like them. But it means I don’t have to shoot them, unfriend them or start a war with them, either. It means I grow and know more about how the rest of the world thinks and deals with things. It gives me more power, and Lord knows, we all like that! It can also mean you become Hercules Mulligan, the spy on the inside made famous in the historical musical Hamilton, gaining information that may not win a specific war for you, but helps you win the big one, around the world —- that “love and peace” thing people talk about so much. At this very moment I’m inside a hostile situation, one between a mother and her teenage daughter -—- that novel one! And while the issues aren’t political ones, they burn red hot in hurt and betrayal. I listen to both of them tell their story and, pulling the camera back, I can see the orchestra tuning their instruments up, so long ago, to begin the first notes of the crashing symphony we are in the crescendo of, right now. Can I be Meryl Levitz —' or Switzerland? Can I show them the pictures, the pieces, the colors that ' brought us to this masterpiece of hurt, now? Will they see them? I think it’s worth the try. I think it’s worth the try for all of us to listen to the reasons of those who see it so differently. If I had thought up that mantra myself, it ' wouldn’t mean as much as it does coming from someone else, someone smarter than I am. But since I didn’t, I can talk about it with full hope, now. Because without it, that whole idea about love and peace that winds through every generation remains nothing. Let it begin with me. Share the Warmth Ashfield neighbors helping neighbors to sustain themselves throughout the year- Sock Drive We would like to thank everyone for all the donations to the Sock Drive! ’We have collected an abundance of socks and will distribute them to needy people at the February 9 Food Pantry at the Congrega— tional Church. Thank you to our community for helping our neighbors sustain themselves during this stressful time. RANCE AGENC for over 30 years. 28 BRIDGE ST., SHELBURNE FALLS, MA 41 3-625-9437 www.MlRlCKlNS.com