June 5 2020

Interfaith Clergy Holding Social-Distancing Vigil Against Racism and Hate

By: Rich Hosford

There will be a vigil along Cambridge Street centered in the area near the Town Common and Simonds Park next Tuesday to spread the message of anti-racism and support for all minorities. 

 

This vigil is being organized by the Burlington Interfaith Clergy Group as a peaceful socially-distanced show of support for #BlackLivesMatter and all who have lost their lives to police brutality, a release from the organization says. Everyone will be standing (10 feet apart) on either side of Cambridge Street on the sidewalk along the Common and along Simonds Park. 

 

“Please bring your own sign and wear a mask!” the Interfaith Clergy said. “At 5:30 p.m. we invite everyone who is able to take a knee, bow a head, or make your preferred gesture of solidarity as you wish and are able for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.”

 

When asked what inspired them to put on this event, Reverend Angela Wells-Bean of UCC Burlington said she had been waiting to see if a minority-led action would emerge but when she did not see anything in the works she wanted to do something to show solidarity. 

 

 

“I met with the Interfaith Clergy Group and said it was on us to advocate for loving our neighbors,” she said. “We had a Zoom meeting and this vigil was born.” 

 

Rev. Wells-Bean added she was inspired to hold the vigil as a way to show residents of any race that the community supports them. 

 

 

“I felt that Burlington needed to respond to the horrifying murder of George Floyd in some way and to let our black neighbors know that the residents of Burlington reject racism in all forms and reject police brutality,” she said. “To let them know that they belong here and they are safe here.”

 

Rabbi Susan Abramson of Temple Shalom Emeth said that with so much enthusiasm in the country by so many people it was important for Burlington residents to have their voices included.  

 

“We really felt like the Burlington community should have an opportunity to respond to these events and nothing had happened so far,” she said. “We know there is a lot of emotion out there and people are chomping at the bit to express their emotions and stand up for justice in solidarity with people of color.”

 

However, because of the pandemic, she said they didn’t feel like a traditional rally was the way to go. 

 

“I feel very strongly that during this pandemic we need to do something that is physically safe so I suggested we stand along Cambridge Street during rush hour to have the maximum number of people driving by,” she said. 

 

If you cannot attend in person because of concerns about Coronavirus or any other reason, the organizers plan to livestream the vigil on Facebook to let people support from a distance. 

 

“Social distance must be observed and masks must be worn,” the post states. “We invite families to stand together. Any minors should attend with a guardian if possible, or have explicit parental permission to attend. Marshals will be present to enforce these standards and to ensure the peaceful nature of this event.”


 

 
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