Peace Vigils

Humanity Will Triumph Over Hate

Peace Vigil - August 19, 2017.  By Melissa Nigro

Racism, as we all know, is not new. It is hidden but pervasive, riding the undercurrents of our society like a predator, just beneath the seemingly peaceful surface. Recent political issues have created enough turmoil to rise that predator to the surface, encouraging it to bare its viciousness.

We witnessed that viciousness in Charlottesville, manifested in boldly unmasked shouting faces and, of all things, tiki torches. The vision of all of those torches, the marching and the shouting of hateful and derogatory words, and watching, in horror, as the violence unfolded; it was hard to stomach. It was like a horror movie, but it was real. Here. In America. In 2017. I watched, aghast, but at the same moment strengthened in my resolve to combat it.

Those violent protests were an unacceptable display of hate and racism that has no place in our communities.

We should not tolerate nor normalize racism in any of its insidious forms. We should condemn acts of white supremacy, and offer our open hearts and open minds in return. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Their tiki torches lit up their faces of hate. Let us use that light to instead illuminate love and support.

On Saturday, August 19, 2017, the YWCA Aurora hosted a peace rally in response to Charlottesville, and to join the national call to action against white supremacy. It was an opportunity to gather in peace and reflection, and provide a public display of solidarity against the waves of hate and discontent. I implored the need to reframe the conversation on race, by offering learning opportunities, and listening to those hurt to validate their pain.

And while racism isn’t new, I believe it can be eradicated by continuing to have deep conversations about it, calling out improper acts at every occurrence, and believing people of color when they say that these displays are indicative of daily racial injustices and threats their communities continue to face. I believe we can bring racism out from the depths, and that, eventually, that insidious beast will meet its match against hope, love and solidarity. I will continue to believe our humanity will triumph over hate.

Peace Vigil – June 24, 2016

By Melissa Nigro

Thank you for joining us as we grapple with the enormity and impact of the hate crime that was carried out in Orlando at the Pulse Night Club.

Many of us are looking for ways to help us cope with this recent devastating attack on the pride community. We believe in peace. We believe in unity. We believe that we are able to rise above these acts of hatred. How do we do that is the question. Social gatherings of peace, like this Peace Vigil, are one way.

Deconstructing hatred is difficult, and takes tenacity and persistence. MLK said “hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” But how can love refute this act of hatred? We will gather, like today, to show that love and peace still exist. We will discuss ways to address the roots of conflict. And we will advocate against acts of hatred with the tenacity and persistence it deserves.

We are also passing around flowers and index cards that hold the names of the victims from the Orlando massacre. As we read the names of each victim, please place the flowers here.

We are here today to mourn the tragic loss of humanity, and pledge an allegiance to love and peace.

The people murdered in Orlando were murdered because of who they were, because of what they were.

This was a crime against a specific population of people, driven by hatred.

Our hearts are broken from this act of violence and hatred.

The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating hatred in all forms.

We will provide moments like these of solitude and peace. We will provide education and hope. We will advocate against all forms of hatred. And with your help, we will provide change in our society.

Hatred is not welcome here. We stand united with Orlando, united with each victim, and united with the pride community.