A statement by Worcester community leaders to refugee and immigrant families …

The Heart of the Commonwealth, Worcester, Beats for EVERYONE!

We stand in solidarity speaking directly to our neighbors, our co-workers, our sanitation workers, court advocates, store clerks and police officers.  We stand in solidarity speaking as mothers, fathers and parents, to the Refugee and Immigrant families who have fled pain-filled pasts to come to our city and also to those who count generations here; this city is YOUR HOME, it is OUR HOME.  You are welcomed here, we are glad you are part of our community and grateful for the many contributions offered through your presence.  You are not only welcomed here you are appreciated & LOVED here!

For years we have reprinted, emblazoned and trumpeted our City as the “Heart of the Commonwealth.”  Today we are being challenged to make these words mean something.  The events across our country and Commonwealth have challenged us to put our words into meaningful action.  As the heart of Massachusetts, Worcester must be a community committed to justice and ready to defend justice.

+ We pledge today as community leaders, elected officials, community organizations and faith leaders to be voices that reject hate and racism.

+ We pledge to challenge and resist those attacking immigrants and refugees, our transgender LGBTQI brothers and sisters, Blacks, Latinos, and those who practice their faith, especially Muslims and Jews.

+ We pledge to rebuff those who seek to create discord and hate.

+ We pledge to denounce and challenge those who choose to demean and attack.

+ We pledge to use our collective power to support and protect anyone who may be targeted because of who they are.

We know that many are fearful of the climate of animosity, racism, bitterness and hatred that has been stoked over the past few months.  We will not be part of going backwards.  We seek working together to ensure that as the Heart of the Commonwealth, the only BEAT you hear in Worcester is that of LOVE and not hate.

Mayor Joseph Petty; Councilors Candy Carlson, Khrystian King, Sarai Rivera, George Russell; City Manager Ed Augustus; School Committee members John Monfredo and Brian O’Connell.

Rev. Nancy Baillie Strong, Rev. Helen Boss, Rev. Melissa Myozen Blacker, Rev. Anne Burgdorf, Rev. Timothy Burger, Rabbit Valerie Cohen, Rev. T.J. DeMarco, Rev. Carla Dietz, Rev. Jose Encarnacion, Rev. Nancy Elder-Wilfrid, Rabbi Aviva Fellman, Rev. Patricia Miller Fernandes, Rev. David Gentleman, Rev. Greg Lisby, Rev. Brent Newbury, Rev. Susan Nachtigal, Rev. Mark A. Nilson, Rev. Robert Ochoa, Rev. Aaron Payson, Rev. Nathan Pipho, Dr. Mohammed Ramzan, Rev David Dae An Rynick, Rev. Dr. Gary Shahinian, Rev. Gretchen & David Switzer, Rev. Cylde Talley, Rev. Richard Trainor, Rev. Esau Vance

Congressman James P. McGovern; State Senators Michael Moore and Harriet Chandler; State Reps. Mary Keefe and Dan Donahue

Christian Community Church/Inglesia Christiana de la Comunidad, Concordia Lutheran Church, First Baptist Church, Greendale People’s Church, Lake View Congregational Church, SS Francis & Therese Catholic Worker, United Congregational UCC, Worcester Black Clergy Alliance, Worcester Friends Meeting, Worcester Interfaith, Worcester Islamic Center, Worcester Latino Ministers Alliance, Zion Lutheran Church

The picture above is of Worcester Interfaith Leaders making this statement at a public rally held on November 16, 2016.  Since that event, Worcester community and faith leaders, including myself, have added our names to this statement.  I found it particularly necessary to post on my blog today.