Dispatch from the New Paltz Peace Park

Mom walks across the Peace Park bridge with her red umbrella.

Mom walks across the Peace Park bridge with her red umbrella.

Peace feels so far away. On June 17, a gunman killed nine people in Charleston, SC. I can’t imagine sitting in a place of worship and experiencing that violence from a stranger. I can’t fathom the kind of hatred that leads to sitting among people you don’t know, then ending their lives.  It shows privilege and a blindness that I’m so shocked.

Last Sunday, the community remembered them together.

The sculpture in the New Paltz Peace Park

The sculpture in the New Paltz Peace Park was created by an artist in our sister city in Japan.

I just spent a week in New Paltz, NY, a liberal college town with a Peace Park across from the Village Hall. On one boarder is the street where I parallel parked my mom’s white Honda Civic hatchback to earn my license (on the second try) almost two decades ago. I recognize the new mayor’s smile–his mother taught me calculus. At the culmination of each Memorial Day parade, our marching band stood a few yards from this park. Every year, it seems, at least one of our ranks passed out from the heat under those ridiculous hats that resembled oversized Q Tips.  There, men brandished guns for ceremony.

We have our demons of prejudice and ignorance here. We have our moments and movements of love. Peace lives here, too.

Red and white sign reads: New Paltz Peace Park. Dedicated: April 23, 1994

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog, New York

Comments are closed.