OP-ED: ‘I Am Speaking Out For Our Children, Our Future, and Our Framingham’

FRAMINGHAM – This is Not Framingham! If it is then we are long past the time as a community to stand up to racism, sexism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism in our community.

These most recent incidents at Framingham State University, Framingham High School, The Christa McAuliffe Charter School and now the Framingham Youth Football & Cheer Leading Program speak to an alarming trend of unacceptable behavior and thinking. In this most recent incident the most vulnerable members of our community, our children, have been failed by leadership that is in place to protect them.

The recent string of accusations speaks to a community in crisis that cannot be left unaddressed. We can have no healing or restoration without first calling out what is hatred and evil.

We must name it to eradicate it. We can’t even talk about diversity or being a diverse community when the least among us can’t feel safe.

Our 6th graders on the field don’t have a voice, so adults must speak for them. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said it best “For evil to succeed, all it needs is for good men (women) to do nothing”. 

We are failing our children and failing our community and responsible leadership must step up.

As an African American in this community, when hatred comes after our children, then you come after all of us! If my children can entertain you on the field under “the Friday Night lights of American sports” and then you talk about shooting us during the day, then this is nothing less than Modern Day KKK behavior, no longer hiding under white sheets but now in chat rooms and blogs.

I call for an open, independent and transparent investigation of these latest accusations and that the community is provided with answers, and in a timely manner. What has been alleged to have been going on has been going on too long already.

To have three board members\ coaches fired and now ask us as a community to accept that this same board can police themselves is unacceptable and adds insult to integrity.  This is too much-failed leadership on top of failed leadership. It is in moments like this that the test of leadership and the character of leadership are demonstrated. The community has been failed and our children have been failed, don’t do it
again!

To those who are elected to lead us as a community and say nothing, shame on you! Your silence condones what is happening in our community, and your silence gives assent to this cancer that is in our community. Silence is never golden, it is corrupt and feeds into a perception that we go along to play along.

One of the most sacred of relationships in community (coach\
player) has been broken by the failure of people in leadership to do their job. We may be winning on the field of play, but on the field of life where character is molded and taught, we have failed our children and failed our community. Keep our Children safe!

We must all re engage, or for others to engage for the first time, and say I (make it personal, for it is personal) will take ownership for not just my family, but my neighbors, and  my community.

If we don’t, then we fool ourselves for we don’t have community. When we fail to hear the cries of our children, be they in our schools, on the playing fields our in communities then we as a community have lost our way, and possibly our souls.  This is a moral turning point; ALL of us must not only talk the talk, but walk the walk and speak with one voice as loud as we can.

Now is the time to courageously engage in conversation, education, and pursuit of ideals of justice, equality, and power. To those who are still blind and say we have no problem, I will not sit back and watch “Rome” burn. Neither will I become the “blind leading the blind”.

Systematic hatred and racism is institutionalized in our society, and victims of this oppression cannot do it alone. It means all of us must do our part, in our own corner of Framingham, and must come together as one to engage these battles.

In moments like this I am reminded of the German Lutheran pastor, Martin Niemoller when facing Hitler he said:” First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionist, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

I am speaking out for our children, our future and the Framingham I believe we can become!

Rev. Dr. J. Anthony Lloyd

 Pastor, Greater Framingham Community Church

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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