Submitted by Mike Rosenberg and Bedford Embraces Diversity
Bedford Embraces Diversity, nearing its fourth anniversary, has organized the second annual breakfast in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Board members are excited about the event, which manifests the group’s mission of “increasing awareness and understanding of community diversity.”
The public event will be held on Monday, January 15, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the First Church of Christ, Congregational. The program features testimony from Bedford High School METCO alumni and songs by one of the region’s premier Gospel soloists. Last year’s breakfast sold out, so reservations are required, by writing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 781-983-1763.
Bedford Embraces Diversity, the breakfast and program, and the fellowship they represent, are components of our town’s contributions to the grand vision that Dr. King called “The Beloved Community.”
According to the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, “For Dr. King, ‘The Beloved Community’ was a realistic, achievable goal that could be attained by a critical mass of people committed to and trained in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence.”
We are grateful that our region does not face the brutal and hateful violence that Dr. King and thousands of other Americans battled throughout his career. But there is a subtler form of violence that sadly is still prominent in American society, a half-century after the assassination of Dr. King.
That is what one source defines as “structural violence, encapsulating many different forms of various social and institutional failings that have real, if not always immediately appreciable consequences in peoples’ lives.” That’s quite a range – from equal opportunities in housing, employment and healthcare to social, political and spiritual prejudice.
Bedford Embraces Diversity was formed in 2014 in response to incidents of anti-Semitism. Our belief is that inclusion and acceptance should be extended to all residents, regardless of race, religion, disability, lifestyle, gender orientation, military, or cultural status. We denounce all acts of bullying, hate, and violence towards any individual or group because of visible or invisible differences.
And that is part of the offensive against structural violence. So are efforts by the town to expand housing opportunities for all, to provide sanctuary to the desperate, to feed the hungry, to safeguard our METCO participation, and to celebrate with and educate each other on the on the dignity of differences — visible and invisible.
According to the King Center, “reconciliation” is one of Dr. King’s six steps for social and interpersonal change. “Nonviolence is directed against evil systems, forces, oppressive policies, unjust acts, but not against persons. Through reasoned compromise, both sides resolve the injustice with a plan of action. Each act of reconciliation is one step closer to the ‘Beloved Community.’ ”
That is the spirit that guides Bedford Embrace Diversity. We hope you will join us.
Keeping the Peace is sponsored by the Violence Prevention Coalition of Bedford, a representative group of citizens interested in ending violence in families, communities, and beyond. Mike Rosenberg is Selectmen liaison to the board of Bedford Embraces Diversity, a constituent member of VPC. The VPC meets the first Tuesday of every other month at 8:00 a.m. at First Church of Christ Congregational, 25 the Great Road, Bedford. For more information call 781/275-7951.