A group of residents has announced a vigil Thursday on Bedford Common to observe the one-year anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol. The public is invited to the candlelight event, scheduled for 5-6 p.m.
Mark Bailey, who was also one of the organizers behind last summer’s series of Stand Up for Black Lives demonstrations, explained that the reason for Thursday’s event is to send a message to the town that “things are not okay.”
“It’s so easy to just go back to complacency and ignore the things that were wrong – we all do this,” Bailey said. “An overriding theme of all the work our group has been doing is not allowing that complacency – simply standing up to say, ‘Something is still wrong.’”
“This is a vigil, not a demonstration,” he emphasized. “While standing at The Great Road, we will not be holding signs, waving, or encouraging passing motorists to honk. Participants will be outdoors, masked, and distanced.”
The Rev. Annie Gonzalez, Minister of Faith Development at First Parish Church on the Common, said that this is “a time when we can use a little more connection and create a sense of hope and commitment together.”
The program will begin in the area near the front of the church, where Gonzalez will facilitate sharing of reflections among participants. They will also hear reading of poetry written by Amanda Gorman, the recent Harvard graduate who was the 2021presidental inaugural poet.
Around 5:30, participants plan to light candles and proceed to the edge of The Great Road, where they will stand silently until the church bell peals at 6.
Bailey recalled that he was among a small group assembled on the Common on Jan. 6, 2020, as the insurrection was unfolding in Washington, DC. “That’s what felt right – for myself and for others in the group,” he recalled.
“For me personally, what’s really striking is we are literally seeing Jan. 6 on the news every day, and much like 9-11 it has taken on heightened notoriety, he observed. Bailey added that residents should remember that a replica of the Bedford Flag was carried by rioters into the Capitol, “flying high and photographed over that chaos.”
There is a “historical context” to current events, he reflected, and “it is heartening to recognize that you are part of a struggle that transcends your own lifetime.”
Bailey said there will be candles and extra masks for attendees, and he encouraged any resident who won’t be there to light a candle and display it in a window at home.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at email@example.com, or 781-983-1763