Statement Regarding the Murder of George Floyd

Statement from your Town Moderator

As your Town Moderator I am issuing this statement regarding the events of May 30th, 2020 and those that have occurred for far too many years! I have been elected by you to lead in difficult times. Your faith and trust in me requires me to say I categorically reject all forms of bigotry, and I always will.

A few weeks ago when this issue made headlines, someone in town asked me: “How many black friends do you have?” I paused for a moment, and then said; "I don’t count my friends by color code I add friends because once you learn to add, there is no need to divide!”

Each one of us, as leaders, has an obligation to the entire constituent body of this Town to address this painful subject. I have thought long and hard about what my words would convey, perhaps too long. It is time we all wake up to every social injustice, every act of hate and certainly every act of insensitivity. We are all part of insidious bigotry; you can’t see it, you can’t touch it, but trust me it is there. I promise you, if I see it or I hear I will address it. I will no longer sit in silence.

I watched, in horror, the death of a man. I saw a video of a black jogger being gunned down and I saw blatant disrespect to police at the hands of vandals and rioters. The destruction of property - that was wrong. These were not the peaceful protestors, they are the acts of felons and cowards who, in the dark of night, destroy the ideals of peaceful protest. I saw in our own town the defacing of a beautiful mural. I have seen hate spewed between neighbors ... it has to Stop. It is time to act!

I have far too long watched from the sidelines, my voice silenced but my mind racing to grasp on to a solution. Each of us must join the conversation to find common ground to stop what is happening to our brothers & sisters of color. I am not black, I have never lived in fear, I have never been rejected from clubs, I have never had to ask permission to use a bathroom! Messages are often hidden in pictures, especially when only a few are conscious of them. Seeing through your lens can often be narrow and shallow!

Our collective decisions always affect someone else We need to be mindful of not the what, but the how. As your Town Moderator, I have and will always support one voice, one vote and every vote will counted, whether you are white, black, brown, or yellow! We all do not have to be friends, but we should all understand there will never be justice for all, if we cannot be just! In every profession or human, there are flaws, there are wrongs. It is ok not to like the act, but the time is now to correct the why!

“The color of your skin matters not to me," as Martin Luther King said; "it is the content of your character that mattters!” I stand with Stoneham, I stand with pride, justice and most of all hope, that here in our small microcosm of the greater world, we can create a more perfect union! No one should ever be left out, our doors are open to all when our minds are also! Tomorrow will mark the first peaceful protest in Stoneham on the Common. Will you stand with us supporting the message against hate and injustice? Or will you remain silenced by your own fears?

There is no justice in silence but there is always hope! We have much to do in all areas of Human Rights … right now, we need to show that Black Lives Matter!

Jeanne E. Craigie

Moderator Town of Stoneham