Unity Walk was a sign of hope…

Published 8:27 pm Wednesday, August 3, 2016

To the editor:

I walked in the Unity Walk Tuesday evening. I want to express appreciation to Bob Stephens and his group for planning and conducting the event.

Suffolk covers a large geographic area and includes people from different backgrounds. Events that bring us together and provide social interaction are helpful in forming a sense of community.

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Six years ago this month, there was a community meeting in a church in the East Washington area. There were meaningful discussions about important challenges in the city. A number of those attending indicated interest in additional social interaction and continued participation in the effort.

But there was only one additional meeting of the group. I thought this represented a missed opportunity to further develop what Bob Stephens and his group have hopefully initiated.

I am particularly impressed by the Unity Pledge taken by parade participants. It indicated a willingness to be open to differing points of view.

Like any urban city, Suffolk has a variety of challenges that need to be publicly discussed. For such discussions to be fruitful, people have to be open-minded and willing to consider the views of others.

I have hopes this new community-based effort will result in public dialogues involving people expressing different points of view and that participants will keep in mind the unity walk pledge.

Since the early 1970s, I have participated in too many “social action” efforts that involved people expressing the same points of view. In some of these events, participants expressed resentment, sometimes even hostility, when anyone brought up new ideas and proposals to address long-standing social challenges.

I have great hopes that this new social action effort can be conducted in ways that will result in new approaches to the many challenges that have plagued Suffolk and the rest of America for too many years.

Joseph L. Bass