Response to MAPS sign vandalism | Letter

I am moved by all the effort and support that our community and region have shown in response to the current atmosphere that has given license to acts of hate. While our solidarity will not undo the harm, especially emotional harm that devalues identity, breaks trust, and hinders hope, we can all walk with our neighbors in a real and spiritual sense of love and compassion.

Our sisters and brothers at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS) have been harmed. The sign was, and is, a symbol of their place among us. May it be restored a thousand times over as we renew our call to be our best selves, remembering that almost all of us at some point in our ancestral tree has stood in their footsteps. Even now, we can imagine what kind of hospitality we would hope for as newcomers to a strange new world.

I hope that the vandal is identified and held responsible for his act(s) of hate. And wouldn’t it be a gift to us all if part of that responsibility included restoration, not only in repair of the physical damage to the sign, but also mending the emotional damage to his (and our) neighbors. The good people of the MAPS community could discern what reparation would entail. An opportunity might exist for a relationship to be shifted from a stance of fear and hate, to one of understanding. And don’t we all need more of that.

In these times when the old ways have failed, we need to risk trying something new. Finding a third way, a way of love that builds and restores, is worth every effort.

Blessings for peace,

Rev. Dr. Marian E. Stewart

Northlake Unitarian Universalist Church

Kirkland

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