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Following Boston Tragedy, Calls to Unite, Calls for Peace

"Together, we can look violence in the eye, and we can respond with peace."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

In contrast to many rushed judgments and exploitation of fear following the explosions and resulting casualties at Monday's Boston Marathon, many people are responding to the act of violence with calls to unite in peace and community.

Yes, there is the exhaustion that comes from "the cycle of sorrow, panic, defense and more sorrow that every incident of mass violence evokes in our national consciousness," but  Colorlines' Rinku Sen writes that it is in recognizing this pattern that we can hope to unite in community.  She writes:

The likelihood of some good emerging is strongest if we allow ourselves to live in this moment for all that it offers. The likelihood of not taking a wrong collective turn is strongest if we live with the grief long enough, deeply enough, to really feel it. The likelihood of uniting ourselves as members of the same community is strongest if we let that compassion extend to all those who will feel the ripple effects of this attack for long months and years, if we hold in our hearts both the victims and those who will be accused of causing their pain. Our only hope for pulling ourselves back together is to name the cycle and change its pattern.

One Facebook-organized event, Peace Here and Everywhere - Boston Vigil on the Common, aims to unite people a day after the Boston tragedy.  Supporters will gather from 6 - 8 PM Tuesday evening to call for violence to be met with peace, love and community.  The event page reads:

The pain we feel for those impacted by yesterday's tragedy is matched only by the love we feel for our city and for humankind.

Let's come together tonight to send a message:

Peace, Here and Everywhere.

Parkman Bandstand
Boston Common

Bring candles, flowers, banners, song lyrics -- whatever feels right for you. There will be no agenda, no speakers, and no nonsense.

Let's make space to grieve and to reject violence in all its forms. Together, we can look violence in the eye, and we can respond with peace. We can respond with love. We can respond with community.

Boston, we love you. We thought you should know.

These moments of coming together collectively should be treasured, said Dave Zirin, sports columnist for The Nation, speaking on Democracy Now! Tuesday:

I just feel so strongly that this is one of those moments where we need to come together in true empathy, look at Boston, look at Baghdad, look at Mogadishu, look at Yemen, and ask ourselves the question: Is this the kind of world we really want to live in? When we’re together in collective space, we should feel empowered, not frightened. And I hope we take forward the idea of enforcing the idea that coming together collectively is a beautiful thing and one we should treasure.

"We have the capacity for unspeakable violence, yes, but we also have a profound capacity for love," writes journalist and social justice advocate Erin Niemela today.  It is in recognizing this, and working towards it in community, that we can hope to end violence.  She appeals to us to

Go outside today and recognize the true nature of humanity. Recognize that together we have the capacity for unspeakable love. Recognize that our brains evolved to function in community not to tear communities apart. Recognize that there is no moral righteousness in violence so long as the very core of humanity is peaceful, and it undoubtedly is. I believe we can eradicate the horrific violence seen Monday in Boston, Iraq and Afghanistan, but to do so we must predominantly believe it is possible. We must believe in and bear witness to our human capacity for peace.

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