Getting to know you
As director of the Hate Crimes Response Project of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine, I was very pleased to see the article in the BDN on Monday, April 29, about members of the mosque in Orono feeling safe here in Maine, even in the wake of some anti-Muslim feelings following the Boston Marathon bombing.
This speaks very well for our Maine community, as does the fact that the speakers from the mosque are in such high demand by religious and civic groups. It is absolutely necessary that we all get to know each other before problems arise. It is so much more difficult to hate when those from another background have names and faces.
We at the Hate Crimes Response Project would like nothing better than to have no hate crimes to respond to, and this article gives us hope for just that.
Rabbi Hillel Katzir
Share the road
In recognition of the month of May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, I’d like to encourage Bangor-area motorists and motorcyclists alike to commit to “sharing the road” during the month, and all year long, in a collective effort to reduce motorcycle deaths and injuries across our state.
Safety is a mutual responsibility for motorists and motorcyclists alike. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are about 30 times more likely to die in a crash than passenger vehicle occupants.
Drivers should always be on the lookout for motorcyclists. Drivers must be aware that a motorcycle, as one of the smallest of vehicles on the road, can be hiding in a vehicle’s blind spots. Always check blind spots, use mirrors and signal before changing lanes or making turns.
Motorcyclists have responsibilities, too. Riders should obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed. Like their motorist counterparts, motorcyclists should never ride while impaired or distracted.
Motorists and motorcyclists have a common responsibility to share the road together in a safe, courteous and conscientious manner. Drivers need to be on the lookout for motorcyclists at all times, signal all lane changes or turns and constantly be checking mirrors and blind spots before proceeding. Drivers must be fully focused and alert to the road and in control of their vehicles at all times.
Together, motorists and motorcyclists can work to keep each other and our roads safe for everyone, not only in May, but all year long.
Difference is good
Public tragedy continues to separate human reactions. If our prior beliefs were shaped by hatred and ignorance, meaning, inexperience with different realities, we react out of fear, suspicion and anger. However if our prior beliefs are shaped by tolerance, forgiveness and acceptance, we respond with love, self-sacrifice and service.
But similar to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the horror at the Boston Marathon was met by the best and the finest in humanity. Courage and bravery won the day against so much pain.
Faith experiences challenge the improper behaviors of humanity against the higher rituals and practices of discipline. Faith deepens the well from which compassion, community and connection are drawn.
It cannot be a mere coincidence that the horror on Patriots Day is followed the next week by Earth Day. Faith lifts our view from the temporary to the eternal, from the divisive philosophy of violence, to the unifying standard of peace.
The public tragedy in Boston was witnessed by the world. The overwhelming response of the public servants, such as police, first responders, fire personnel, military and, yes, especially the runners, demonstrated that together people are not immobilized by fear but by concern for hurting humanity.
Perhaps not everyone would claim a faith response or belief practice in their history, but their actions were louder than their words. A community mobilized with compassion for those injured with who they felt connected and changed the claim of terrorism into a testimony for peace and love.
Chaplain James Weathersby
Real answers, now
I don’t want to hear any more whining coming out of Augusta. No more finger pointing. No more name calling. No more clown noses.
I don’t want to hear anything but answers to the problems we have in the state of Maine. If people don’t have anything constructive to say, don’t say anything.
Get with it, or get voted out. Real Mainers want real answers.