Our View: It’s time to take a Love Walk
Few people enjoy discussing race.
It’s one of the more uncomfortable topics, beating even politics and religion as taboo subjects at the dinner table.
Here in Nevada County race doesn’t often rear its head. One reason — this county is around 93 percent white, according to http://www.census.gov.
A rural, homogenous community means less friction because of race relations. It also means the community lacks a certain understanding necessary to growth.
It’s similar to travel. Diversity broadens the mind.
Nevada County should revel in the opportunity this Monday’s Love Walk brings. Stemming from a September 2017 incident involving racial epithets, the Love Walk is expected to bring hundreds of people to downtown Grass Valley on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
They won’t be hurling slurs. Instead attendees will educate themselves about other cultures in an effort to stop those slurs from ever again being heard.
The first Love Walk happened after the community learned about what happened to Imani Walker, an African-American youth, as he walked down Mill Street. A car with three people slowly followed him, its occupants throwing racial epithets.
What followed was the first Love Walk — a gathering in support of Imani and a repudiation of racism.
This Monday’s Love Walk will be more. People can watch and listen to short films, music and seminars intended to unify.
They’ll be West African drumming and a Brazilian dance performed. One film will detail what’s called an unlikely friendship between a white doctor and black outdoorsman. A workshop will focus on alternatives to violence.
The Love Walk festival starts at 11 a.m. Monday. People will gather at Mill and Bank streets in Grass Valley. They’ll proceed to the Grass Valley Elks Lodge, 109 S. School St. The workshops and seminars will last until 4 p.m.
It’s a fair question to ask: What’s the result of all this? Won’t racists continue to harbor their beliefs and poison others with their malign views? How does the Love Walk change anything?
It’s true that the people who would benefit most from the Love Walk won’t bother to attend. This event is, in effect, preaching to the choir.
And the choir should make a point of showing up.
Events like the Love Walk provide the foundation upon which we build our community. This walk will bolster the message Martin Luther King Jr. preached, and those who attend will gain strength from it.
The Love Walk shows everyone the content of Nevada County’s character. This is especially important to those who visit our county. It shows them not only what we believe, but that we stand up for those beliefs — that we have the courage of our convictions and will fight for them.
We are marching for something, not against. The Love Walk celebrates our inclusiveness. It teaches us to fight back against racism when we see it, secure in the knowledge that we won’t be the only ones to object.
This event should teach and re-affirm that people who don’t look like us are, in fact, people — not some “other” that deserves scorn and disrespect.
Everyone should be treated as an equal, regardless of race, color, creed or a host of other differences.
That message should be one we hear every day, not just once a year.
Our View is the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.
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