In the People's Interest

White community of faith must show up, speak out and We have responsibility to wear mask, protect others


White community of faith must show up, speak out
My fellow white community of faith, now is the time for you to show up on behalf of the marginalized people in our community. Our black, indigenous, and community of color is exhausted. Our absence seemed notable at Sunday’s protest in Bozeman put together by the Montana Racial Equity Project and the MSU Black Student Union. Our inaction is louder than any thoughts and prayers we give. We must show up. If not now, then when?
This current moment, incited by the exposure of extreme cruelty, is bigger than any particular incident. For centuries, white people have used power and privilege to control marginalized people and claim resources, justifying this with theology. As just one example, manifest destiny drove indigenous tribes off of Montana land so that, years later, our homes could be built in tidy little subdivisions. This heartbreaking history means that real people experienced real harm by others who acted in the name of God. We must address this white supremacy in our community and in our theology.
Now is the time to show up. As followers of Jesus, let’s commit to living subversive lives and actively loving our community. We cannot leave our neighbors that we love without support. We need to listen, learn our heartbreaking history, lament, and allow ourselves to be impacted by what we hear.
So friends, my fellow white community of faith, as one who is in this beautiful community with you, I invite you to bring the very best of yourselves to this moment, to be people of healing and comfort, and to do the work that is set before you to affect the systemic change we need. I believe there is an abundant community just around the bend. For justice and for peace.
Jana Peterson

We have responsibility to wear mask, protect others
I was very disappointed to read the comments of some of the “protesters” or folks offering public comment at the health department meeting on May 28, regarding the wearing of face masks in
public places, including local businesses. Some of these folks contended that requiring wearing face masks infringes on their “right” to choose whether to wear or not. While their point about
personal freedoms is a valid point, they miss the main point: We are in the midst of a public health crisis which has killed over 100,000 U.S. residents, and it is spread primarily through
“droplets,” which come out of an infected person’s mouth every time that person coughs, speaks, or breathes.
And each of us may be infected, but not know it, because the symptoms often appear many days after we are infected.
So, my point is that we should each wear masks in public for the safety of others — not for our own personal safety. While we have the personal right not to wear a mask, we have the moral responsibility to wear a mask to protect others, even if we feel perfectly safe ourselves. Life is precious, and no one has the moral “right” to threaten the life or safety of others. We have the
moral responsibility to protect the life and safety of all those around us, even total strangers. My prayer is that some of the protesters will think about this, and feel the same way in their hearts.
Mickey Smotherman

Bozeman Daily Chronicle Letters to the Editor, June 5, 2020

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