There is a sickness running rampant through the country. The sickness is viral, but it is not COVID. It is contagious, but it is not spread by coughing or sneezing, and certainly not kissing. The sickness is hate. And it is spread by fear – fear of The Other. And who is The Other? It is anyone who is not like me, or like my family, my crowd, my kind. This sickness is violent and destroys the respect for life and so this sickness kills. It kills without regard, only seeking to eliminate that Other who is a threat by virtue of his or her difference. It may be Asian women who work in a spa, or gays in a nightclub, or Blacks in a Church, Jews in a synagogue. This sickness destroys all reason as well as respect, it creates feelings of oppression and anger; and so it kills children and young people in schools, people in grocery stores, in restaurants, or enjoying an outdoor concert. They came for the Blacks and the Browns and I did not speak out because I was not Black or Brown; They came for the Asians and Hispanics and I did not speak out because I was not Asian or Hispanic; They came for the gays and the lesbians and the trans and I did not speak out because I was not gay or lesbian or trans; They came for the children and I did not speak out because I was not a child; Then they came for me . . . And there was no one left to speak out for me. 1

1.Adapted from post-World War II confessional prose by the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller (1892 – 1984). Many variations and adaptations in the spirit of the original have been published.


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