Oak Bluffs: Calls for a solution

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This past week has brought much sadness and soul-searching to many families throughout the Island. The death of a young man who lost his struggle against drug addiction, and the arrest of a suspected drug dealer, have brought forth a flood of anger, love, and pleas to do something to stop this epidemic. Perhaps this is the first step toward healing, as people have flooded social media with stories of family members they have lost to addiction and the effect on families and friends. Joe’s family has responded with grace, understanding, and love to all who were involved, including Sean, who is the accused.

Can we all at least try to bring out to the light our experiences with addiction, in the hopes of helping others cursed with this disease? I am the grandmother of an addict in recovery whom I dearly love and admire for her courage, and the great-grandmother of Sean’s son, whom I also love. I am hurting for both sides: the victim and the accused. I did not know John, but wish that I had. I know Sean as a loving father when he is sober and a father who is loved by his son and myself. I also am familiar with the punch-in-the-stomach feeling when the realization finally hits you that your loved one is an addict. I cannot imagine the feeling of living with the loss of your child. The NA community has been sending endless love and help to all involved, and I cannot say enough about these wonderful people who fight this addiction their entire lives, but still reach out to help those that they can, survive this disease. You are my heroes. So tell your stories to bring experience, strength, and hope to all those who need it, and as difficult as it is, please remember this is a progressive disease that will lead to death if untreated, and that we need to treat it as a disease, not a sin.

First day of school this year falls early, on Tuesday, Sept. 4, this year, but Oak Bluffs students are preparing for their fundraiser that happens the night of the fabulous Oak Bluffs Fireworks on Friday, August 17. Students will be offering water, popcorn, candy, and sometimes baked goods for sale throughout Ocean Park to help finance their eighth grade spring trip to Philadelphia.

The annual Fashion, Art and Collectibles weekend sale at Martha’s Vineyard Community Services Chicken Alley Thrift Shop will take place Friday, August 10, and Sunday, August 12, from 5 to 8 pm, at the Vineyard Haven location on 38 Lagoon Pond Rd. Chicken Alley will be transformed into a trendy boutique for the sixth annual fashion sale on Friday night, where a collection of clothing, shoes, and accessories saved all year, including vintage, designer and one-of-a-kind pieces, will be available for purchase. Then on Sunday, August 12, the 18th annual Chicken Alley Art and Collectibles sale will be held from 1 to 5 pm. The sale will include fine art, new and old: highly collectible objects d’art and many other unique items. The thrift shop helps provide Island-wide support services for residents in need throughout the year. So here is your chance to support this valuable agency, and perhaps purchase something really special to you.

The Martha’s Vineyard Author Series brings us author Tayari Jones on August 16. Ms Jones will discuss her best-selling novel, “An American Marriage,” on August 16 at the Chilmark Community Center at 7 pm. A 2018 Oprah Book Club selection, this book is an examination of how the country’s justice system tears apart African-American lives. For more details, log on to mvbookfestival.com.

Can you spare a bit of time to perhaps save someone’s life? The American Red Cross is holding a Community Blood Drive on Friday, August 31, at Alex’s Place at the YMCA in Oak Bluffs. The drive runs from 1 to 6 pm, and as there is a shortage of blood at this time, here is your opportunity to assists this organization in their life-saving work.

Acclaimed writer and performer Lee Wolf, and her partner and author Jordan Cohen, M.D., will take the stage to recite letters created by famous and infamous characters. This event will take place at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center in Vineyard Haven on Thursday, August 16, at 7:30 pm. All proceeds from this event will benefit Martha’s Vineyard Community Services and the Hebrew Center

The Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga.,will be preaching at the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury at the 10 am service on Sunday, August 12. As pastor of the spiritual home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Pastor Warnock’s ministry is both prophetic and pastoral, and rooted in the church’s legacy of social activism and spiritual growth. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the church office at 508-693-2842.

We send birthday smiles to Danielle Sedlier and Sarah Trudel on August 10, Debra Hammett and my favorite youngest daughter Kati Alley on the 11th, Terry McCarthy and Richard Mello III on the 12th, and Nelson Oliver and Shaun DePriest on the 13th.

Enjoy your week. Peace.