What we believe

3

To the Editor:

Last week, The MV Times posted a story about Rockland Trust and an apparent complaint about a Black Lives Matter sign in which our business, Rosewater Market, was mentioned — along with a photo of various posters in our front windows. Naturally, the post had lots of comments. 

So we wanted to be crystal clear about what we believe and why. 

We believe BLACK LIVES MATTER. We believe this because, well … black lives do, in fact, matter. Period. And we believe this is important to state directly, because for 400 years our country has built and maintained institutions which either by design or default are undeniably racist. From the abomination that was human slavery, to the the codified racism of the Jim Crow era, to the terrorist violence of mass lynchings, or the present-day injustice of mass incarceration — there is no denying the racism that shadows black America. Today, nearly every institution in American life — from education to healthcare to banking to law enforcement to news coverage to casting a vote — presents a headwind that our fellow black citizens must overcome just to be treated in a fair and equal manner. 

The poet Sharon Olds once wrote, “Don’t speak to me about politics. I’ve got eyes, man.” We couldn’t agree more. This isn’t an issue of politics, or simply of the past. This is entirely about what type of people and country we want to be NOW; and what example we will set for our children and our grandchildren in our lifetimes. 

When we opened Rosewater five years ago this month, our goal was to create a year-round community space in the heart of Edgartown that provided good food, a thoughtful and welcoming environment, and that celebrated kindness. In fact, as some of our regular customers know, the Rosewater name was inspired by the fictional lead character Eliot Rosewater, from Kurt Vonnegut’s classic “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater” who chose to forgo his family fortune in favor of spreading kindness in his small hometown. At one point Eliot is asked to “baptize” the newly born twins of Mary Moody, a town outcast. His small speech to them is our inspiration: “Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’” 

That’s what we believe too. God damn it, you’ve got to be kind. 

Julia Tarka, Christopher Celeste
Rosewater Market & Takeaway, Rosewater Wine & Spirits, Rosebud Kids