To the Editor:
The Martha’s Vineyard Black Lives Matter (MVBLM) sign that is posted on private property and serves to invite the community to join us every Sunday for our kneeling vigil was defaced yesterday with disrespectful political rhetoric. Sadly, it is not the first time. It’s just the first time this season.
MVBLM began in the spring of 2020, when Dana Nunes decided to stand on Beetlebung Corner in Chilmark for a week, in honor of the Black lives lost to racial-based violence. Her courageous individual protest and act of defiance caught the attention of fellow Islanders, who began joining her on the grassy corner. Soon, an average of 45 to 55 people showed up every day. A week turned into 25 weeks, and has evolved to continue to this day. As a group, we share the stories and honor the memories of beloved Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters who have been killed as a result of police violence, systemic racism, and unjust oppression. We now kneel every Sunday for 9 minutes and 29 seconds to always remember George Floyd and others, and to feel a fraction of the pain, grief, and suffering this violence inflicts on our fellow citizens.
This country, and sadly, the citizens on our Island, have a long way to go to reconcile the hatred, anger, and divisiveness that exists between us. How ironic that the defacing happened during the week we honor the independence of our nation with the hope sung in “America the Beautiful” — “And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea!”
We invite everyone to join us, to listen and to learn how we can all be better allies in creating a more just, equitable, and safe world for everyone to live in.
On behalf of Martha’s Vineyard Black Lives Matter