Greenfield Recorder, May 20, 2022


There is much to remember and say on the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, this May 25th. More every day, and painful.

As we write, residents of Buffalo mourn victims of mass murder fueled by racial hatred, with a legal assault rifle in hand. Each person killed in this targeted Black community left a hole in the world.

Closer to home, our county seat’s police force is found guilty of racial discrimination against the only Black member of its department.

History counts. In Montgomery, Alabama, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice is “dedicated to the legacy of enslaved Black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence.”

For more on the Memorial and nearby Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, visit the founding Equal Justice Initiative’s website

Its Director Bryan Stevenson says: “Our nation’s history of racial injustice casts a shadow across the American landscape. This shadow cannot be lifted until we shine the light of truth on the destructive violence that shaped our nation, traumatized people of color, and compromised our commitment to the rule of law and to equal justice.”

Youth cares. Since 2000, the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice and the Interfaith Council of Franklin County honor area students recognized as Peacemakers in their schools and communities. Racism and exclusion have concerned many of them. One popular program has been participation in Training Active Bystanders to recognize and confront discrimination.

Recently, 18-year-old Maddie Raymond wrote in her April column in the Recorder: “Like so many others, COVID awakened me to the realities of our world under racial capitalism. With George Floyd’s murder and the protests that followed, I committed myself to learning about the systems that operate in our society and how they’re functionally stacked against people who are BIPOC, poor, disabled, LGBTQIA+; anything that is sideways of the status quo.” There were police murders of Black men and women before Derek Chauvin’s knee halted breath and life on a Minneapolis street corner. But the reality of watching the excruciating, yet casual, murder replayed on video proved a watershed in the streets, the media and public consciousness.

Analysis of racism, its roots and abuses became urgent. And the backlash came quickly: peaceful demonstrators were attacked while right-wing violence was condoned. Police killings and racist attacks by young white males continued. Meanwhile some states and politicians would rather not know or tell the truth about the American reality of racist violence, past and present.

Emily Greene, of Racial Justice Rising and Traprock, wrote in a message about Buffalo: “What is wrong with people, especially males who are the majority of this mass shooting spree we see happening? Better yet what is wrong with the military mentality that thinks it’s OK to fight wars, kill people and destroy the earth?”

In late March a quarterly meeting of local activists involved in anti-racism work supported a county-wide standout action to mark the second anniversary of Floyd’s murder. The four of us offered to work on this event, and the organizations we are part of (mentioned below for identification) are among the co-sponsors.

Thus on Wednesday, May 25, we invite, offer – and urge – residents of Franklin County to join us in taking a public stand against racial violence, gun violence and the “military mentality” so affecting all people, life and planet.

From 4:30 to 5:30 pm we will stand along Rt. 2 and Rt. 116, with many heading to the Sunderland bridge as last year.

Choose a location near your town or join one others have chosen. Let us know where you want to stand with an email to one of us (addresses below), as we map turnout for this historic and timely event: Kim along Rt. 116, Kate along Rt. 2 from Greenfield west, and Anna, Rt. 2 from Montague to Orange.

Plan to come out, rain or shine, and tell your friends, family, and the news media of your choice why. The opposite of a holiday, it’s a day unlike others and deserving of our attention and outrage — and maybe hope for change.

Kim Audette, Sunderland Human Rights Taskforce (audette7@comcast. net), Anna Gyorgy, Traprock Center for Peace and Justice (, Kate Stevens, Interfaith Council of Franklin Council (, and Allen Davis, Racial Justice Rising.

Analysis of racism, its roots and abuses became urgent. And the backlash came quickly: peaceful demonstrators were attacked while right-wing violence was condoned. Police killings and racist attacks by young white males continued