I have walked my local ward with petitions and each time have been surprised how many black persons live nearby. One always spoke with me through a crack in the door, her face not showing. To all of them I said that I was delighted to have them as neighbors and wished I saw them more frequently on our streets and downtown.
Then I remembered: Regardless of all that we think has changed, racism hasn’t gotten up on little hind legs and walked away. We need to assure our African American neighbors that they are at home in our town.
If they don’t feel that way, whose fault is that? After all, it’s easy for us to forget, but not for them.
John Burciaga of Newburyport had companion careers as clergyman and journalist. His blog, “Ichabod’s Kin,” is at: www.ichabodskin.wordpress.com.