I am currently reading Henri J.M. Nouwen’s Life of the Beloved. As I was delving into the chapter about be blessed, I reflected back on yesterday.
Ten Years Ago Yesterday
One month previous, my father had died. That was tough enough. Then, breaks one of the biggest news stories to come out of Binghamton, New York. It was the first big news story since Dad – a newspaper man of over 40 years – had passed. The story was horrific enough but the fact that he wasn’t there to cover it hit home extra hard for me.
The American Civic Association in Binghamton became the site of what, to date, is the 13th largest mass shooting in the US. It is not a shooting that is talked about frequently. No one is sure why not. Maybe it is because it was mostly immigrants that were killed. Maybe it is because it was an adult immigrant who did the killing. Maybe it is because Binghamton is not a big city. Who knows?
Blessing the Community
What I do know is the city and the Civic Association did not let what could have been a death knell for the entire organization be one. The city took what happened and allowed the officials and the first responders to mourn over a horrendous act. Then, it went on with life. The organization did what it could for the families of those who died, including a beautiful memorial at a busy intersection not far from the American Civic Association, and started giving English lessons again.
Those who were shot had been in an English class that morning. They were bettering themselves so they could better their families. Also killed were the teacher, who was not originally scheduled to be there that day, and the receptionist, who was herself a product of the Civic Association’s benefits.
The American Civic Association in Binghamton is still helping the immigrant and refugee communities of the Southern Tier of NY today. They still hold small festivals that the entire community attends. They still offering blessings and a way to get further in this world to people who see the United States as a second chance.
We should all take the lead of the Civic Association. We should bless each other. We should love, or like if love is just too much, each other. We should help out where needed.
What book have you read that has made you think about world events without being about those events? Do you read regularly?