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Thursday, February 20, 2020

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‘Hate does not have a home in Sullivan County'

Vigil and rally against hate draws political and faith leaders

Jan 20, 2020

By Patricio Robayo - staff writer

On the steps of the Lawrence H. Cooke Sullivan County Courthouse in Monticello, folks gathered to speak out against hate during a vigil held on Sunday.
MONTICELLO — On a bitterly cold Sunday afternoon, a small band of folks braved the temperatures to stand in front of the Lawrence H. Cooke Courthouse in Monticello to voice their stance against hate.
Banded together by the Sullivan County Human Rights Commission and Sullivan Allies Leading Together (SALT), the event brought together speakers from different faith-based clergy.
County Human Rights Commissioner and Imam Sam Encarnacion, Sr. started out the vigil by signing a song from the Beatles, “Yellow Submarine.” Soon those who gathered huddled together and joined in.

“We come from different places, different cultures, different upbringings, but we live together in the same ocean of life,” said Encarnacion.
The vigil and rally were held the day before the nation commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sullivan County Human Rights Commission Chairman Marty Colavito said they are gathering in the spirit of Dr. King.
“We stand here, side by side with differences galore, but saying to each other and saying to everyone that hate does not have a home here in Sullivan County,” said Colavito.
The vigil will now travel to other towns like Fallsburg and Liberty shortly, according to Colavito.
Rabbi Simcha said, “Anti-semitic crimes are on the rise, and we need to face it and fix it. That is why all of us need to be here today, standing up against anti-semitism.”
Reverend Diana Southwick Scheide, Vicar of St. John's Episcopal Church in Monticello, said, “We are called to love each other, to respect the dignity of every one of us no matter what we have been through. Love is the only way.”
Myoho Soshin Brenda Miller said one day she was asked what the essence of Buddhism is, and she said, “Inside of all of ourselves, we have the capacity to free ourselves. We are not separate, and we are all in the Yellow Submarine. If I love me, I love you. Love your neighbor as yourself and love your enemies.”
In like manner, Rabbi Lawrence Zierler said, “We are here today because we are builders. We are determined actually to lay down the foundation in our community first. Sullivan County can send a message, that despite all of our problems and challenges, we are committed to being able to spread that infectious virus of love.”
Those gathered ended the vigil with singing, “We shall overcome” as they led a procession down the steps of the courthouse, holding up flashlights and mobile phones to light the way as they made their way onto the snow-covered streets of Broadway.
Colavito added, “I encourage everyone to find someone you have a difference with and shake that person's hand and remind that person how much they mean to you and us.”

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