mail

Re: Dismayed to see the Rainbow Flag 

To the Editor:

As a gay couple fairly new to Carlisle, we have been incredibly happy with the welcome we’ve received from all of our neighbors and everyone we’ve met here. While exploring the area, looking for our new home, we noticed the rainbow flag displayed at various locations around town, which signaled to us that Carlisle is a welcoming and inclusive community. Other positive indicators of Carlisle’s openness helped seal the deal, and our experiences since moving here 18 months ago have confirmed that we made the right decision to put down roots in this community. Nevertheless, we were quite dismayed at last week’s letter to the Mosquito that disparaged the rainbow flag and attempted to perpetuate ignorant and hostile views toward LGBTQ individuals and families. While we recognize that the writer’s perspective isn’t representative of the greater community, it does concern us that LGBTQ youth, who struggle daily with their own self- and social-acceptance, and who suffer much higher incidences of suicide and self-harm than their heterosexual peers, could be negatively impacted by the hateful rhetoric exhibited in Sally Naumann’s letter. We applaud the Mosquito’s commitment to representing a range of viewpoints in the letters it publishes, although we would hope that a line would be drawn at printing the hate-speech and destructive, homophobic views represented in that letter.

Rick Oches & Francis Tacardon

Rockland Road

“A low blow”

To the Editor:

I’m writing in response to last week’s letter from Sally Naumann. I looked at the CDC website as the writer suggests, and when I searched “homosexuality” the first thing I saw was the danger to gays of stigma and discrimination. “HIV/AIDS” turned up prevention protocols. I never found information on “how devastating homosexual behavior actually is” (the writer’s words). The claim that churches “promote such behavior” is a low blow, as well as patently untrue—our own church, The First Religious Society in Carlisle, sponsors a comprehensive sex-ed program that includes clear guidelines for disease prevention, as well as an overarching theme of respect and love. FRS became a Welcoming Congregation more than a decade ago, after an intense educational campaign combatting just the kind of disinformation about gays the author espouses, including the discredited “conversion therapy.” Anti-LGBTQ sentiment—often masked in concern, as in this letter—keeps the display of the rainbow flag relevant as an expression of our solidarity with humans of all gender expressions and orientations.

Margaret Darling

West Street

One citizen can make a difference

To the Editor:

A letter in last week’s Mosquito expressed dismay at the First Religious Society’s rainbow flag. FRS is a Welcoming Congregation, and we fly that banner to emphasize the first of our Unitarian Universalist principles, that we affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every human being.

The negative message of that letter stands in stark contrast with another more positive one. This week, Carlisle will hold a memorial service to honor and remember longtime resident Kathy Coyle who, among many notable accomplishments, proposed the name for this newspaper.

Kathy Coyle planted another seed too. Five years ago, in a similarly lovely Carlisle spring, she arranged to plant hundreds of rainbow flags all around the town.

It was May 2012, and an anonymous, hostile act of homophobia in town prompted Diane Miller, then minister at FRS, to take action. Diane didn’t want to call attention to the people involved, but she did want to make a statement.  Talking with Kathy Coyle, she searched for a way to express support and solidarity. Kathy offered the story of pink flamingos on lawns in a Boston suburb.  When a resident objected to another’s lawn flamingo in an unpleasant way, the neighborhood rallied by putting a flock of pink flamingos on all the other lawns.   Rev. Miller remembered an incident in Billings, Montana in 1993, when someone threw a cinder block through the window of a Jewish home where a menorah was displayed. One woman called her minister and soon homes all over Billings displayed menorahs. More rocks through windows brought forth even more menorahs.  

Kathy suggested rainbow flags to Diane. That idea took off. FRS made rainbow flags available on the front steps for all who wanted them. Very soon, hundreds of quiet, beautiful flags bloomed beside mailboxes in front yards around Carlisle.  

Stop by FRS to pick up a flag of your own. It’s May again in Carlisle, and I see rainbows beginning to bloom all over town.  

Rick MacDonald, 

FRS Parish Committee

Nowell Farme Road

“In poor taste”

To the Editor:

I fully support the rights granted in our first amendment. However, Sally Naumann’s letter from last week probably could have been rejected given your current policy of not printing letters “in poor taste.” I am certain the editorial staff wrestled with this one. However, I keep re-writing Sally’s letter using analogous racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic language and I wonder if those letters would be approved for publication. 

You see, I think we condemn racism, xenophobia, sexism and religious intolerance enough to disregard ugly rants as being in “poor taste;” but, we don’t respect that homophobia is equally in poor taste. It’s as rancid as any other kind of ignorant hate. So, on those grounds, I wish you had spared us from Sally’s mis-guided and painful rant. Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps The Mosquito would print a profoundly racist or Anti Jew/Muslim letter. But, I question that. And though I fully support civil discourse and free speech, I wish we could avoid giving blatant hate a public voice. Such hate is most certainly “in poor taste” and therefore, does not fit your guidelines for publication.

Alyson Becker

Prospect Street  

“Wrongheaded and misinformed”

To the Editor:

There is no question that the letter writer of “Dismayed to See the Rainbow Flag” in last week’s Mosquito has the right to express her opinion publicly. However, having the right to do something does not make doing that thing right. The letter was wrongheaded and misinformed but, equally importantly, it was unkind. What object is achieved by publishing such things about people who are neighbors and the friends and loved ones of neighbors? Some people are afraid of others that are different from themselves, but that fear should not motivate disrespect and unkindness.  

Mahreen Hoda

Oak Knoll Road

This is hate speech

To the Editor:

I am sure mine will not be the only response to the “Dismayed to see the Rainbow Flag” letter from last week. While I support Ms. Naumann’s first amendment right, I do question the Mosquito’s judgement by publishing hate speech in our local newspaper. Ms. Naumann’s letter is based on her “opinion” and her “facts” are presented in a biased way distorting the information from the CDC website. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, this is not the first time she has been given this platform to proselytize.  

We need to recognize this type of speech for what it is:

The Supreme Court defines “Hate Speech” as: speech which attacks a person or group on the basis of attributes such as gender, ethnic origin, religion, race, disability or sexual orientation.

If you don’t believe this is “hate speech” try this simple test. Go back to her letter and substitute your own gender, ethnic origin, religion, race, disability or sexual orientation everywhere it says “homosexual” and make it more personal. This may help you see it for what it is.

We fly the rainbow flag to let all who come to our small town know that we are a welcoming community. This flag may not apply to all minority groups, but the message when people see it is that all are welcome.

Robin Weiss

School Street

Rainbow flags are available

To the Editor:

Free speech is foundational to our democracy—as are civility, tolerance and truth-seeking. In a time of increasing divisiveness and hate in our country, positive action is critical. Carlisle Rising to Action (CRTA) is a recently formed and growing group of concerned citizens. We are working to promote tolerance and inclusion, to educate ourselves and others about today’s most pressing issues that call for action, and to actively stand up for those in need or under attack, including the LGBTQ community. CRTA joins FRS in standing on the side of love and invites all our neighbors to make a visible statement in support of tolerance. To fly a rainbow flag, please pick one up on the steps at FRS. To learn more about CRTA, please visit www.carlislerising.org.

Kathy MacDonald

Nowell Farme Road

Carlisle Rising to Action

Rainbow flags welcome me home

To the Editor :

We are transplants in Carlisle. My husband and I moved here with our nine-year-old son in September 2016. Having grown up in England and Virginia, respectively, we are transplants to New England as well. The Boston area has been our home for nearly 20 years now, and though we each lived previously in numerous places, we often comment how we feel most at home in New England.

We have been so gratified by our decision to make Carlisle our home over the past many months—everyone has been so friendly and helpful, from our wonderful neighbors to the staff at Ferns to the librarians and the school registrar and the police officers and building inspectors and the attendants at the Transfer Station. We are grateful to all of you for making us feel so welcome in our new town. (Well, OK, maybe not the ticks, but we are grateful to the rest of you!)

And one thing that especially warms my heart as I explore our town and the surrounding communities is the sight of the classic New England church on the town common. I love the rainbow flags and the “Black Lives Matter” signs. I love the rich history of our region, and especially the history of the Unitarians, persistent leaders in our social evolution from ending slavery through education reform and women’s rights to the civil rights movements of the ‘60s and today.  I am a proud Unitarian Universalist and so grateful to have found a spiritual home that welcomes both my intellect and my awe for the wonders of nature, that invites me to engage both my brain and my fellow worshipers in debate. I love that my son is growing up in a world where all kinds of families are increasingly recognized and certainly, whole heartedly, welcomed in UU congregations-whether they be families with single moms, single dads, two moms, two dads or a blended beautiful mess of step kids and step parents and second chances at happiness.

Every time I see a rainbow flag flying from a UU church, I know I am home. For the flags are not only a beacon for the LBGQT; they are a beacon for anyone seeking support on their journey to find truth, meaning, justice and community in this crazy world, no matter their race, class, education, gender identity, sexual orientation or political affiliation. God-fearing, atheist, agnostic or ambivalent—we invite you to open your mind and join the conversation.

Kelly Umstott 

Oak Knoll Road

Letter brought fear

To the Editor:

I picked my twins up on Friday from preschool and we sat outside, enjoying the first popsicles of the season. I was reading the Mosquito, thinking about farm shares, and the twins were looking for roly-polies, those pill bugs that roll up into themselves for protection when under threat.

The headline—”Dismayed to see the Rainbow Flag”-—did more than dismay me: I felt threatened.

For the first time since moving here, I was afraid. Afraid of ignorance and hatred. Afraid for my children. Later,  I realized I have been afraid since we got here. Afraid our children will be ostracized when they start school because their mothers are gay. Afraid the reason we don’t know our neighbors yet is not because the houses are far apart from each other, but because we are gay. In 1978, Harvey Milk, then a city supervisor in San Francisco, asked Gilbert Baker to create an emblem of the gay rights movement, and Baker designed the first rainbow flag. The rainbow flag stands for human rights, inclusion and love. The courageous Harvey Milk was assassinated that same year. Gilbert Baker himself died this spring. According to his obituary, Baker refused to apply for a trademark for the rainbow flag; it was his gift to the world.

Carlisle is a beautiful sanctuary. We are so grateful to set down roots here. And I realized I am no more afraid in Carlisle than I was in any other town or city I have lived in. But I want to believe our family can be a little less afraid here.

After reading the letter, I brought the kids inside, irrationally locking the door behind us—just like the roly-polies under the rocks, hiding from the world.

That’s no way to live for humans, and my children need me to be brave about who we are. I hope as many of you as possible will join me in engaging in the simple acts of kindness and respect every day which deepen our roots in our community.

Tracy E. Brown

Curve Street

Garden Club Tour is coming June 9-10

To the Editor: 

The Carlisle Garden Club Country Gardens Tour is coming. On June 9 and 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the town of Carlisle will be filled with eager garden enthusiasts from many towns around, savoring the pleasures of being invited to view the private grounds of six of some of the loveliest garden settings in our fair City in the Woods. This tour would not be possible without the generosity of volunteers who help by taking three-hour shifts to greet these visitors at each of the gardens. 

As our thanks for helping in this way, non-garden club volunteers are offered a free ticket for the tour. There are only a limited number of shifts needed, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 1 to 4 p.m., so find a friend, take a shift as a couple or meet someone new. Find out about the Garden Club, meet the members and enjoy a beautiful day, rain or shine, participating in this cherished tradition while helping the club raise funds to fulfill its goals of being a valued asset to the community.  

In addition to the tour, a plant sale will be held on the town common.

Email karen.r.smith@gmail.com to sign up to become a tour volunteer.

Karen Smith

North Road

LWV Candidates Forum, May 21

To the Editor:

The League of Women Voters will be holding a Carlisle Candidates Forum on Sunday, May 21, 3 to 5 p.m. at Town Hall.  All Carlisle residents are encouraged to attend to hear the candidates running for elected town positions speak about their views concerning the issues facing our town and their goals in running for office. The League invites voters to ask questions of the candidates, either at the forum or submitted prior to the event by emailing blglewis@comcast.net.

If you are unable to attend the Forum, we anticipate that a recording will be aired on CCTV and made available on the CCTV website under the On Demand option.

Barbara Lewis, LWVCC

East Riding Drive

Join the PMC Kids Ride

To the Editor:

I am so excited to bring the PMC Kids Ride to Concord for the ninth year on Sunday, June 11, from 8:30 a.m. - noon at Willard Elementary School, 185 Powder Mill Road, Concord. This event is a great example of the community coming together as participants and volunteers supporting our kids as they ride their bikes and raise funds for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

We look forward to seeing close to 200 kids between the ages of 5-15 riding a 1, 4, 8 or 12 mile route. There will be a separate 1/4-1/2 mile Jr. Ride for riders with training wheels and those under 5. Come out and join the fun and be part of this great community and philanthropic event. There will be lots of delicious food, music, games and activities for all!

For information about the ride or to register to ride, volunteer or donate, go to kids.pmc.org/concord. 100% of every dollar raised is used in the fight against cancer. 

Kelly Driscoll

Wilkins Lane