Love Lives Here Statement
We, the Muskegon Rotary Club, are so proud to live, work and play in this beautiful diverse community we call home. Sadly, for some members of our community, what others might view as isolated incidents represent a sentiment they experience in their daily lives and points to a disturbing realization that we are not as far along the path of reconciliation and unity as we had hoped. Acts by individuals acting in a hateful way or by hate groups must be rejected; they do not represent who we are in Muskegon.
Edmund Burke’s words, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing,” move us to step forward. We realize that silence appears to be acceptance, and we also recognize that we can and must stand against those who seek to tear down our community through hatred and bigotry. We do not accept hate, and we will not be silent.
Yes, we are speaking against hatred and bigotry—but, just as importantly, we are speaking for love and respect. LOVE LIVES HERE. Being silent when another is attacked verbally, physically, overtly or passively is not acceptable. We cannot, and we will not be silent.
Hatred and bigotry are not welcome in our neighborhoods, our schools, our workplaces or our community. Our economic wellbeing rests on our interconnectedness; we cannot thrive if anyone is excluded. It matters not your race, ethnicity, country of origin, faith, or sexual/affectional orientation—we are all here on this earth for a purpose, we all share our love for our families, we all want to live the American Dream, we all aspire to be the best that we can be. We must acknowledge that any differences we have with those that do not look or speak or love the way we do are greatly outweighed by what we do have in common.
Today and always we stand against hate and for each other. LOVE LIVES HERE. We commit ourselves to difficult conversations that bring better understanding and cohesiveness to our community. We commit to active listening that respects other viewpoints without belittling or degrading. We commit to not just one event or action, but to continuous respectful behavior, compassionate listening, and recognition of our individual and collective responsibility to harmony and justice in the Greater Muskegon community.
The Rotary Four-Way Test is a guide for thoughts, words, and actions to develop respect and understanding within our community and beyond.
Of the things we think, say and do:
Is it the truth?
Is it fair to all concerned?
Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
We remember and affirm Elie Wiesel’s words: “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
We, Muskegon Rotary, stand together renouncing hate and bigotry and affirming our interconnectedness. We invite you all to be part of LOVE LIVES HERE, respecting a variety of conversations and cultures, where everyone feels welcome to share their contributions, making us all stronger together, and moving forward with hope and in peace.