To the editor:
Thank you to the City Council for voting “yes” to the Historical Committee’s recommendation to approve the Black Lives Matter mural.
I am the pastor of First Congregational Church of Ripon, which hosted a meeting in 1854 to respond to the proposed expansion of slavery in the Nebraska Bill:
“Bovay called a meeting ... at the Congregational Church in the Village of Ripon to demonstrate against the Nebraska swindle.” This meeting can best be expressed by the resolutions that were adopted. “Resolved, that of all the outrages... not one compares [to]... the Nebraska Bill.” A resolution also was passed to “dissolve old party organizations and form a new party directly opposed to the principals of that legislation.”
The resolutions taken up by the citizens who met in my church 166 years ago identified the outrages as “principals,” often legal, that diminished the lives of blacks. They swore to fight against those principals.
Letting the BLM mural stand carries on the tradition of outrage and courage seen by our city’s founders.
166 years ago, the pastor who held my office sat in my church’s old sanctuary, and affirmed that Black Lives Mattered enough to form a new political party. Today my faithful responsibility seems pale in comparison to his, yet I believe affirming this mural’s place in our city is an act that continues the legacy of standing against racial injustices. It is a reminder that the work started 166 years ago remains unfinished. We are still a part of this story.
— Rev. Jeffrey Dodson
203 E. Griswold St.