Persons, places and things: Stop the hate, show the love


By Barb Arland-Fye

Children and adults sang their way into my heart at the 20th Annual “Stop the Hate, Show the Love” event in Clinton on Sept. 20. Our encounter began inside the gym at Jefferson Elementary School where I listened to short, inspiring talks about the importance of walking together —as a community — and putting words into action to bring about peace. The Clinton Peace Coalition organizes this annual event, and the Sisters of St. Francis of Clinton are part of the coalition. I wanted to show my support for their efforts.

Barb Arland-Fye
Sister Kathleen Holland, OSF, and Sister Marilyn Shea, OSF, participate in the “Stop the Hate, Show the Love” event on the campus of Jefferson Elementary School in Clinton on Sept. 20.

In today’s world, people have a tendency to look with suspicion at someone different from themselves, said Karen Vickers, president of Clinton Community College. But, “it’s together that we become a strong community.” She quoted the great civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who said: “I’ve decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” Achieving peace is hard work, Vickers said. “It’s work that starts with each one of us.”

Clinton Community School District Superintendent Gary DeLacy spoke of students setting an example for adults, referring to the sense of community being fostered at Clinton High School where a group of Chinese students are studying this year.


Alma Mariano emceed the event, introducing those of us sitting in the bleachers to each of the choirs that performed. The Jefferson Elementary Choir sang “A Wish for Peace,” a short but memorable composition. They were followed by the Clinton Community Children’s Choir; the Clintones, an older adult choir; and the Clinton High School Chamber Choir. All of the choirs combined to sing two songs; their singing lifted me up.

Then we were instructed to head outdoors that sunny, early evening to walk to the Peace Pole on the school campus. One of the Sisters of St. Francis asked me if I’d like to carry a sign. It read: “Peace … imagine that — Clinton Peace Coalition.”

A fourth-grader walking next to me, said: “I like your sign.” I thanked her and we struck up a conversation. I learned that the musical instrument case she carried contained a viola, which she likes to play.

I set my sign down to snap a few photos of the walkers on my iPhone. An adult walker picked up my sign and carried it so I wouldn’t have to retrace my steps. At the pole, Clinton High School vocal music teacher Karl Wolf told us “we can’t simply wish for peace, we have to work for it.” He quoted Pope Paul VI, who said: “If you want peace, work for justice.”

Wolf said something else that made me stop and think: to attain “justice for all, I need to step back a little from my privilege.” His privilege: being a white male and a middle-class citizen. Wolf also put a twist on the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.”

He led us in singing “Let There Be Peace On Earth” before the event’s finale: the release of butterflies. The kids crowded eagerly around Marion Johnson, the lady with the butterflies, and shouted in delight to see them set free.

I left the event thanking God for a respite from the divisiveness and selfishness that our society finds so hard to let go of.

(Editor Barb Arland-Fye can be reached at

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