The Patriots Day celebration at Meriam’s Corner on April 8 honored the struggle for independence and the courage of minutemen in 1775, a source of pride for citizens of Concord as well as ALL Americans.
It was an injustice to have this celebration hijacked by a politically conservative reverend espousing the need to “stand against wokeness”. He denounced all those who do not believe in Jesus as “demons.”
The term “wokeness,” first introduced into this country around 1923, referred to the struggle for freedom in Ethiopia. The folk singer Leadbelly used the term after nine Black teenagers were falsely accused of raping two white women in Alabama in 1931, cautioning those who passed through Scottsboro Alabama “best stay woke.” More recently, woke was a description of those who were aware of social injustices and inequalities. Now the term has devolved into a pejorative by opponents of progressive political movements.
What possible relevance does the term “woke” have being weaponized and disparaged at a celebration for the struggle for independence from Britain? The critical issue is to understand how and why this was allowed to occur. Who authorized this preacher? Was the content of the sermon reviewed by those who approved of him? Were those involved in organizing the event aware of his background?
Those responsible for sanctioning this clergy and screening what he was to say should be held accountable. My grandmother would call this antidemocratic sermon a “Shanda” or shame. I would call it an outrage. Those of us offended by this benediction deserve to be reassured from those in local government that this type of speech never again happens at a non-denominational celebration. Patriots day celebrations should not be a forum for religious or political views, either conservative or liberal.
Norman Weinberg M.D. FACP