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I have found events from the last few weeks in Reading quite thought-provoking, from the neighborhood meeting regarding the proposed use of Daniels House as a treatment center to the recent Select Board meeting. The ability to express our opinion and speak freely is not only a guaranteed right under the Constitution but essential to bringing about change in society.
Everyone has an opinion, and a right to express it. I believe it is important to protect even unpopular or hurtful speech. It seems we have had plenty of both recently. Over the past few weeks, I have seen several groups of individuals seemingly comeunder attack; developers, folks with substance use disorders, Police, Select Board members, residents. It seems that Reading is only ‘Dementia Friendly’. We have a wonderful opportunity to examine what are the underlying issues and concerns in our Town but only if everyone takes a deep breath and steps back. There is way too much anxiety and anger out there.
I caution my fellow Reading residents against acting on emotion only in regard to any current issue facing the community or being pulled in by other’s hurt or fears. Instead I ask what can we do to bridge what has become an ever-widening gap between neighbor and a rigidity in our thinking?