The Good Always Outweighs The Bad

As mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, Alex Morse receives many letters, phone calls, tweets and Facebook messages that criticize how he runs the city. But last week, Morse received a letter at his home that was different. This letter targeted his sexuality and had a threatening tone. “Alex, you are one of the most selfish people that I know due to your ‘gay’ lifestyle,” the note began. “You are going down.” There was no return address, and no name at the bottom.

Morse, who is openly gay, said he decided to make the message public to bring awareness to what he sees as the challenges ahead, as hate crimes are on the rise since the Donald Trump won the presidential election. “It’s a more threatening message than usual, and given the context of the culture that seems to have been elevated since the Trump election, I thought it was important to shine a light on this language and behavior,” said Morse.

Since receiving the message, Morse said there has been an outpouring of support from his community. People have called and left messages at his office and expressed concern, he said. More than 400 people have left comments on Facebook, calling the note “sick” and “disgusting.”

“Like any community, be it in Holyoke, Mass., or anywhere else across the country, there are going to be people who are small-minded and bigoted,” he said. But, he added, “I know that the good always outweighs the bad.”

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Love Wins in Natick, Massachusetts

Cari and Lauri Ryding always felt welcome in their Natick, Massachusetts neighborhood.  However when they came home from vacation, they found their porch had been vandalized with smashed eggs and their Pride flag, in honor of the Orlando victims, had been stolen.

“It was our first experience in Natick of having any type of prejudice,” Cari said. “We hadn’t experienced it all, and it kind of broke open our little cocoon.”  Cari started to rethink about how welcoming her neighborhood was after this event. But what happened next reaffirmed her belief in her neighbors.

“We said, ‘Why don’t we all have the flags? They can’t take them from all of us,’” said Dennis Gaughan, a neighbor in the Natick community. So one by one, rainbow flags popped up on houses: forty total.

Lauri was overwhelmed by the show of support from her neighbors. Lauri said “…love conquers hate. Love wins. We win.”

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