While political and religious leaders interviewed last week denounced the bombing attempt along the route of Spokane’s annual march honoring Martin Luther King Jr., they shared a range of opinions about how the Spokane community should respond.
The Rev. Flora Bowers, Manito United Methodist Church:
“We need to react not out of passion, not out of fear, but out of a sense of what we need to do to combat this anger, this hatred.”
Emmanuel Cannady, Spokane Human Rights Commission:
“I think our initial response should be a call to action. Situations like this allow us an opportunity to reflect, as well. Hopefully, we take this time to celebrate the things that we are doing well.”
Bishop Blase Cupich, Spokane Catholic Diocese:
“We should always continue to do what we’re doing and not be influenced either way by people who are unstable or who have an agenda against society. I believe people should go about their lives and not let any fear paralyze us. … We just have to be willing to stand up for right and be willing to defend ourselves and denounce this type of terrorism that people want to inflict on our lives.”
Rabbi Michael Goldstein, Temple Beth Shalom:
“As the Jewish community in the Northwest has been over the years subject to extremist violence, we are particularly sensitive to these kinds of acts. In the broad Spokane community, we should see this in the light of the far-too-widespread use of inflammatory language in the dialogue happening in our nation today, both in politics and in issues facing society. If some good can come out of this incident in Spokane, I would hope it would be a renewed commitment by all to dialogue that is respectful of all points of view.”
Anne Hicks-Smith, NAACP Spokane chapter:
“I want the community to know that I’m proud of the community and I’m proud of how everybody reacted to it.” The march “will go on next year not out of defiance, but because of Dr. King and our belief in what Dr. King stands for. Whomever it was, they did not succeed in trying to divide and destroy.”
The Rev. Joe Niemiec, the Spokane Interfaith Council and the Center for Spiritual Living:
“The community has to identify within itself the splinter hate groups … and try to bring them to the table to find out how we can work with them in a constructive way. You’re not going to rub out ignorance by putting it in a new jail.”
Pastor Lonnie Mitchell, Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church:
“What we should do is do everything that we can to help the law enforcement authorities. Everybody needs to be watchful and just a little bit more careful of their surroundings.” Mitchell said he’s been reminded of a Bible verse from 1 Peter: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
Nancy Nelson, retired co-director, Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane:
“Our community really needs to come together and say something in a unified way that sends the message that we are supportive of African-Americans who live and work here and we will be there to try to improve what our community can be – together.”
Spokane County Commissioner Mark Richard:
“I would encourage people to move on and move forward. If we dwell on this, we’re really going to play into the hands of the people who left this device. We need to do what we promised to do at the start of this march: We need to celebrate our diversity and be thankful for all we have here in Spokane. My sense is that this is kind of a wake-up call that Spokane is not immune to the kind of things that have taken place around the world.”
John Tusant, Greater Spokane Association of Evangelicals:
“We’re thankful that (the bomb) was found in time and no one was inflicted by it.” People should “allow the authorities to do thorough work to bring justice to the issue. We pray that it does not cast a dark image on Spokane itself.”
Spokane Mayor Mary Verner:
“The community should be vigilant but unafraid to carry on. I know that when we are challenged we tend to come together even more.”
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