Silent demonstration downtown

Photo by Timothy Ramsey

Silent demonstration downtown
September 28
04:00 2017

Interfaith Winston-Salem and the Engaged Buddhist Collective united last week for a silent demonstration at Merschel Plaza to stand for peace and justice in the wake of recent events.

Amid recent demonstrations around the country, the organizers thought a silent demonstration could be equally effective.  The group stood in the plaza near the intersection of Fourth and Trade streets in downtown Winston-Salem holding signs as the evening traffic drove by.  Some motorists honked while others inquired what their demonstration was about.

“This came about by Laura and I connecting and talking about what we could do to honor the things that are going on in the world right now,” said Drea Parker, one of the event organizers.  “We wanted to have the mix between Winston-Salem and the Engaged Buddhist Collective to have an opportunity to show a response to what’s going on.”

“We didn’t want to do anything political but we just wanted to show the world that we stand for peace and justice,” she continued.  “As you have seen over the last month or two, there have been a lot of rallies where people are vocal and passionate about what they are feeling. We are taking the same stance of showing that we feel for peace and justice in silence.”

Parker says the idea for the silent portion of the demonstration came from Laura Frazier, who is a leader in the Buddhist Collective.  She says since people in the Buddhist faith do a lot of meditation, it was a perfect way to get their point across without saying a word.

Frazier said as a Buddhist she polled some of the groups she is a member of about taking a stand in public about things she believes in.  Although she says they are unlikely to take a stance on things or be in the middle of heated debates, healthy conversations are welcomed.

“The premise of this for me is that Buddhism begins with silence and it’s in the silence one can find the space to think about what the next right step is,” she said.  “We wanted to gather as group in a way that more people would feel comfortable.”

“The Engaged Buddhist Collective is not a group, it its a way that Buddhist can get information out to one another about things we may be interested in here in Winston-Salem,” Frazier continued.  “It’s very important for me to show up and be present to what is going on out here in a way that is about compassion, in a way that is open, and in a way that isn’t necessarily against anybody or anything.”

The major thing Frazier wanted people to get from the demonstration was to just give people the opportunity to be peaceful and say something positive through their signs they were holding.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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