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The problem with an email chain letter coordinated candlelight vigil is that you end up with different times. At 7pm Eastern, September 14, 2001, we wandered outside with a pair of Shabbos candles, and walked a few blocks towards the Dual Donuts of Death, nodding to the people who would tap their horns in support. We wandered back, and up another street, exchanging brief, quiet pleasantries, and then returned home. On CNN, we saw that folks had gathered in various places across Boston and Cambridge as well as the rest of the Eastern Seaboard.

Cut to 10pm. Since we knew some folks would be out then, We went out, but, being more lethargic decided to sit on the corner. Now Concord Ave is a pretty busy thoroughfare, so we had a lot of drive by support. The only pedestrians that wandered by were two women (apparently mother and daughter) with dusky skin. Had I been a better cultural expert, I might have guessed which Arabic nation they had come from (by garb), but I couldn't tell. They kept their eyes downcast and caged, perhaps in fear that we would accost them.

How could I explain that the point of sitting out here was to say, "I am part of this community. You will not cause me to hide from my neighbors, be they Muslim, Arab, or fundamentalist Christian." (Okay, maybe I'd run from the last ;). But I couldn't. I could just send them well-wishes.

Then came the kicker. A late model (odd how late model connotes a specific period that is no longer late) sedan when zooming past, and the driver yelled out "Fuck you, I'm a Hindu." His voice sounded like someone with a not-deep-enough voice trying to imitate the Kurgan, and, immediately after shouting that, made a right turn at the next corner.

We looked at each other. Would he circle around and be confrontational? Should we go inside? No. We were here to prove Americans don't run and hide in fear. If he came back, we'd be prepared. If he was pissed because others had threatened or abused him, I wish him solidarity. If he thought he was being cute, well, eit.

But if you see someone holding a candle, or wearing a ribbon, pause for a moment. Maybe join them.

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