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Letters to the Editor

Memorial service was extraordinary

On Saturday at First United Methodist Church in Ashland, I was truly blessed to be in a church-packed crowd to celebrate the life and influence of David Michael Grubbs.

The motif of the memorial/celebration was "overcome evil with good." Knowing the grisly, gruesome data regarding David's death, this message truly stunned me. How could the family of a 23-year-old man of goodness, kindness and generosity proclaim such a positive message?

During the testimonies by the pastor, sisters and father, a portrait of an extraordinarily "ordinary" young man of goodness emerged. The family's faith and love captivated me and, I believe, all in attendance. If they can rise to this level of confident faith, then I must respect deeply Shop'n Kart's decision to close the store from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., allowing David's friends and co-workers to experience the exceptional beauty of a family's spiritual triumph in their son's physical tragedy.

Ashland draws the best and widest spectrum of people. It may be a blessing and a curse: to be welcoming of all, including those bent on evil. I honor the most courageous family of David Michael, all of those in law enforcement who are seeking to identify the assailant(s), and the community of Ashland that believes that we should truly "live and let live." David died in testimony of this Ashland creed.

I know in my heart of hearts that David's death will bear wondrous fruit of love and goodness. The "soil" of his life can produce nothing less.

Dan Murphy

Ashland

A son who turned a city into a family

Though I only knew David through Shop'n Kart where I was a regular customer, I was drawn by a profound gravity of the heart to his memorial on Saturday at First United Methodist Church. As I drove down North Main toward the church, I felt myself enter another atmosphere. And as I turned left onto Laurel, it turned dreamlike, time slowing down, things growing more vivid, intense, dare I say, sacred.

I drove up the street to the top where I finally managed to find a parking place, then began the slow, thoughtful walk down the hill until my mind shut down and I was simply a body drawn together with the gathering body of our town to remember our son.

By the time I entered the church, the space was completely filled, and I could only stand among the standing-room-only gathering in the lobby. But even there, it felt like a privilege to be in that presence, which was clearly larger than the physical space. That presence which embraced us in that sacred moment, invading the smallness of our lives and bringing us close to one another and to what really matters.

For I too am a father and parent of a son — of an only child who turned 19 on that same Nov. 26 day. And it was through the eyes and heart of a father that I, along with hundreds of our community, was humbled and deeply touched by the service, by David, his family and friends. For even as we grieved, we felt such gratitude; even as we felt the gravity and the shadow, we felt such light and love, such dignity and grace — and, yes, such humor.

I thank you, David, your parents and sisters for bringing us together, for breaking our barriers and making us all a family in that moment, reminding us what matters. For, as we learned and experienced together that day, it not only takes a village to raise a child. It takes a child to raise a village.

Alan Sasha Lithman

Ashland

Oregon Action honors activists

Four community leaders' action for social justice in our community will be recognized at the Oregon Action third annual "Carry It On!" Holiday Celebration. The event will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Talent Community Center on East Main next to City Hall.

As the feisty occupy movement sweeps the nation, Oregon Action stands with workers, youth, unemployed men and women and immigrants to celebrate local activists whose courageous leadership exemplifies the "Carry It On" spirit. Activist awards will be presented to Rep. Peter Buckley, Steve Neuberger, Treasa Cordero Runzi and the Medford Congregational Church UCC. The celebration will include live music by David Pinsky and Gary Halliburton of The Rhythm Kings, food and beverages, and is open to the public. For more information call 541-772-4029.

Rich Rohde

Ashland

Progressives are right here

Where are we, Allan Lee? We're marching and sitting and meeting and organizing, right here in Ashland and all over our valley.

We're protecting our watershed and helping people move their money to more responsible banks, we're protesting illegal foreclosures, helping students with mortgage-sized debts and urging job creation. We're feeding the hungry and working on homeless issues. We're organizing students, writing and singing and giving voices to those who have none. We're working to fix health care, get the money out of politics and eliminate war.

We're joined — dozens of organizations where people work tirelessly, standing up for values we cherish, and up for each other. We are occupying right here in Ashland and all over the world to change paradigms, build sustainable communities and share our love.

My question to him and others is: Where are you? Find out more. Join the movement — Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m. on the plaza — www.occupyashlandoregon.org.

Karen Jeffery

Ashland