—I have copied this news article to illustrate just how important our Boston Public Art and sculpture mean to our Boston citizens and ideals. Boston Public Art is always interacting and alive with our great city!
For nine weeks, a replica of the Gandhi statue belonging to the Peace Abbey in Sherborn joined hundreds of protesters at the Occupy Boston camp in Dewey Square. While there, it offered the protesters a source of unity, and several stood to protect it as the clock struck midnight on Thursday night, many ready to be arrested during the anticipated police raid that never happened.
It was on Friday night when the police closed down the camp.
The statue moved all around the camp in its final night of occupation, standing at times along Atlantic Avenue at the front of the camp and by the media tent.
“It’s been a rallying point of solidarity,” college student Danny Foster said. “It lets people know we’re peaceful.”
Peace Abbey founder Lewis Randa accompanied the fiberglass Gandhi along with his two sons and others from the Abbey through the early-morning hours after the eviction order took effect.
They decided to leave it at the camp for one more night, and its whereabouts were unknown for a while Friday, though it became clear that protesters took it to protect it.
“It turned up in the hands of people that love that statue,” Randa said.
The statue has since returned to Sherborn, where it will be refurbished.
The Peace Abbey offered the statue to Occupy Boston in solidarity with its nonviolent message.
“It’s a powerful symbol of nonviolence,” Randa said. But, “it’s just fiberglass.”
While Randa and those who accompanied him weren’t planning to get arrested, a number of those who stood with arms-linked claimed that they were.
“It’s a powerful experience to risk incarceration over an idea,” Randa said.
Before it became clear that the police wouldn’t raid the camp Thursday night, Randa reminded the crowd, “Don’t try to protect [the statue] using anything other than nonviolence,” he said.
The statue served as a focal point for the protesters, according to Dan Dick, a longtime volunteer at the Peace Abbey. Dick, the Randas and Esther Brandon, an intern at the Abbey, arrived at the camp at 11:30 that night to look after the statue.
“I just want to be sure that he’s safe,” Dick said.
Although Randa made six visits to the protest over its lifespan, the Gandhi statue remained there at all times, unsupervised by the Peace Abbey.
“Lewis has a tremendous amount of faith,” Dick said. “[He has] an ungodly amount of trust.”
The statue did incur some damage, including the temporary misplacement of Gandhi’s eyeglasses and a broken thumb. However, someone at the camp bandaged the broken piece and even painted it to blend in with the rest of the statue’s hand.
At one point during the occupation, Gandhi’s likeness was used to block the entrance to the nearby Goldman Sachs offices, which Randa said was a more appropriate place for the protests.
“The issue is not with Boston or Mayor Menino,” Randa said.
The original Gandhi statue rests permanently on the Peace Abbey’s Sherborn lawn. The version that was occupying Dewey Square was guarded by dozens of protesters, many of whom weren’t familiar with Randa or the Peace Abbey, which needs to sell some of its property due to financial difficulty.
Although Dick wore a large fanny pack stuffed with informational materials about the Abbey for those who were interested, the goal was not to divert attention away from Occupy Boston’s message.
“Everyone has a right to be here,” Randa said. “It’s no concern of ours about getting a following.”
Randa founded the Peace Abbey based on his experience as a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. His experience with Occupy Boston was, “as powerful as anything I experienced in the ’60s,” he said.
The Gandhi statue served as a 9-foot reminder to the protesters, and a gift to everyone involved.
“It was a gift to Occupy Boston, to that statue and to the Peace Abbey,” Randa said. “It did nothing but remind them of the importance of nonviolence.”
Read more: Gandhi statue back at Peace Abbey after stay with Occupy Boston - Dover, MA - Dover-Sherborn Press http://www.wickedlocal.com/dover/features/x278310901/Gandhi-statue-back-at-Peace-Abbey-after-stay-with-Occupy-Boston#ixzz1gcT87Ogz