Jan 18, 2021
Photo Credit: Diva Olvera, left, lights a luminary with Jen Marshell before Sunday’s Lanterns Around Loomiller event. The event was hosted by the LeftHand Artist Group at Longmont’s Loomiller Park. (Amy Bounds/Staff Writer)
People holding lanterns, candles and even headlamps gathered Sunday around the ice covered pond at Longmont’s Loomiller Park to reflect on the life of Martin Luther King Jr.
The inaugural Lanterns Around Loomiller event was hosted by the Lefthand Artist Group to bring together community members in a safe, distanced way.
“I thought it would be so beautiful if we could reflect the light on the pond,” said organizer and Lefthand Artist Group board member Amy Heneghan. “It’s about being the light coming out of the darkness.”
Heneghan and other participants read quotes by Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the late civil rights activist and longtime U.S. Rep. John Lewis.
From Martin Luther King Jr.: “It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.”
From Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “Fight for the things you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
From John Lewis: “For peace cannot exist where justice is not served.”
Community member Valerie Bhat also sang “Lean on Me” and “What a Wonderful World” before participants were asked to line the bank of the pond for a moment of quiet reflection.
The Lefthand Artist Group first held a “human luminaria” event in December in downtown Longmont. Heneghan said she chose Loomiller for Sunday’s event because it’s “her park.” She previously turned a 30-foot blue spruce in the northeast corner of the park into a Positivi-Tree in response to swastikas carved into the playground equipment in 2017.
“There’s just been so much strife and hatred,” she said, adding she hopes the lantern events will continue. “It’s something we need to work on together.”
Sunday’s event was planned before the deadly Capitol riot and President Donald Trump’s impeachment by the U.S. House last week. But Lefthand Artist Group member Karen Boehme said those recent events made gathering as a community “more poignant than ever.”
“It’s a time to bring some light to the world,” she said. “It’s not just dark because it’s January, it’s the world. We want people to have a little bit of hope.”
Finley Miranda, who brought a handmade jar lantern that included folded paper with inspirational messages, said she came to the event from Lafayette because “we all need to participate.”
“We all believe that even the small things we do can make a change,” she said.