BOSTON (CBS) – The town of Sharon is well known for being a diverse, welcoming community. As part of the Sharon Diversity Project, the Lions Club and the Rotary Club are displaying a number of banners around the town that depict a variety of flags. The flags were chosen to represent members of the community, but one specific flag caught the eye of a concerned citizen. Sharon resident Keevin Geller says that the Iranian flag has no place hanging in his community. Keevin and Sharon Diversity Project co-chair Eileen Cohen join Dan in studio to discuss the issue.

Originally broadcast May 8th, 2017

Comments
  1. David Wluka says:

    Dear Dan,

    Here is the letter I sent to the Board of Selectmen as a result of your radio broadcast:

    Dear Board of Selectmen,

    I want to commend you for the fair and civil way in which you conducted the session tonight dealing with the flag of Iran on one of the Sharon Celebrates Diversity banners. As you instructed those in attendance, I am writing to express my feelings for your consideration.

    Keevin Geller has been a friend of mine for more years than I choose to count. He has always been opinionated and vocal. Sometimes we have agreed and sometimes not…..but we remain friends. I fully understand the perspective he brings to the table. I am sure that many are incensed by the symbols of nations that foster hatred and terror. My perspective is just different.

    I agree with the statements made by the Rotary and Lions representatives. We are celebrating the diversity of our community, not the politics of their countries of origin. I have been a resident of Sharon for some 46 years and a Realtor here for 41 of them. I have watched the Town grow and change over those years, always tolerant and always diverse. I was the one who shepherded the reporter from Money Magazine around, showing her all of the natural assets that make Sharon the place we all love. I took her to the temples, churches and mosques (even though one off North Main Street is technically in Canton). Diversity has been a part of our DNA for decades. Money Magazine just highlighted it. It’s unfortunate that this laundry was aired on the radio. It does no one any good and makes me ashamed.

    In my volunteer life, I am a Director of IHCGlobal, the International Housing Coalition, (www.ihcglobal.org), an organization under the umbrella of the National Association of Realtors and Habitat for Humanity International. In 2014 I participated in World Urban Forum-7 in Medellin, Colombia and in 2016 at Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador. I met people at both conferences from Iran, Sudan, Iraq and many of the countries that harbor terrorism. It is clear to me that the people of these countries only want to live in peace and be left alone. They are as much in fear and hatred of their governments as we are and, given the opportunity, would have things differently. I saw the same thing when I traveled to Israel. The Palestinians and Israelis would just as soon live together peacefully as not but are at the mercy of their governments.

    The removal of the Iranian or any other flag denies the existence of a heritage and culture, not government, of our citizens. As was presented tonight, we start on a slippery slope that could quickly lead to no banners at all. I will end this with two biblical admonitions:
    “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone” (John 8:7) and more important that Sharon “Be a light unto the nations” (Isaiah 49:6).

    There is no “middle ground where no one is happy” that was mentioned by the Selectmen as they deliberate their decision. There is only the right thing to do. It’s confirms who we are.

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