Having just moved to Massachusetts from Florida, I was surrounded by boxes. The person speaking was the Verizon installer who, seeing the Boston Red Sox cap my husband bought me, felt compelled to inform me of the protection it afforded. As a baseball fan, I found the mention of Fenway Park enough to outweigh fearful remarks I heard about New England winters before moving here. It gave me fresh incentive to brave the move north to Boston. This new information about my cap was double good news.
I’ve been here two years now—hardly long enough to begin shedding my “outsider” status or for Boston to feel like home to me. I’m years away from weaning myself of GPS dependence. Still, even as a relative newcomer, it’s hard not to love a place like Boston. Boston is the epicenter of American history and an international hub of many of America’s finest higher educational and medical institutions. Today, the city bustles with activity, traffic jams, crazy sports fans, a rising generation of gifted students and researchers, and native Bostonians who take liberties by adding and subtracting the letta’ “R” in words.
But the promise of safety inherent in a Red Sox baseball cap reminds me that there are two sides to Boston. Alongside reasons for great pride and deep gratitude for this remarkable city, there are also and always have been reasons to need protection here.
Early Puritan settlers in Boston breathed in the fresh air of religious freedom back in 1630. But local cemeteries contain the bones of early Bostonians whose beliefs fell outside the circle of accepted doctrine and were persecuted—some of them to their graves. In 1773, the Boston Tea Party (anything but a party) was a dangerous act of resistance against the Crown and a harbinger of a royal crack-down to come. It did come. In 1775, Boston acquired the unenviable reputation of being the site where the first shot of the Revolutionary War was fired and both American and English blood was spilled. Boston speaks of sanctuary for some fleeing religious persecution and of unbearable persecution—literal witch hunts—for others; a place of peace and a place of bloodshed.
Old ironies live on in this New England city. Here, even beloved baseball players can land on the wrong side of their fans. But danger of a more sinister nature has held the advantage over many in Boston until this week when state legislators finally passed an anti-sex trafficking law for the governor to sign. Despite a long-established history of taking the lead when it comes to social change, Massachusetts lagged shamefully behind with two others states that still do not have a law empowering local law enforcement to go after traffickers, pimps, and johns and to treat prostitutes as victims instead of criminals.
What I love most about Boston are the people here who love Boston too. They haven’t waited for the government to act. Just since moving here, I’ve witnessed the formation of two unstoppable gatherings of Christian women who are fired up to bring hope to the hopeless and freedom to the captives. Last week people gathered to support a safe house for women recovering from trafficking. Darkness and danger may be strong, but these light-bearing ezer-warriors are filled with hope and determination. Boston will feel the impact of their efforts and many will find freedom because of their advocacy. And that makes me truly thankful to live here.
So if you’re in Boston and happen to see a GPS dependent woman driving around sporting a Boston Red Sox cap, she could be me—growing to love Boston and staying safe.
—This article was originally published by Christianity Today’s This is Our City. Follow the link to read articles about what’s happening in other cities.