LYNNFIELD — In the aftermath of a divisive political season in 2016, a group of local residents came together to promote love and unity.
Over the course of 2017, Lynnfield for Love helped organize and host a Racial Amity Day, created a Kindness Rocks garden at MarketStreet, and held a multicultural fair with the Lynnfield Cultural Council.
“The group started in the aftermath of the election,” said Lynnfield for Love founder Jennifer Lupien, and the town’s Person of the Year. “I was looking for someone to speak up, and I posted that on a Facebook community group. We spoke about our experiences in Lynnfield, both positive as well as a little bit of the negative that you find in Lynnfield and everywhere else.”
From that posting came a group of residents who held an informal meeting at Whole Foods. Rather than diving too deeply into the partisan political end of things, that meeting evolved into Lynnfield for Love.
With a mission of spreading love, peace, and harmony, the group kicked off its first public event on the town common with a One Love celebration. Participants filled eggs with kind messages to “egg” the fire and police station. Other activities included writing letters of love to veterans, refugees, and children in hospitals and making kindness rocks for the kindness rock garden at MarketStreet.
“After that, we held a race amity day to celebrate all types of friendship, we held a vigil after Charlottesville (the white supremacist/Neo Nazi rally in the Virginia town in August) at the town hall, and we held our multicultural event with the Lynnfield Cultural Council, which was our big event,” said Lupien.
There are no official membership numbers for Lynnfield for Love. Lupien said there are about eight to a dozen members who play a key role in many events, with many dozens more who have volunteered or lent a hand in the past year.
Those numbers don’t include the numerous town officials who have lent a hand to the group, and the residents who attended a Lynnfield for Love event in 2017.
“Selectman Chris Barrett has been very helpful when we’ve had questions,” said Lupien. “He’s provided us with a lot of insight and helped us when we had any roadblocks.”
Barrett said he appreciates the message the group helps spread throughout the town.
“In a world filled with many challenges, the town of Lynnfield can take great pride in this group, led by dedicated adults and children, who are always ready and willing to go above and beyond to make sure we continue to move forward in a positive direction,” said the selectman. “This group is an example that even in small towns like Lynnfield, there is much we can do to help make the world a better place. We are grateful as a community that Lynnfield for Love has laid a strong foundation for us to create new and enduring friendships among all of our residents.”
This year, Lupien said one of the main goals for Lynnfield for Love is earning non-profit status. She said she also expects there to be more events like the One Love event and the multicultural celebration with the cultural council.
“We want to be inclusive for the whole community and we want to show love and acceptance for all people,” she said.