Small crowd gathers for ‘Moment of Peace’

Event organizer Sage Francetich takes a knee to lead the group in a 10-minute period of silence to express gratitude for the work public servants have done throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

About a dozen community members gathered in the Moscow City Hall parking lot Sunday afternoon for a “Moment of Peace” event to express gratitude for the work public servants have done during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event was organized late last week by Moscow residents Sage Francetich and Lacey Coy Watkins in response to the attention — positive and negative, locally and nationally — the city’s emergency face mask ordinance has garnered.

They said they imagine city officials are under a lot of stress because of backlash the ordinance has caused, and they wanted to show up to remind those officials that appreciative community members exist.

“I’ve watched City Council meetings and seen them take testimony from multiple perspectives, and they (councilors) even have to go through more steps even prior to that,” Watkins said. “They’re getting a lot of criticism right now, and they deserve respect for the weight of the decisions they’re making, especially when we started receiving criticism from outside of our city.”

Asked why Moscow has received so much national attention in recent weeks, Watkins pointed to the engaged nature of the city’s residents.

“It’s not just people who are appointed to positions — when you have an activated population, it’s more likely to be noticed,” she said. “Compared to a lot of Idaho, Moscow’s citizenship is more likely to engage in political discourse and show their stances with people who aren’t just close friends.”

According to the event’s Facebook description, people were encouraged to attend — provided they wear a mask and practice social distancing — and bring signs to communicate “positive and uplifting” messages. Sunday’s crowd did both of those things.

According to the Facebook event description, residents were also invited to thank the Moscow mayor and/or city council for their commitment to public health and safety or give a “shout out to teachers for their dedication to students. Thank the transportation department, sanitation workers, water department or parks and recreation department.”

Ellen Dennis can be reached at (208) 883-4632 or by email at briefs@dnews.com.

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