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Saturday, October 20, 2001                                       T H E   B O S T O N   G L O B E                                     City & Region B3

A Poet's Dream of a Monument to Unity takes Shape

By Rebecca R Duran


Sara Ting’s dream was already taking off before Sept. II. She had collected $250,000 in donations and a promise of a site for the 120-foot monument she planned to dedicate to unity, equality, and diversity. But since terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, her quest haspoets dreamtaken on new meaning and urgency. "The spirit of unity has been in our favor," she said. "Total strangers who have never heard about this project are receptive. Many of them are making contributions. Last night a group she set up to finance the monument hosted its fifth annual fund-raiser, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel In Cambridge. She expected 250 people to attend the $100-a person event.

Ting, a former local television reporter, diversity consultant, and public school poetry teacher, has been preaching the same themes since she wrote a simple four-line poem 20 years ago. The poem ended up on subways and buses in Boston, New York, and Providence, and, eight years ago, she decided it should be memorialized in a gigantic monument she has dubbed the Sun Unity Tower.

    The poem reads:

    Are you greater than the sun, that shines on everyone,

    black, brown, yellow, red & white,

    the sun does not discriminate"

No one argues that it is profound or it stroke of brilliance. "The Poem is not going to revolutionize poetry, but if it makes people feel something, that's great," said Doug Mau, assistant Professor of English and American literature at Harvard University. Ting’s supporters say the tower could help Boston reverse its historic racial tensions. "This city has a bad reputation when it comes to race relations," City Councilor at Large Francis "Mickey" Roache said recently. "This tower is a beacon of hope" Roach said, adding that he thought the tower would be a welcoming sign to newcomers as well.

"Total Strangers who have never

heard about this project are receptive.’


Michael Hemingway, a Vice President at State Street Bank, and Vice President and Treasurer of World Unity Inc. which hopes to build the tower, believes Boston still has a long Way to go to understand the benefits of diversity.

"If we had a symbol like this it would serve as a reminder for people to be tolerant,' said Hemingway, whose four children are biracial. "I'd like to believe my children will have an easy go at it."

Hubie Jones, a special assistant to the chancellor for Urban Affairs at tile University of Massachusetts at Boston, said that not only the existence of such a symbol in Boston, but the building of it, would be a healing and unifying act.

"it could be a bridge to a different future," said Jones, who is writing a book entitled "Black in Boston: A Lover's Quarrel., Ting may be at the end of her eight-year search for a suitable location for the Sun Unity Tower. MBTA General Manager Robert H. Prince said in an Aug. 14 letter to Mayor Thomas M. Menino that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority supports building the tower on a quarter-acre lot it owns at the old Victoria Station site on the South Boston waterfront. Prince said the site was ideal because of its prominent location, accessibility by public transportation, and historical significance as the nation's second largest entry port for immigrants from around the world.

Ting is still a long way from her fund-raising goal of $6 million, but she said her crusade will continue another eight years if necessary.

"Twenty years ago, I didn't know that this poem would cut across all forms of discrimination," Ting said. "It just sort of evolved."

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January 25, 2015