Statue would remind Homer of Asaiah’s thoughts, words, actions

Dear citizens of Homer, 

Thanks to Michael Armstrong and the Homer News for his outstanding news article titled “Homer Debates: Where To Place Brother Asaiah’s Statue” posted Jan. 26. It was this important article, along with other communications, that prompted me to write this letter. I would like to thank everyone who has been thinking about the spirit of Asaiah represented by a real live statue to remind us of those great qualities which Brother Asaiah would claim are there, though sometimes dormant, in each one of us.

 I was and am still a close friend of the late Brother Asaiah Bates since 1961, as well as a past member of the W.K.F.L (Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Love) movement of which Brother Asaiah was a member and leading supporter.

 I have consigned a large bronze statue of Brother Asaiah, by the Homer artist and sculptor Leo Vait, as a donation to the city of Homer. I have done this to emphasize that his spirit and ideals are not dead, but live on.

 Asaiah’s dead physical body has been well hidden and guarded. My gratitude goes out to those responsible for honoring Asaiah’s wish that his physical body should return to the soil of Mother Earth and left unmarked. Having closely known Brother Asaiah, I feel that he would wish that his living spirit should remain vibrant and breathing and carried forth into the life of modern day Homer and all those who carry that spirit out into the larger world. Having a sculpture of Asaiah would remind us of Asaiah’s thoughts, words and actions through a living memento of his great spirt.

 Let me ask some rhetorical questions: Would those of you who knew Asaiah agree that he was both an illuminated person as well as an illuminator to others? Was he not like a lighthouse which guides sailors through darkness and storms towards a safe harbor of the light?

Would you place the lighthouse in a museum or mausoleum, or would you place the source of light, hope and community pride in a place where all can see and be nurtured and inspired? 

If it were up to me as to where the statue of Asaiah should be placed, I would recommend the following: 

l. WKFL Park, the park that Asaiah graciously donated to the city of Homer; or

2. On the plateau above Homer’s entrance where there is a sign stating “Homer: The Halibut Capital of The World.” (This is the top-of-the-hill spot where newcomers first catch that awesome glance of our “Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea,” the term coined by Brother Asaiah.) 

Brother Asaiah ignited that sense that Homer is our community, and whatever our thoughts were about it, we were free to express them, as long as we listened respectfully to other views. As I have traveled over Alaska roads, speaking with whomever crossed my path, I noticed that Homer travelers, unlike travelers from other communities, are proud of being from Homer. 

So, in the spirit of Brother Asaiah, I invite Homerites to share your views as to where Asaiah’s statue should be placed. I thank the former mayors of Homer, both Jack Cushing and James Hornaday, for supporting placement at WKFL Park. Another close friend of Asaiah’s, Ken Landfield, suggests a wider community discussion as to where it should be placed, and in the spirit of Brother Asaiah, I also support that.

Having been inspired by Asaiah’s spirit and wisdom: “Ask not what Brother Asaiah would do for you, but rather what we should do for Brother Asaiah?” Where shall we keep Asaiah’s living statue which would embody his message and example amongst us for both now and future generations? For we are the citizens of the “Cosmic Hamlet By The Sea” and if we truly know Brother Asaiah we would know that he did not think or act in the conventional way, but with an open and loving heart, and a cosmic consciousness whose end has no limits, especially if we carry the torch of his memory forward.

I thank and acknowledge the Homer City Council, the Public Arts Committee and the Parks and Recreation Commission for voting and approving the submitted proposal for the statue of Asaiah Bates as the people discuss about where. I also thank the following journalists for their articles about Asaiah’s statue: Martha Wagele for her article titled “Asaiah’s Thoughtfulness Lives On,” posted Jan. 29 and Lee Post’s article titled “A Sculpture of Asaiah Fitting,” posted Feb. 6. This is a very “well said” piece, in my opinion. I also thank both Michael Kennedy and Brad Hughes for expressing their views/opinions in the Armstrong article noted at the beginning of this letter.

For those of you who did not have the privilege of knowing Asaiah in person, I recommend reading his biography, “Brother Asaiah” from the library or bookstores, as remembered by MarthaEllen Anderson and many, many other Homerites who knew him when he walked with us in the flesh in our “Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea.” Here you will catch a great sense of the being that Brother Asaiah was and the spirit that he still is. 

With love for all, 

John N. Nazarian 

More in News

Teaser
Then Now: Looking back on pandemic response

Comparing messaging from 1918 to 2021

Damage in a corner on the inside of the middle and high school building of Kachemak Selo School Nov. 12, 2019, in Kachemak Selo, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Repair costs rise as school facilities deteriorate

About $420 million worth of maintenance is needed at Kenai Peninsula Borough School District buildings.

Golden-yellow birch trees and spruce frame a view of Aurora Lagoon and Portlock Glacier from a trail in the Cottonwood-Eastland Unit of Kachemak Bay State Park off East End Road on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)
State Parks to hold meeting on Eastland Cottonwood unit

Meeting will include update on Tutka Bay Hatchery bill

Renewable IPP CEO Jenn Miller presents information about solar power during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Company looks to build solar farm on peninsula

It would be roughly 20 times the size of the largest solar farm currently in the state.

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Soldotna Trooper arrested for multiple charges of child sex abuse

He has been a State Trooper in Soldotna since June 2020.

This photo shows the Alaska State Capitol. An Alaska state lawmaker was cited for driving with an open can of beer in his vehicle that another lawmaker said was actually his. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file)
Lawmaker cited for open beer fellow legislator says was his

Republican Sen. Josh Revak plans to challenge the $220 ticket.

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File
This 2011 photo shows the Taku and Malaspina ferries at the Auke Bay Terminal.
Costs add up as ferry idled nearly 2 years

Associated Press The cost to the state for docking an Alaska ferry… Continue reading

The Federal Aviation Administration released an initiative to improve flight safety in Alaska for all aviation on Oct. 14, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
FAA releases Alaska aviation safety initiatives

The recommendations, covering five areas, range from improvements in hardware to data-gathering.

AP Photo / Becky Bohrer
The Alaska Capitol is shown on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska. There is interest among lawmakers and Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy in settling a dispute over the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend program, but no consensus on what the program should look like going forward.
Alaskans get annual boost of free money from PFD

Checks of $1,114 are expected to be paid to about 643,000 Alaskans, beginning this week.

Most Read