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Forum, Sept. 14: Confront Racism


Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Confront Racism

To purposely terrorize a young boy who is biracial is wrong and needs to be confronted. A young boy in Claremont will remember this cruel act for the rest of his life. As white people, let’s confront and cope with our past.

We owe a huge debt to people of color. We can learn so much by reading books, having conversations and reflecting. And then becoming active. Ending racism is important to our well-being and necessary for creating healthy communities. No more hate.

Brenda Reeser

White River Junction

A Hate Crime

I’m writing as a concerned citizen and as a clinical social worker who specializes in the care of traumatized children.

I am extremely concerned to read, in the local and national press, about the brutal attack on an 8-year-old child in Claremont by a group of older youth. I am particularly concerned that this appears from the press reports to have been a racially motivated assault on a child of color by white youths, in other words, a hate crime.

But first and foremost, I am concerned that this could happen to a child in our community without the knowledge or intervention of adults or older kids.

It is crucial that we as a community know what steps have been taken to ensure the safety of all children here. The community, and at this point the country, deserve assurance that the older youths responsible for this horror have been arrested and dealt with in a way that makes it impossible for them to assault other children. It should be straightforward to let the public know what steps have been taken, without disclosing the named of the injured child or of his assailants if they are juveniles.

We also need assurance that the Department of Children, Youth and Families is actively involved in assisting the child who was assaulted and his family, as well as investigating the situations of the alleged perpetrators, given the obvious concern that they may have done to their victim what had been done to them.

Victoria Rhodin

Montpelier

Racism on Display

On Aug. 28, a group of white youths in Claremont tried to lynch a biracial 8-year-old. The young teenagers verbally abused the child with racial slurs, tied a rope around the child’s neck and pushed the child off a picnic table. The child sustained injuries that required a trip to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Claremont City Manager Ryan McNutt, in a Sept. 8 Valley News article, called this hate crime “an unfortunate incident between some juveniles.” Another person quoted in the article said such racially motivated behavior was “antique.”

I did not grow up here in “whitelandia,” where 95 percent of inhabitants are white. I grew up in a town in New York State that was 30 percent black and where the racism was vicious, overt and nonstop. I witnessed acts of racial hatred both large and small, every day. Even in this place, my hometown, among rabid racists, it was unheard of for white people to recognize racism or hold themselves accountable for its unending violence. The silence of white people, me included, maintained a terrifying status quo.

Racism will not budge in America unless white people open their hearts and minds to the truth about racism, educate themselves and one another, and demand accountability from themselves and their public officials.

What happened in Claremont was a hate crime, and a horrifying one. Racial hatred, far from being “antique,” is on full display every single day in every state and every city and every small town.

The only way out of this is through it, and going through the process of facing the racist history of the nation is the first painful step.

Carolyn Bardos

Fairlee

Gun Rights and Danger

It was only a matter of time before DHMC employees and patients were put in a situation to fear for their lives during an active shooter event. No one should be carrying a weapon into a hospital, a school or anywhere else, as far as I am concerned. All of the people in the building on Tuesday were put in harm’s way; the medical center should make it a priority to check for weapons at the door — the only logical response to a nation that puts gun rights over almost everything else.

Sharon Racusin

Norwich

Observed in Texas

I have just returned from a two-week assignment with the American Red Cross which included driving the New Hampshire Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) to Houston to aid in the recovery from Hurricane Harvey. After a three-day journey through 16 states, my fellow Red Cross volunteer, David Lessor, from Keene, and I arrived in Houston and joined a brigade of almost 100 ERVs. ERVs are primarily mobile feeding trucks, though they can be used for bulk distribution and care centers as well. We were assigned to a kitchen in Texas City near Galveston.

Over the next 10 days, Lessor and I served approximately 150 lunches and 150 dinners daily to two different communities destroyed by the hurricane. The food was expertly prepared by a small army of volunteers from the First Baptist Church of St. Louis, and 18 ERVs delivered over 5,500 meals each day to just this local area.

What did I see? Destruction and debris piled 12-15 feet high, homes being ripped down to the studs, family heirlooms, stuffed animals and photos lying next to ruined couches, beds and kitchen appliances — the devastation was unbelievable and heart-wrenching. On one street we serviced, three neighbors had died during the storm.

However, despite the magnitude of their losses and the work involved in rebuilding, I found Texans to be incredibly resilient, upbeat and extremely grateful for the outpouring of support that came from all around the country and the world. We were always greeted with a smile and thanked for our small contribution to their recovery.  It’s amazing how much a warm meal and a bottle of water can mean to someone who is tearing apart their family home to save it and how important it is to their physical and mental well-being. 

My fellow ERV drivers came from all around the U.S. There were church groups from Missouri and South Carolina who came en masse to help homeowners clean out their homes. It was an amazing example of what wonderful things Americans can do for each other when we pull together and rise above political divisiveness.

The experience was full of sadness, frustration, exhaustion and most importantly, compassion and warm humanity. I am very proud to have served on this team and encourage everyone to think about ways they can help our fellow Americans. The need is great, especially now.

Suzanne Young

Enfield