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Your Opinion: Cowardly acts of intimidation

by Gerry Tritz | January 12, 2022 at 3:50 a.m.

Susan Cook-Williams

Jefferson City

Dear Editor:

The recent graffiti of white supremacist propaganda in our town shook me. The cowards who took the time to stencil their words on the local underpass need to know that they are not welcome in our town. I believe their intent to instill fear and divisiveness in our community was a mistake. This is not who Jefferson City is or should be, and through the power of community, we will continue to work together to combat the fear and hatred spread through these cowardly acts of intimidation.

Our community has endured numerous hate incidents the last few years that leave specific members of our community feeling unsafe and alone in the fight for justice. It happens more than most of us realize, but only a few incidents have really garnered our entire town's attention. I have faith that these hate incidents don't represent the beliefs of the majority of our town, but it causes me great concern when we see them and don't collectively respond because of either apathy, misplaced generational guilt or ignorance on how to solve the underlying problem.

Unfortunately, when humans don't know how to solve a problem as ingrained into our society as racism, we tend to try to explain them away as isolated acts. I ask you though, how many isolated acts will finally make us stop denying that hate and racism exist in our beautiful town? Because denying it will not make it go away. In fact, hate typically escalates when left unchecked. We might be able to simply shake our heads in disbelief over "just graffiti" this time but what happens when the next time it's not "just graffiti?" I for one am not willing to just silently stand by and wait for worse to happen.

The tricky thing is neither you nor I can stand up to hate alone. We must do it as a community. So today, I stand before you as one single white woman, and ask, "Will you join me?" Please don't leave me hanging. We have work to do.

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