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Voices / Letters from readers

Denouncing white supremacy and staying the course

In the last month, Brattleboro has been subject to violent hate speech against Jews in a sidewalk chalking and recruitment posters for the white supremacist organization Atomwaffen. As we denounce these racist acts of violence, we remain committed to our vision for racial justice and to our vision of liberation. We remain committed to our programming at The Root that uplifts our families of color, that supports our youth and that celebrates the beauty, resiliency and joyful resistance of our movements for justice. We remain committed to creating sanctuary and safe places for those targeted by these hateful and racist acts.

We at The Root are led by People of Color and by Jews. We know that these incidences are not new, that we have suffered similar words in passing on the street, in schools, restaurants and public spaces. But we also know that part of the ugliness of racism and white supremacy are that those words are not always believed to be true unless they are witnessed first hand, that they can be easily dismissed. In this moment, it feels impossible to dismiss the gravity of racism, anti-Semitism and hate.

If this is an eye-opening moment for you, please consider using your anger, your sadness, your shock to support racial justice work already being done in our community, or to learn more about racial justice organizing. If you are already engaged in social justice work, in the work of building relationships and strengthening community, then thank you for your work and we hope you too will stay true to your vision. We cannot let these racist acts throw us from our course. But we can use the collective outrage to fuel the fires that keep us going day in and day out.

We have balanced urgency with intention in crafting a response statement. And in so doing we want to be transparent that this statement was written by Alex Fischer, one of two white folks in leadership at The Root Social Justice Center. Urgency — a byproduct of white supremacist culture — played a part in a white person being able to process the trauma of racialized violence, sit down and string together these thoughts the day after learning about the flyers. Intention — a value and principle in long-term organizing — allowed us to unquestionably adhere to our collective process of having majority People of Color voices weigh-in to public statements, even if it meant taking our time. In our work towards racial justice, it is not only what we do, but also how we do it.

These are the times when we need each other the most. When we need to stay firmly rooted in our values.

Alex Fischer

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Editor’s note: Our terms of service require you to use your real names. We will remove anonymous or pseudonymous comments that come to our attention. We rely on our readers’ personal integrity to stand behind what they say; please do not write anything to someone that you wouldn’t say to his or her face without your needing to wear a ski mask while saying it. Thanks for doing your part to make your responses forceful, thoughtful, provocative, and civil. We also consider your comments for the letters column in the print newspaper.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #471 (Wednesday, August 8, 2018). This story appeared on page D3.

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