News

Oak Harbor pastor harassed by ‘KKK’

Pastor Fannie Dean inspects a broken window on her Oak Harbor Thrift Store, which is on Goldie Road. She believes racists who’ve been leaving notes and calling may be responsible. - Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times
Pastor Fannie Dean inspects a broken window on her Oak Harbor Thrift Store, which is on Goldie Road. She believes racists who’ve been leaving notes and calling may be responsible.
— image credit: Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times

A prominent Oak Harbor pastor has been targeted by hoodlums purporting to represent the Ku Klux Klan.

Fannie Dean, long-time pastor of Unity Fellowship, said the trouble started about a month ago at Oak Harbor Thrift. Dean runs the church’s thrift store, located on Goldie Road.

She has received hateful, racist calls. Someone broke a window. She started finding notes scrawled on paper and cardboard. The messages said things like “Get out” or “You gotta go” and they were signed “KKK.”

Dean found the most recent message Wednesday morning. It said simply: “I’m running the KKK.”

Dean said she’s not scared, but she’s sad this still happens in the community.

“They may be running the KKK, but I know the man in charge,” she said, referring to a higher power. “People are trying, but they can’t stop me. I’ve come too far to turn around now.”

Dealing with racism is nothing new for Dean, a well-known and outspoken African-American woman in Oak Harbor. She said racists came to her home and burned her family’s vehicle years ago. She sometimes feels disapproving stares as she moves about the community.

“The haters are still out there. You better believe it,” said Dean. Still, the well-loved pastor is anything but an angry person. She’s downright cheerful and enthusiastically speaks about her love of God.

Grace Schiffman, Dean’s close friend and a member of the church, said she believes Dean was targeted because of her prominence as an African-American woman. The pastor organizes the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. program. She and her church sponsored the Juneteenth celebration, which celebrates the freedom of black people from slavery. Dean and families from her current church are building Mission Ministries Outreach on Goldie Road.

“We are not going to let them stop us and they’re not going to prevent us from building the church,” Schiffman said.

While Dean isn’t frightened, Schiffman said some members of the church are concerned for her safety.

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown said deputies are investigating the case, but they have no leads. He said the actions fit the definition of a hate crime.

“This is something we take very seriously,” he said.

You can reach News-Times reporter Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynewstimes.com or call 675-6611.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Dec 17
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates