Letter: Be clear in anti-racist actions, stand up against hate groups

Editor,

All around us, on island and off, white supremacy lurks. We have seen it reflected in how police officers treat Black, indigenous and people of color, or BIPOC, and the subsequent protests and outrage over this ongoing wrongful and unjust demonization and murder of BIPOC.

We have also seen it in the horrifying uptick in popularity around QAnon rhetoric and the refusal to wear masks during a global pandemic. Simultaneously, we choose to ignore how necessary it is to reflect on the more critical and collective-good aspects of our everyday choices.

At a time when we are all so vulnerable and desperately need to rise and to come together, we are especially reminded of the desperate ways in which the far-right clings to hate in their perpetual desire to keep us apart.

Dismantling systemic racism and becoming an anti-racist community remains at the forefront of many conversations on Whidbey.

As the vision of what this looks like comes into focus in new ways, community care and trust remain central to this work. Building and sustaining a community anchored in care and trust requires supporting all members. This means respecting social distancing guidelines by not gathering in large groups or refusing to wear face coverings, for example, because we know that these practices protect everyone in the community.

BIPOC and elderly folk are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. So think about the message that is sent when groups flagrantly disavow social distancing practices, because it is certainly not a message of inclusivity and protection.

To support the goals of anti-racism and community care, it is also crucial that we make it clear that white supremacy has no place here (or anywhere) by standing up against racist and alt-right activities of all forms.

Covert activity such as stickers placed subtly throughout Clinton, Langley and Freeland promoting white nationalist groups or coded language and overt offenses like mass gatherings are all harmful.

Let us be clear in our anti-racist actions by standing up against assemblies of known hate groups, by continuing to follow social distancing guidelines, by demanding accountability from those in our community who hold positions of power (e.g. business owners and elected officials), and so much more.

Most importantly, we need to commit to ongoing self- and community-reflection — paying attention to the effects of words and actions alike — by listening, learning, revising, speaking up and, most of all, caring.

Grace Diliberto and

Aubrie Keegan

Freeland

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