Com­mu­nity stands to­gether against hate

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - OPINION -

To the Edi­tor: The cor­re­spon­dence be­low was writ­ten on Fe­bru­ary 17, 2016, by a life-long West Ch­ester res­i­dent, Ms. Alice Ham­mond, in re­sponse to a racist sign that was anony­mously posted in a Bor­ough park. At Alice’s re­quest, we met with her and Mr. James Jen­nings, Pres­i­dent of NAACP West Ch­ester Chap­ter, in early March to dis­cuss this act and how to re­spond be­yond the in­ves­ti­ga­tion un­der­way by the West Ch­ester Police Depart­ment. Mayor Comitta be­lieves Alice’s let­ter, be­low, ex­presses the out­rage and dis­may that is shared by her West Ch­ester neigh­bors. Our com­mu­nity stands to­gether against all forms of dis­crim­i­na­tion and hate. We are a strong, in­clu­sive, di­verse com­mu­nity. We thank Alice and ev­ery neigh­bor who speaks out against hate and pro­motes re­spect and equal­ity for ev­ery per­son.

——— Let­ter by Alice Ham­mond: “This can­not be kept silent. We are al­ways talk­ing about the won­der­ful, per­fect town, our great bor­ough, our His­toric West Ch­ester. Let’s talk about that and the fact that this is Fe­bru­ary, “Black His­tory Month,” a month where Amer­i­cans are sup­posed to cel­e­brate the con­tri­bu­tions that African Amer­i­cans have­made to help build this coun­try to be the Great Na­tion that we are today. Even though African Amer­i­cans are still con­tribut­ing today, we are only sup­posed to get one month? And yet, right here in our great town, our His­toric West Ch­ester, PA, within our parks, is a park named af­ter an African Amer­i­can man who con­trib­uted years of his life to his town and years of ded­i­ca­tion to our finest, the West Ch­ester Police force. He worked his way up to the top and be­came Chief of Police of West Ch­ester. He earned the re­spect of not only his peers, but all who came in con­tact with him. And now his legacy has been vi­o­lated ... “racism” is an ugly word!

A sign was placed in the John O. Greene Park this month, not sure when but does that mat­ter? This sign has not only vi­o­lated Chief John O. Greene’s legacy, but it has vi­o­lated all of the res­i­dents of West Ch­ester. This can­not be kept quiet. We can­not stand for this kind of be­hav­ior. We have to speak out loud to our great town and let all peo­ple know we are aware of this heinous sign, and we will not tol­er­ate this crim­i­nal poi­son. This is a se­ri­ous fed­eral of­fense and will be treated as such.”

——— As stated by Scott L. Bohn, Chief of the West Ch­ester Police Depart­ment, “The West Ch­ester Police Depart­ment and the peo­ple of West Ch­ester do not tol­er­ate hate crimes or dis­crim­i­na­tion of any kind. We will hold ac­count­able and will fully pros­e­cute any­one en­gaged in these types of acts. In Penn­syl­va­nia, a hate crime is an act mo­ti­vated by prej­u­dice or bias. I have the ut­most dis­dain for this be­hav­ior. In fact, dis­gust is what we felt when we saw it. Not only is it crim­i­nal but ig­no­rant and un­ac­cept­able that any­one would sink to the use of that lan­guage and sym­bol­ism. It’s even more shock­ing in this com­mu­nity. It stands against the prin­ci­ples we value and the val­ues of the man for whom the park was named.”

West Ch­ester Mayor

Carolyn Comitta

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