To the editor:
Below is a statement released last night (Feb. 8, 2018) by the Edmonds Neighborhood Action Coalition (ENAC).
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On Feb. 4, two of our young community members were harassed and threatened because of the color of their skin. These teenagers, at work on a school photography project, were called the “n-word” and threatened with a baseball bat outside of Harvey’s Lounge. When the teenagers’ mother, Darnesha Weary, spoke with the establishment, she felt that she was treated dismissively.
As members of the Edmonds Neighborhood Action Coalition, we stand in solidarity with Darnesha Weary and her children. We condemn these acts of hate and intimidation based on racial bias and prejudice. We celebrate the diversity of our community and reject those who seek to divide us. We believe that Black Lives Matter, and we strive to make that statement true everywhere and always, beginning with our own hometown.
We understand that the incident is being investigated by both the Edmonds Police Department and the FBI as a potential hate crime. We urge both institutions to continue thorough investigations in the pursuit of justice for these teenagers and for our community as a whole.
We appreciate the remarks of Edmonds mayor and city council, as well as the forthcoming statements of support from other community groups and local commissions, including Edmonds Diversity Commission and the Snohomish County NAACP. It is never wrong to speak out against hate. In fact, it is imperative that we do so. When we are silent, we are complicit with the bullies, the racists and bigots. When we raise up our voices, we raise up our whole society.
However, we also ask our fellow community members and neighbors to go beyond a mere statement of support for Darnesha Weary and her teenage children. We ask that the reactive statements turn into proactive discussion and dialogue. We ask that proactive, educational conversations spur action and change. In just the last year, our community has seen swastika graffiti on public streets and racist slurs painted in our elementary schools. Black construction workers have been taunted with nooses on their job sites. We must be aware and intentional in combatting and rejecting racism — we must be aware and intentional in framing and building a society where all belong and are valued.
If the Weary family asks for help to assist in paying for their expenses related to this incident (for example, paying for therapy or counseling relating to PTSD, or security measures due to fear of retaliation), we will support that choice. As a group of neighborhood activists, we are committed to encouraging the community to show their support.
Edmonds Neighborhood Action Coalition (ENAC)
Feb. 8, 2018