Letters to the Editor

Incident shows we have a way to go | Letter to the Editor

We moved to this island in the hope of providing our children better educational opportunities.  We moved here with eyes wide open, knowing there is not much racial diversity, believing we would find a place for our multi-racial family to fit in. For the most part, this has been true.  However, when I read about an African American postal worker reportedly being harassed by police simply because he was parked in a public parking lot and people responded saying “I just can’t believe this could happen here,” I wanted to scream “Wake up people!”

We do not live in a post-racial society, even on our little island. As the white mother of four children of color, we have had conversations with principals of all three of the schools regarding concerns about racism our children have experienced in the classroom.

In most cases, the conversations led to positive outcomes. However, after reading a story like this, I think of my children and that one day my sons will be grown black men who will face the same fears that caused the police to be called because a black man was sitting in his car. These are my children, children many of you know, and if we can’t effectively address matters of race on this little island now, how can we hope to address them in the larger country ever?

It is time we wake up! Vashon is becoming more racially diverse, and it is incumbent upon us to get ahead of the conversation by embracing racial diversity, having honest conversations about it and acknowledging our biases and privilege. If we don’t embrace change and hide our heads in the sand, we allow history to repeat itself: “Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”

— Jill Dziko

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