Letter to the Mercury

I have received an amazing amount of positive feedback from the community as well as the fellowship about this letter, published in May 8 Manhattan Mercury, so I am copying the letter here:

The noose found on campus Friday (May 5) disturbs and upsets me, as a Unitarian Universalist minister and as a person. More importantly, the reaction to it feels insufficient and dismissive, especially since it follows recent incidents of anti-Semitic and racist signs posted. Responses that I have seen to the noose came from Jeff Morris, the vice president for communications and marketing. And the response felt like a communications and marketing response, claiming we don’t really know what it means and doesn’t represent K-State.

Please. We know what a noose means. The symbolism comes from the long and shameful history of lynching of black people by mobs. The noose is an assertion of white supremacy, a threat to people of color, and a commonly recognized means of intimidation.

While I don’t encourage overreaction, I do recognize this as a minor form of terrorism, an action deliberately devised to create fear.

Around the country, white supremacists are gaining in courage and numbers. Blatant racism has become more public, and needs a clear and uncompromising response.

We need to hear more. We need to hear that K-State will not tolerate racism. We need to hear that a major focus of the university is protection of its students and staff of color. We need to hear that the values of K-State and our community are decidedly anti-racist, and that racist sentiments whether expressed forthrightly or cowardly are never welcome here.

I, for one, and the congregation I serve, have no patience for such blatant racism in our community.

The Rev. Jonalu Johnstone

UU Fellowship Of Manhattan

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