Letter to the Editor: Racism is Alive and Well in Bedford

I recently read the Town’s statement against the violence and brutality during the murder of George Floyd. While I am sure the town leaders were sincere, I could not help but laugh at some of the statements.

For example, Town Manager Stanton states “Bedford is a warm and welcoming community that embraces diversity.” Oh, how I wish you could have heard what I have had reported coming out of some of the adults in town. When we had a crisis of housing people at the Bedford Plaza Hotel, I heard more than one comment about “those people”. We are not welcoming. As a resident of 17 years, I have been told since I am not a life long citizen of Bedford, I should just move if I have problems with our town.

Police Chief Bongiorno declares “The men and women of the Bedford Police Department seek to treat everyone we encounter in the course of our work–residents, business owners, visitors, those who call for help and those accused of breaking the law–as human beings first.” I am glad they are seeking that. I have had encounters with a few Bedford Police who were not that way. Once Bedford officer even bothered to stop and chastise my husband for not waving to him on a daily basis.

But I am watching and not hearing a thing about the unjust use of violence against protestors. Two college-aged people were ripped out of a car in Atlanta by police. Why are we not condemning this? Why are we watching the Columbus Police Department pepper spray people for yelling at a barricade? Where is the respect when we see the Boston Police holding a protestor down by her throat while punching her?

The Police must stand up and reject all of this violence. I want to hear the Bedford police are sickened by this.

And lastly the schools. I have respected Jon Sills during his tenure here in Bedford. I have not always agreed with him, but I have always respected him. Here, the claim is “The fact is, we cannot and should not be silent on these issues.” yet the schools are silent.  There have been racist, anti-LGBTQ attacks, swastikas, and anti-Semitism in our schools. Not all is being done by students. I hear “oh the black kids are doing the vapes” when I know who is vaping and it is a mix of races, but mostly our white students. These things have been happening since my kids started kindergarten. Even this year, Asian students were taunted as “Corona” and other Asian slurs.

I often feel Bedford tries to reach out for the big issues, but once they have an assembly, it goes away. One the swastikas are gone, there’s a  belief the hate is gone. But it’s not. And when we bring these issues forward, we’re told that it has been handled and we are silent on them even happening.

We must do better. Silence is violence.


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