To the editor:
We are members of an extended family who share deep Roxboro roots even though most of us now live in other communities. We share a common bond of wanting what’s best for our country. We believe that treating all citizens with respect and dignity and seeking compromise is the way for our country to move forward.
We are heartbroken to hear the chant “Send her back” shouted against an American citizen of color, and a refugee. We grew up singing the words from the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” We were taught to welcome the stranger, to tell the truth and to respect one another. We love the founding documents of this nation that guarantee that our identity as Americans does not rest on our race, class, ethnicity or anything other than loyalty to our Constitution with its guarantees of freedom of speech, religion and association.
The taunt “Go back where you came from” has a long history of inflicting deep pain on minorities, so we call on our fellow Americans to see that it is not used again. Readers may be interested to know that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission On Anti-Discrimination Laws states: “Examples of potentially unlawful conduct include insults, taunts, or ethnic epithets, such as making fun of a person’s foreign accent or comments like ‘Go back to where you came from.’”
This election season will challenge us as never before. We are not only polarized, but we see un-factual reports daily, and now – distressingly! – “deep fake” videos, meaning we can not even trust our own eyes. Listening to one another in person and valuing one another has never been more essential.
We believe that racist and demeaning statements of all kinds must be called out and abandoned, and we encourage people of all political persuasions to work passionately together, with deep respect, to form that “more perfect union.”
Betty Brown Hale
Jane Burruss Clayton
Editor’s note: This letter was signed by 18 additional family members, all descendants of Earl E. and Annie Reade Long Bradsher.