To the Editor,

I am writing to offer a few words pertaining to the riotous and fatal confrontation so many of us witnessed over the weekend in Charlottesville, VA.

I look around Chatham Township and I know that those actions and reactions are not our actions. Racism, bigotry, segregation, hatred and violence have no place here. They have no place in Chatham Township. They have no place in our United States of America.

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While I do not intend to speak for the individuals that sit side-by- side with me on our Township Committee, I do echo the sentiments of my many fellow residents who have taken the time to email me and stop me on the street: That is for our kids to understand, with no uncertainty, how we feel about these horrifying displays of confrontation; that we as Americans will never accept segregation, bigotry or racism, and to do so particularly as a call for “patriotism” is sickening and twisted and goes against all the we
stand for in America today; that our kids understand with no uncertainty that the hatred and violence we witnessed from Charlottesville, the insidious rationale of White Supremacists, Neo-Nazi’s, or The Klan will never be indicative of who we are.

As a Catholic Christian, from the very beginning I have been taught to turn the other cheek yet we know in our defense of, in fact in our demand for, equality and freedom, and opposition to racism and segregation, this is not always possible. And to do otherwise would be to turn our back on the history of our national struggle towards unity and racial equality.

So, while we cry for peace, while we pray for peace and set the example of peace, we know that there will be no peace while there exists the evil of racial division. And while we are called to turn the other cheek, so too are we called to defend our bedrock ideal of equality.

Here in Chatham Township we owe it to our children and our grandchildren to exemplify this, and to stand in vigilant opposition to those who seek to divide us and undermine our unity, our constant quest for equality, and our desire to remain a peaceful nation.

There is so much more that unifies us in our national journey than there is that divides us. We in Chatham Township stand together therefore, welcoming all races, religions, and origins into the fabric of the American tapestry.

Karen M. Swartz
Deputy Mayor