This is an open letter to the person who sent us an anonymous letter in the mail regarding our Black Lives Matter sign in our yard.

The letter said:

“Dear Neighbor,

Google David J Harris Jr. from June 8 at 7:45am. This African-American man makes a good point.

Your fellow neighbor.”

My response:

1. The video you direct me to is about how there are several Black people buying guns to protect themselves from protestors. The man states that Black Lives Matter is largely made up of ANTIFA members; the movement is anti-government, anti-community safety and anti-America. You assume that defunding the police means no more police officers. That is not the case. Defunding the police means reallocating funds to build up more social programs. The movement is calling for an open-minded approach to restructuring a broken system.

2. The video makes sweeping generalizations about an international movement. Black Lives Matter is about achieving racial equity. Whether that is through defunding the police, restructuring how we fund educational institutions, building more affordable housing in towns like Scarsdale, or a myriad of other efforts. Racism is ripe (whether conscious or subconscious) and our country has never gotten it right. I decry your suggestion that the movement is not justified.

3. In your letter, you make sure to point out that the man in the video is Black. The opinions of one (or several) Black people saying they don’t believe systemic racism exists do not overshadow the millions of Black people pleading for help.

4. You assume I am open to listening to a conspiracy theorist. Regardless of party alignment, I prefer to get my information from news sources.

5. The person in the video uses defensive and aggressive rhetoric. His posts are divisive, promote fear and revel at the misfortune of others. This is the opposite of what our country needs right now. We need to listen to those who are begging for help, not dismiss their cries as irritating misgivings.

We wholeheartedly support the Black Lives Matter movement. We will not be taking the sign down.

I am a privileged white person who disproportionately benefited from my upbringing. Systemic racism is real; just look around.

This movement is a wake-up call for everybody who lives in communities like ours. The wealth and power here must be used to drive actual change.

Please join me in publicly displaying a Black Lives Matter sign. Racists live among us and feel emboldened to send anonymous letters urging us to back down. We must do the opposite.

We spoke to the police regarding this letter and they understand that the sign is not an attack against them and are in no way adverse to us displaying it.

Let’s send a unified message that we stand with the Black community and we stand with Black Lives Matter.

ERICA SCHNEIDER

Walworth Avenue

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