Below is the text of a Letter to the Editor that I wrote and was published in the Carson City Nevada Appeal on July 11, 2020.
On Saturday, July 4, 2020, Independence Day, I was on the Nevada State Capitol Grounds in Carson City. This is where I was the target of a hostile verbal assault: “Get out of here! You don’t belong here! You’re not welcome here!”
This was an insult and a shock to me. I have lived and worked in Nevada for more than 35 years. My husband and I have raised our family here. Our children were born in St. Mary’s hospital in Reno. I have coached your kids’ soccer teams. I was president of the PTA. I volunteer for suicide prevention. I present public lectures about Kit Carson’s 1844 crossing of the Sierra Nevada. I work to protect Nevada’s ancient petroglyphs. I help clean up trash from illegal dumping on public lands. I volunteer as a tutor. I work to protect the Carson River watershed, the lifeline in northern Nevada that connects us all.
I DO belong here.
“You’re not welcome here!” Wow. Nobody has ever screamed directly in my face like that before. And the middle-aged woman who shouted at me (another middle-aged woman) was not alone. Thankfully, Carson City Sheriff’s deputies were on site to help protect me from physical aggression.
“Get out of here! You don’t belong here!”
No. I DO belong here.
What had I done to enrage this woman and her group of friends? I carried an American flag and a sign that read “Black Lives Matter”.
I will be back next Saturday with my flag and my sign. Please leave your hate at home.
POST SCRIPT- About an hour after I uploaded this letter to the Nevada Appeal website, Selena called me to tell me that the windshield on her car had been deliberately smashed in. She had parked her car on the street in front of her apartment in Reno, and she had left her “Black Lives Matter” signs in the back seat where they were visible. I refuse to “blame the victim” for the actions of some asshole. Her mistake was underestimating the level of hate in our society at this time.