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Thursday, July 22, 2010 01:02 am

The city’s blind eye

A rally against racism on the anniversary of the noose incidents

Springfield’s 2008 remembrance of the 1908 race riots attempted reconciliation toward the city’s legacy of racism and hate. Despite those efforts, 2009 revealed another chapter in this legacy. One year ago, the city of Springfield was witness to an overt act of racism when a city employee discovered nooses hanging in the workplace. Acts such as this are examples of ongoing discrimination, isolation and economic disparity with regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion and immigration status.

There was a call for a response from the city that required accountability from those who not only perpetrated such an act of hatred, but from those who have turned a blind eye to this and other incidents in the past. The city’s blind eye has created an environment that excuses acts of hatred. This complacency has made it easy for more acts of hatred to occur and has created more victims of such acts. The noose incidents are not the first acts of institutionalized hatred within city workplaces, but they must be the last among many that have gone unanswered.

The Coalition to Promote Human Dignity and Diversity (CPHDD) includes organizations and individuals who believe that all people are created equal and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

We believe the Springfield community should not maintain neutrality in the face of any assaults on human dignity.

We express our unity and commitment to equal justice for all.

We embrace the diversity within our city and community.

We encourage other citizens and leaders of this community to clearly speak out condemning all actions of hate and racism.

We call upon our elected and appointed officials to stand with people who suffer from acts of hatred; to make prompt, unequivocal responses denouncing the acts of hatred; and to take decisive actions to hold individuals accountable.

With this statement, we assert a new beginning to ensure that we lift up our voices when acts of hate and racism occur.

This statement will be read at a rally 4:45 p.m. Monday, July 26, at Howarth Plaza, Seventh and Monroe, next to Municipal Center West. The rally is sponsored by the Coalition to Promote Human Dignity and Diversity, co-chaired by Kenley Wade and Diane Lopez Hughes. CPHDD members will make statements regarding the purpose of the organization and the incident at CWLP, which the organization feels represents institutional and systemic bigotry and racism. 
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