Racism is a human rights issue, not politics

In response to the Aug. 20 letter to the editor “End Racism, and BLM” from Denny Martin: I was saddened when I read your letter to the editor. I feel a response is necessary. Not as an attack, but in a way that appeals to the humanity you touted in your letter.

The state of Washington may have attained statehood well after the Emaciation Proclamation, but that does not give our state separation or innocence from racism. Just because we do not see plantations or slaves, does not mean racism is absent from Grays Harbor. I have witnessed racist acts toward others and have been met with opposition for supporting the Black Lives Matter cause.

Black Lives Matter is not a political statement, it is a human rights issue — the right for all American citizens to fair and equal treatment. The goal is to call attention to specific cases of racism, and I am glad that you are supportive of that. But the goal is also to investigate the racism that is ingrained into our society — racism that is so deeply rooted here that it can be hard to see. Racism is not just direct acts of violence. It is found in our schools, real estate lending policies and especially in our police forces. The only way to end racism is to address it in all areas and to reform or end the racist practices.

My hope for Grays Harbor is for everyone to feel welcome here. From listening to people of color in our community I have learned that many of them do not feel safe here. Many of them have experienced and continue to experience racist incidents. It is our responsibility as citizens of this county to hold accountable the people and institutions upholding racist beliefs.

Erin Jeffreys