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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, July 5, 2022
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Paradise Lost When Racism Injected Into Politics

Dear Source,
As an African-American and a victim of U.S. racism who has been involved in fighting racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., in the United States for 30 years, I felt compelled to contact the Southern Poverty Law Center about the racist incitement two senators have recently caused on our beautiful islands. The deafening silence of the governor, lieutenant governor and all of the 13 senators about comments related to the KKK is a complicit acceptance of racism and the demonizing of some white people on the islands.
Comments made by Senators Figueroa-Seville and Russell are quite reflective of racist comments made by members of the Church of the Creator, skinheads, the KKK, neo-Nazis, etc., in demonizing blacks, Jews, Catholics, homosexuals, etc. It is truly inappropriate for the governing body of the Virgin Islands not to denounce those comments as being divisive and destructive to the harmony of people of "different colors." As many people have pointed out, referring to the KKK has incited others to spray paint Mr. Larsen’s studio back door with "KKK" and "Go home." The silence of our elected officials about those senatorial remarks also supports and possibly encourages those actions.
It is imperative that our elected officials publicly denounce any racist, sexist, homophobic, ethnically biased, etc., remarks if the islands are to be united and healed of divisiveness. It is also imperative that our elected leaders publicly denounce and actively pursue the override of Act 6905 or publicly support the passage of Act 6905. Not to do either is to make our elected officials complicit in the passage of the bill and its impact, an "unconscionable raid (Act 6905) by politicians upon the present and future treasury of the Virgin Islands …." (See "The Right of the People to Alter the Government.") Further, not to speak out against or to publicly support it means that our elected officials lack the integrity to be honest! To be dishonest in small things indicates that one will be dishonest in large things, and vice versa. That does not bode well for making the U.S. Virgin Islands a paradise.
To paraphrase Martin Niemoller: In the U.S. Virgin Islands, they demonized the whites and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t white. Then they demonized women and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a woman. Then they demonized the Hispanics and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Hispanic. Then they demonized down-islanders and I didn’t speak up because I was an African-American. Then they demonize me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.
I would greatly appreciate anyone who has comments, positive or negative, about what has and is transpiring related to Act 6905 to contact Mr. Anthony Grigg of the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104, by email, or by calling 334-956-8435. As a member of the SPLC Leadership Council, I know it would be extremely helpful to have the organization receive as many opinions about what has been turned into a racial issue and possibly encouraging a hate crime rather than an issue related to inappropriate behavior of senators in the last-minute deal to give themselves raises, etc. There is no excuse for silence on the part of our elected officials, and their tacit complicity in unethical behavior turned into racist behavior!
Peace and love to all who respect and desire honesty and integrity!
Hap Clark
St. Croix

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Dear Source,
As an African-American and a victim of U.S. racism who has been involved in fighting racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., in the United States for 30 years, I felt compelled to contact the Southern Poverty Law Center about the racist incitement two senators have recently caused on our beautiful islands. The deafening silence of the governor, lieutenant governor and all of the 13 senators about comments related to the KKK is a complicit acceptance of racism and the demonizing of some white people on the islands.
Comments made by Senators Figueroa-Seville and Russell are quite reflective of racist comments made by members of the Church of the Creator, skinheads, the KKK, neo-Nazis, etc., in demonizing blacks, Jews, Catholics, homosexuals, etc. It is truly inappropriate for the governing body of the Virgin Islands not to denounce those comments as being divisive and destructive to the harmony of people of "different colors." As many people have pointed out, referring to the KKK has incited others to spray paint Mr. Larsen’s studio back door with "KKK" and "Go home." The silence of our elected officials about those senatorial remarks also supports and possibly encourages those actions.
It is imperative that our elected officials publicly denounce any racist, sexist, homophobic, ethnically biased, etc., remarks if the islands are to be united and healed of divisiveness. It is also imperative that our elected leaders publicly denounce and actively pursue the override of Act 6905 or publicly support the passage of Act 6905. Not to do either is to make our elected officials complicit in the passage of the bill and its impact, an "unconscionable raid (Act 6905) by politicians upon the present and future treasury of the Virgin Islands ...." (See "The Right of the People to Alter the Government.") Further, not to speak out against or to publicly support it means that our elected officials lack the integrity to be honest! To be dishonest in small things indicates that one will be dishonest in large things, and vice versa. That does not bode well for making the U.S. Virgin Islands a paradise.
To paraphrase Martin Niemoller: In the U.S. Virgin Islands, they demonized the whites and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t white. Then they demonized women and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a woman. Then they demonized the Hispanics and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Hispanic. Then they demonized down-islanders and I didn’t speak up because I was an African-American. Then they demonize me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.
I would greatly appreciate anyone who has comments, positive or negative, about what has and is transpiring related to Act 6905 to contact Mr. Anthony Grigg of the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104, by email, or by calling 334-956-8435. As a member of the SPLC Leadership Council, I know it would be extremely helpful to have the organization receive as many opinions about what has been turned into a racial issue and possibly encouraging a hate crime rather than an issue related to inappropriate behavior of senators in the last-minute deal to give themselves raises, etc. There is no excuse for silence on the part of our elected officials, and their tacit complicity in unethical behavior turned into racist behavior!
Peace and love to all who respect and desire honesty and integrity!
Hap Clark
St. Croix