Last week, following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, Kenosha County Supervisors wrote a letter to Wisconsin Governor Evers demanding he secure from Donald Trump 2,000 National Guards to respond to the protests in Kenosha. Their letter referred to protesters as "terrorists," and did not mention the shooting of Jacob Blake as context for the unrest.
Dear Kenosha County Supervisors,
This note is in response to the letter you penned to Governor Evers, requesting additional national guard in the city of Kenosha.
Initially I was outraged at the content of your letter, which I believe showed an egregious lack of sensitivity and awareness of the situation encompassing Kenosha, Wisconsin. After a period of calm, it became apparent that a response to your letter was critical for the public.
This then, is a response, specifically penned to the signers of the letter and not all twenty-three, all white (one Latinx) county supervisors in Districts 2, 8, 12, 15, 17, 21, 22, and 23.
Your letter has done almost irreparable damage to your reputations as officials in the county where you are responsible for representing every resident. Your gross mischaracterization of incidents occurring on the night of August 24th, the derelict assumptions and stereotypes you blatantly painted, and the obvious political one-sidedness of your conclusions are all without cognitive reflection or moral depth. In short, your letter sounded like it was penned by white nationalists believing in white supremacy, rather than measured politicians seeking to build beloved community.
Your letter praised Donald Trump, called every person out on the night of August 24th, "rioters", "looters" and "terrorists", and claimed there was an "organized approach through social media...to destroy Kenosha." After immeasurably destroying any path towards conciliation, redress and collaborating to move forward, you simply decided to create an "us" versus "them" line of demarcation.
After all of that, you boldly asked for low interest SBA loans and FEMA funds to "rebuild local businesses hurt by the domestic terrorists."
Your letter is so presumptuous and narrow, it completely negates the nature of what is before you. You did not mention the shooting of Jacob Blake, shot seven times at point blank range in the back, and this, in full view of his children. You did not say anything about, or to the Blake family in relationship to their pain and the obvious distress they all felt in seeing their loved one shot down. You did not offer a shred of hope towards a day when racism, racist institutions will be replaced by all people with good will and appreciation and respect for cultural, ethnic and racial differences. Your letter said nothing about the history of racism in America, in Wisconsin in neighboring Milwaukee...and in Kenosha itself. You opted out of developing an olive branch to come together in building a future. Instead, you played the victim, as if each of you, the county and the law enforcement agency you represent, did nothing wrong.
How shameful that adults like each of you, acted with an impetuous and anger-filled spirit to paint your picture of misinformation, hatred and stereotypes! In all seriousness, each of you should be removed from office for the misstatements in your letter. When people of goodwill gather to protest injustice in America, it is their right to do so. If others join in that protest with ulterior motives that includes looting, do not blame those who are engaging in their right to protest. They are not one and the same. You would have rather unleashed the armed National Guard on everyone, rather than working to strategize on meeting the concerns and demands of those who were protesting for change.
In short, who is to say that your public pronouncements railing against "so-called terrorists" is not in itself, a terrorist act which resulted in armed white militia and crazed Kyle Rittenhouse gathering in the streets of Kenosha?
I doubt you will read this email. It is long. Longer than a tweet. It is also filled with reflection, thoughtfulness, an examination of facts and a love for all humanity. None of this, seems to be traits possessed by any of you. If you do not learn how to communicate, dialogue and come to resolution with those whose opinions are different than yours, why are you in public office in the first place? Perhaps, you should call it day.
With Grave Concerns,
Rev. Dr. Michael Nabors President Evanston/North Shore NAACP