I am working on an important project for our community right now, and I’d like your help and support.

In light of recent and continuing hate-motivated graffiti in both Conifer and Bailey, Colo., over the past four years, specifically swastikas painted in red, I am asking for your support.

These swastikas have been painted on schools, school playground equipment, businesses, churches and also found on students’ lockers, in school bathrooms and on the front and back of students’ notebooks.

I believe that when a person or business remains silent in the face of hatred being messaged, that person or business becomes complicit in the hatred growing, becoming acceptable, normalized and taking root in our community.

With social media as platforms for raising awareness, as well as our media outlets, such as news channels and newspapers, I find it increasingly important to send a community-wide response, loud and clear, that we, in our mountain community, do not endorse this behavior of utilizing the swastika symbol to elicit fear, intimidation and hatred.

Discrimination, racism, targeting of one group, vandalism and other hate-based actions are found to be both unacceptable behavior and against the law here in our community.

We each bear responsibility to maintain our local reputation as a community, and do not want that reputation to be tarnished by a select few. We are a growing area and we want to continue to attract high-quality people to our mountain community, not scare off good people from coming here because they have seen us in the news with blatant signs of hatred and discrimination, without an outcry from our community for it to stop.

There are laws that have been set in precedent that state that language that incites hatred is illegal.

As a business owner and a community member, I have reached out to both Platte Canyon Area Chamber of Commerce and the Conifer Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as others, for a community-wide statement that states clearly our intention. Everyone I have spoken to in the past week, which includes many business owners, community members and leaders, and church leaders are willing to endorse this message and send a strong resolution to our community that this unacceptable behavior is not going to be tolerated and is not wanted here.

The message:

“We will not remain silent when this type of inexcusable and inappropriate behavior is shown. We have a code of ethics required of our business members. Free speech is important, in fact constitutional. We believe that freedom to show hatred by vandalizing or utilizing symbols of hatred and intimidation towards one group are not acceptable here, in our mountain community. We stand united against this form of hatred and will no longer remain silent.”

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