Marpe: “Ethnic Ugliness Has No Place In Westport”

1st Selectman Jim Marpe issued this statement, in response to yesterday’s distribution of hate flyers in Westport:

Once again, Westport residents have found flyers with disturbing messages in their driveways, in this case with neo-Nazi and white supremacist content.

This latest incident comes almost 2 years to the day after disturbing flyers appeared in other parts of our town. I am concerned and angry that once again statements like this have found their way to Westport homes. As I said 2 years ago, this kind of ethnic ugliness has no place anywhere, and certainly not in Westport.

I have always been proud to speak of Westport as an open and welcoming community, and I continue to believe that the vast majority of Westporters practice that belief through tolerance, inclusion and everyday civil behavior. Unfortunately, the last few years and months have reminded us that our nation still needs to deal with some serious societal and behavioral issues, and we are again reminded that Westport is not necessarily immune.

One of the flyers that was tossed in Westport driveways yesterday.

Westport must not tolerate the threatening, bullying and hateful messages that are at the heart of these flyers. We must reinforce our commitment to civil discourse and to the tolerance for residents of all backgrounds. Regardless of the reasons behind these intolerant statements, we must create a political and social climate that rejects these kinds of statements out of hand and allows all opinions to be heard in an open and non-threatening manner.

Our police department is working with other area police departments to attempt to identify the source of these latest disturbing and inflammatory messages. The town is also working with the Connecticut region Anti-Defamation League to identify possible sources but also to seek ways to appropriately combat this type of threatening activity.

I will also ask TEAM Westport to again work with the Interfaith Clergy and other appropriate Town agencies and civic groups to lead our community’s response to these outrageous statements and, as importantly, how to deal with the behaviors and beliefs that underpin them.

Police Chief Foti Koskinas added:

Not only do we want to keep our community safe, but we strive to also give peace of mind.  When you combine the content of the flyer and the nature in which this was done, we recognize the concern and alarm it may cause.  We are working diligently to determine who is responsible, and look further into the motive.

 

6 responses to “Marpe: “Ethnic Ugliness Has No Place In Westport”

  1. Rob Simmelkjaer

    Amen!

  2. Thank you, Jim Marpe! Even though we have moved away from Westport, we still love my home town very much. Two years ago, I was the first to report a hateful flyer in our driveway, and Police Chief Dale Call responded right away. And then TEAM stepped up to run an excellent discussion at the Library about racism in the area. Please continue the important work in light of this latest flyer. Linda & Kendall Smith

  3. Police Chief Foti Koskinas has added a statement:

    “Not only do we want to keep our community safe, but we strive to also give peace of mind. When you combine the content of the flyer and the nature in which this was done, we recognize the concern and alarm it may cause. We are working diligently to determine who is responsible, and look further into the motive.”

  4. Jalna Jaeger

    After this happened in Norwalk the Love All project was started. You are invited to our next meeting, May 21 7:30 in the cafe at the old Perkin Elmer building, Main Ave Norwalk. The building is across from Wal Mart. It also houses soundview medical center, and LA fitness. All are welcome, as well as ideas about how to fight this kind of hatred in our community.

  5. Jeff Mitchell

    For reference, here is the same flyer in Spokane as well as a blog post about their response. Obviously this is not an “isolated instance”. The only way to know if this a coordinated effort or just a bunch of “rogue” copy-cats is to further research where else this is happening and determine if there is a connection: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/feb/23/white-nationalists-papered-areas-of-downtown-spoka/#/0
    View story at Medium.com

  6. Alex Kuhner

    We keep looking to leaders and officials when things like this happen, what are they going to do to protect us? They will continue doing their jobs with professionalism and integrity, protecting us from physical harm and hate crimes. But what can they do to protect us from ideas? Not much. Their statements are meaningful and necessary, but fighting ideas comes from us, in our homes, in our daily lives, in our actions, from the views we pass down to our children.