COVID Roundup: Racism; Thespians; Oystercatchers; More

Jaclyn Jeffrey writes:

People often talk about a moment in time that marks their life… the before and after.

We have 3 children, all adopted from China. We have lived in this area all of their lives, and have experienced nothing but total acceptance. On Sunday I took 2 of my children to Sherwood Island. We love it there.

It was not very crowded. We sat down a bit more than 6 feet away from a woman with her husband and daughter. As we put the blanket down she started screaming that we needed to be 15 feet from her. Not wanting to deal with her, we moved farther away.

Once we sat down, I Googled. She was correct: That is the current rule for shoreline state parks.

An hour later a couple sat down near her, 6 feet away. She said nothing.

As we were leaving she turned to my children and yelled, “Why don’t you go back to China?” The hatred in her words was palpable. My heart stopped.

Like many around the world I am horrified by the treatment of minorities in this country. The events of the past few weeks are beyond comprehension. I am enraged and heartbroken at what our country has become.

For just a brief moment yesterday at Sherwood Island I was witness to pure, raw, hatred for another because they are not white. As a white woman, I know I am very privileged. This was the first time seeing this up close and personal. I see it on TV, read it in the paper, watch the stories on my various news feeds, but to be in the presence of this evil was something entirely different.

Yesterday, was my before and after.

A good day, spoiled. (Photo/Amy Schneider)

Staples graduate/Grammy, Tony and Oscar-winning songwriter Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hansen, La La Land, The Greatest Showmani) joins his musical partner Benj Pasek — and Tina Fey, Dolly Parton and more –at the first-ever Virtual International Thespian Festival

Set for June 22-26, the online event — originally scheduled to be performed in person — features college and scholarship auditions, the International Thespian Excellence Awards Showcase (“the Thespys”), performances, workshops and master classes.

Pasek and Paul will be interviewed by moderated by their James and the Giant Peach book writer Timothy Allen McDonald. There’s also a keynote address from The Lion King’s Alton Fitzgerald White, and a performance fromRuPaul’s Drag Race star Peppermint.

To register for the festival, click here(Hat tip: David Meth)

Justin Paul (Photo/Dan Woog)

Yesterday, “06880” reported on the hatching of an oystercatcher chick at Compo Beach.

Now there are 2.

Tina Green notes: “Westporters should still give the oystercatchers a wide berth while in the area. The adults and chicks will remain in the area until the young birds are old enough to fly.

“Piping plovers, a federally protected species, are also on their nest. They too should not be disturbed, to insure a positive outcome.”

(Photo/Tina Green)

The pandemic has not been easy for many independent contractors — including photographers.

Yet David Dellinger — a longtime contributor to “06880” — is thinking of others. During this tough time, in an effort to support Black Lives Matter — and encouraging others to contribute too — he’s donating 50% of proceeds from all June photos sessions to the @mnfreedomfund.

In addition, he’s giving 100% from all print sales to other verified organizations that support #blacklivesmatter. Contact

In 2018, David Dellinger photographed this Cockenoe Island wedding proposal.

And finally … in 1968, Phil Ochs was in the middle of a concert at Coleytown Junior High School. It was a fundraiser for the school’s Peace Corps project.

Someone handed him a note. He told the crowd that Lyndon Johnson just the nation he would not run for another term as president.

As 2020 looks increasingly like 1968, the underappreciated folksinger’s words are more meaningful than ever.

12 responses to “COVID Roundup: Racism; Thespians; Oystercatchers; More

  1. Lisa Newman

    Jaclyn, just sending you and your children love and support from me and my children. I am so sorry that happened. It is a sharp reminder that our community is not immune to hateful actions. Everyone must strive to do better.

  2. Monica Ryan

    Jaclyn, I am so saddened at what you and your kids experienced. I am just heartbroken. Who knows if that person was from Westport, or somewhere else… I guess that doesn’t matter. I wish I had been there. I would have stood up and confronted her racist and bigoted behavior towards you. We all need to stand up and say something when we witness that kind of abuse. My heart goes out to you and your family. You are not alone.

    • Michael Alpert

      Jaclyn, so sorry you had to deal with such hatred and ignorance. It is a reminder that stupid is everywhere and it’s only encouraged by our moronic President. Please know that there are many, and hopefully most, in this town that support you and have zero tolerance for racism or bigotry of any kind! As the philosopher Forrest Gump once said, “Stupid is as stupid does”.

  3. I may be one of a handful of people in Westport whose eyes lit up when you mentioned Phil Ochs. Didn’t know he sang in Westport although I wasn’t living here then. His songs “I Ain’t Marching any More”, “There But for Fortune”( Joan Baez and Peter Paul and Mary Recorded it) and “Changes” ( Ian and Sylvia) are three of his classics among over 200 songs written. Had a tragic ending to his life and never really got the break as happens with many in the the arts. Check out his songs. He was special

    • Susan Lloyd

      I was at that concert. The place erupted in cheers an applause when he made the announcement.( It was also a great concert)

  4. Frank Marrone

    Phil Ochs was everything Dylan was purported to be. A true american tragedy

  5. Bob Ippolito

    Prejudice is a terrible thing to experience, especially for young children. It exists but should never be tollerated. I have traveled extensively to China and many other countries and I can assure you that prejudice exists everywhere except other countries are more polite and hide it. It does not make it right but we are not any better or worse. The math that most Americans are here from an immigrant origin is inescapable. My solution is to just call it out to these ignorant people “in a polite way”

  6. Billy Evans

    Would somebody with proper knowledge of legal issues please enlighten me…..when the “scum” at Sherwood yelled to Jaclyn that she and her kids should go back to China, isn’t that bordering on a “hate crime/hate speech”
    if she had called police on that lowlife? The “woman” was with her husband too……..he’s as despicable as she evidently for condoning such vile things to be uttered from her mouth.

    • Elina Lublinsky

      I certainly don’t have any knowledge of legal issues, but I am afraid what took place there is just pure unadulterated hatred, prejudice and good old-fashioned “dimwittedness”. Either way, it reprehensible, but not prosecutable.

  7. Jaclyn, I’m so ashamed that such an ignorant person crossed your path & spewed her uneducated phobic hatred in front of and directed at your children. As a person of faith, I pray that this experience won’t be repeated for your family & that your precious children will soon forget this incident in an otherwise perfect day. And I pray for this rude woman, that in our increasingly secular society, she will somehow turn inward & reflect on the pain she caused, accept responsibility for her wrong behavior & find redemption. How awful your shattered peace must’ve been. 💙

  8. I am so exhausted by what is going on in the news.
    And then to read your story by Jaclyn just put me over the edge. Is the world going crazy?
    Or was this always the case in Westport and it was hidden?

  9. Jaclyn Jeffrey

    Hi all! Thank you so very much for your kind and thoughtful responses. The whole interaction at the beach took a mere few seconds but it was a life-altering few seconds to be sure. On a positive note, since posting this story here and on several Facebook pages, I have received 100s of messages echoing thoughts similar to yours. We are living through what is surely one of the most horrific times in our history but I do believe we will come out on the other side better for it…responses like yours and the others I have received are why I believe that. Weather permitting, we will be back at Sherwood this weekend, and every weekend after that… in the same spot:) Thank you again.