Cutting Out The Cancer
It is Breast Cancer Awareness month, but as Congresswoman Jahana Hayes reminds us, there are other cancers in this world against which we must be on guard.
“The only way we can cut the cancer of racism out of our communities is by calling it out when we see it and raising our collective voices to get rid of it,” she observed in an essay published October 13, just hours after she herself was victim of racist hate language during a virtual town hall with Newtown’s First Selectman and local residents.
Where once phoned-in bomb threats and actual bombings disrupted lives in schools and businesses, we are now subjected to the cowardly actions of trolls “Zoom bombing” virtual gatherings. In the case of the event of October 12, the repeated violations by not one, but several, uninvited Zoom crashers left participants “mortified, shocked, embarrassed” and hurting, the congresswoman shared. And so it should.
It is with grace, we are told by our first selectman, that Congresswoman Hayes gathered herself and continued on as one after another of the lowlifes were removed from the Zoom meeting.
What is as disturbing as the nasty language directed at our elected official, is not knowing in what shadows these people hide. Who are the people — or groups — so filled with hate? Zoom meetings can be attacked by anyone, anywhere, who finds access to a less secure gathering. Are Ms Hayes’ attackers from an online organization far flung, or is it someone in our own community? Could we have those among us in Newtown who spew racist comments toward a respected state legislator and then walk down the street, thinking they have thrown others off track with their deplorable behavior?
But Ms Hayes and those who were part of the October 12 virtual town hall are not pushed off track that easily. These ugly personalities with their ugly words are an impetus to action, for pushing back with fine words to make known that this kind of atrocious action is not tolerated.
“You never assume the issue is happening in the place you know and love until it is right in front of you.” Wise words shared with The Newtown Bee recently by Newtown native Ryan Patrick, cofounder of Ryan Patrick Design, dedicated to promoting social change.
In this place we know and love, we have too often assumed that racism does not exist in our borders. The attack on Ms Hayes and the thousands of others like her are here and now.
We are one hundred percent with First Selectman Dan Rosenthal in our anger at this affront, and if we are not supremely outraged by this small-minded expression of hate by spineless twerps (who would never dare say in public or to one’s face the things they spew online), we must hang our heads in shame.
Where did it come from? Why us? Questions posed by anyone diagnosed with cancer. We are charged to be surgeons of our souls. We will cut out the cancer of racism, anywhere it attempts to take root. We will raise our voices until hateful rhetoric is erased.
Be uncomfortable. Be outraged. Be Newtown strong.