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Because of article, we will be labeled racist

In 1997, my husband and I moved to North Carolina, where we remained for 21 years. Something that amazed us was how folks from other states simply assumed that because we were from New York, we lived in a large city, in an apartment-style building, because after all, isn’t all of New York state just like New York City? In fact, when I mentioned owning dairy cows, one person asked “How did you keep cows in your apartment?” Since we were from another area, we were referred to as “ding-batters,” “dit-dots” and that we were “from off.” But you know what? We smiled, went on and with respect shared who we were and how we had really lived here.

Now in 2020, having lived my whole life, except the 21 years in North Carolina, I have lived in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains, “born and bred” here as the old saying goes. I have always been proud of who I am, who my family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. are, and of where I live. Now after reading the article titled “In white Adirondacks, racism may be toughest hill to climb” in The Leader-Herald on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2020, someone may be assuming that I am a “racist” simply because I live in the Adirondacks.

This is the type of media rhetoric that creates resentment, anger, divisiveness and could ultimately lead to some sort of violence. Instead of name calling or making assumptions about the folks who live here, the Adirondack Diversity Initiative should truly get to know all of us instead of focusing on negatives. The individuals involved should be seeking positives and ways to encourage people of all ethnicities to want to move here to live in this beautiful area.

Considering the limited employment opportunities, other than seasonal tourism, the lack of youth-focused activities available and affordable housing, perhaps the initiative could work on some of these issues as a resolution.

In conclusion, I am not nor have I ever been racist, please check your “information” and don’t label us all in one category.

Thank you for listening.

JUDY VAN HEUSEN

Northville

Editor’s note: The racist attack against Adirondack Diversity Initiative Director Nicole Hylton-Patterson is being investigated by the state’s Hate Crimes Task Force. A railroad bridge along the route Hylton-Patterson jogged was spray-painted “Go Back to Africa.” She was so rattled by the graffiti, she moved elsewhere in the Adirondacks. The article speaks of the support she has received and the positive initiatives the organization is trying to accomplish.

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