This is tragic. I'm livid.
Disclaimer: This is my blog, and I'm not beholden to some higher, external standard of content, so the stuff you don't want to see is landing right here, baby. Buckle up or click off.
Recently, the US has become far more aware of, and called to action on racial inequality than we've seen in decades. While progress has been made on local and regional levels (do not count on this current administration to lift a finger for human lives), it is met with resistance at every step. This is the entrenched nature of white supremacy, and within my (Amy) life, it has met resistance in the town I live in. I was born in this town, I grew up here, and besides college, graduate school, and post-university roommate-style living in the city next door, this town is my home.
I am from a town that is predominantly suburban, a little rural on one end, and white. Aerial Google photos just show a sun glare over the whole area as all the whiteness reflects back at the camera. This town is Bethlehem, New York. It resembles the fictional Pleasantville, in its gilded and shiny veneer, but the ugliness and racism that exists here is its true, insidious nature. This is true about many towns like it across the country, although it seems the farther out into rural America one travels, the more the townspeople themselves are likely to try and tell you otherwise. *That's a great discussion for another day.*
One immediate issue within Bethlehem pertains to a children's sport, and the governing body's stance on human rights and equality. In the past 2 months, requests have been made for a Black Lives Matter banner to be sponsored and hung at the town park where the Tri Village Little League plays. The initial request and an exorbitant amount of further requests have been ignored, shoved under the rug, argued about, and caused resignations from the board.
The TVLL organization's president has not just refused to allow this banner at the park, he has refused to even hold a vote within the governing board about having a Black Lives Matter banner sponsored and hung at the park. Several board members have resigned in protest of this man's move. Ultimately, this has made apparent a clear designation of who is for, and who is wholly against, equality and inclusivity within the town. In a local, public children's sports league, the responsibility lies on the organization to conduct every last detail of their work with the utmost inclusivity and equal treatment of everyone a part of it. Players, families, staff, fans, all of it, everything. It is also their responsibility to work to keep that behavior at that standard at all times, and take action when it is not adhered to.
Bottom line: TVLL is run by someone who is discomfited by and afraid to confront white supremacy and refuses to acknowledge it within their own organization. Myself and several other residents in Bethlehem have reached out to TVLL, and I leave here a screenshot of my communication with them. If not for anything else, a record. It may already have been deleted from their inbox, just as their Facebook page and social media has been deleted or closed down in the wake of this problem surfacing. Hiding does not serve any effective purpose, the tactic is infantile and counterproductive to our town's community of diverse human beings.
What's utterly disturbing about the context of this particular issue of racial inequity and white supremacism, is the fact that this is a children's ball game league we're talking about. A banner, with words on it, hanging at the park for a children's ball game. If preventing a banner proclaiming that Black Lives Matter is the hill these racists want to die on, then Bethlehem, your rigorous ignorance, cowardice and hate are on full display. Sit with that.
Black Lives Matter.
Thanks for reading, B-town...I know we can be better than this,