I am appalled at what I have read in the Juneau Empire regarding the recent assaults upon our Native people. It was also discouraging that the coverage seemed so casual, when an incident like this continues to adversely affect race relations in our state capital, continues to devastate the confidence and self-worth of our youth. There is an emerging racism in Juneau, and now is the time to flush it out. This is nothing we can be proud of; this divides and belittles us all; and this is the perfect opportunity for our civic and state leaders to address a very substantial and life-threatening issue.
Words can do nothing in a situation like this. There must be community awareness and empowerment. Every one of us needs to stop and ask ourselves what is important in the place we live, the place we raise our children. Then we need to decide that we will not allow our neighbor and brethren to be subject to such a sickening mistreatment.
This land contains the blood of our ancestors. We have put our sweat and tears into this soil since pre-historical times; and it is oppressive that this abuse is tolerated. This is a civilized state, and all of us should stand on equal ground. To not address and effectively eliminate this type of behavior bastardizes our ties to any sense of patriotism, civic responsibility, and equality.
We hear in our anthem "land of the free, and home of the brave," but these conditions are far from freedom, liberty, and justice for all. This racism is not muscle or righteousness and there is no place for it in my ancestor's land, in our state capital, or in the land that our brave warriors, past and present, have fought to defend.
Let us redefine who we are as a community, be proud of who we are and how we can stand together. Let those who hide in shadows know that it is not OK, that it is punishable by the harshest of consequences to commit hate crimes. Of this, I know we can do justice, and make proud our present, past, and future generations. I thank those who have helped take a stand, who have opened their hearts, and who have found the courage to fight for change. Gunalchéesh ldakat yeewhaan. Yee gu.aa yaxh x'wan.
Lance A. Twitchell
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