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Hurtful language is unacceptable
On behalf of the Kitsap County Council for Human Rights, I am writing you today because we are deeply saddened by the recent incident at Kingston Village Green (“Vandalism at Village Green Park may warrant felony charge,” page 1, July Kingston Community News).
That land was acquired by the community, for the community, as a place to spend time with our families and enjoy the outdoors. To think one of us is responsible for its defacement breaks my heart. It’s a shame that someone’s idea of fun is to destroy the hard work of others and to use that kind offensive language shows a level of ignorance we cannot afford ignore.
What some people today seem to have forgotten is words have power. Nine out of 10 LGBT students hear the word “gay” used in a negative way and nearly 3 out of 4 report hearing their peers make homophobic remarks frequently in school. And the court of public opinion, focused on a celebrity chef’s recent trouble, proves racism is still alive and well. In this age of smart phones, tablets, texting and instant messaging, we seem to forget that with the power of words comes responsibility.
Words matter and, unfortunately, this type of severe language is used at an alarming rate. The words we choose to use define us as a person. My speech determines how someone else decides to interact with me, the opinion they have of me and how my actions are perceived. Once something is said, especially when this type of damaging language is used, it cannot be taken back, no matter how hard we wish that was the case. People forgive, but rarely forget. We need to remind ourselves and our youth that our words have a far reaching impact beyond the moment they are said.
It is to our community’s credit that volunteers immediately went about cleaning the graffiti and restoring this area to its rightful beauty. However, as a community we still need to band together to educate children and each other on the reasons why this language is unacceptable.
We hope that anyone with information about this crime is brave enough to come forward.
Co-chair Kitsap County Council for Human Rights