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Confronting Hate: A Look into Wilton, Hope for the Future

Lily Kepner

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A swastika on the yellow door of a middle school bathroom. A gun copied from Google images onto a Snapchat story. Broken window vandalization of the Hindu Mandir Temple on September 25th. Illegal poaching and skinning of two innocent bears. Who would have guessed these hateful actions would emerge from Wilton, Connecticut – home for the Warriors, and not this unprecedented hate?

Yet those hurtful deeds do belong to our school, our face, and our town.  The hamlet of support and friendship Wilton strives to be has become masked in the past two months with actions that preach supremacy and exclusion.

It’s not just us; nationally, hate proves to be a vantage point for people to suppress others to gain superiority for themselves. In the wake of the 2016 election, a sleeping giant of Hate, Exclusion and Entitlement has risen in the heart of our country, and threatens our once peaceful melting pot with an unsavory twist. The Charlottesville White Supremacist rally at the end of the summer, resulting in the death of one girl with opposing views, preached messages of White Supremacy. Long hidden societal faces, Neo Nazis and KKK members, rose once more, representing the downward spiral into proven unjust and catastrophic ideals.

America is angry. America is hurting. Decline in the job industry due to increased technology has stripped many working people of their livelihood. In the desperation to revert to the “good old days”, we have forgotten our neighbor; we have forgotten to care.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico, barely holding on after its second category five hurricane, waited for desperately needed help to come. Puerto Ricans waited seven days for a USNS Comfort hospital ship to arrive; more help stalled for four days with minimal supplies. With these delays came excuses: the White House stalling because of Puerto Rico’s location, “surrounded by Ocean”, (despite their leaping in 2010 to the relief effort of Hawaii’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake, with 48 boats and 10,000 sailors) and the accusatory statement, made by the president in his speech while visiting Puerto Ricans, saying that this devastation is a “huge blow to the budget”.

When did caring for our neighbors become forestalled by inconvenience?

Instead of ignoring these stains on our country, and in our town, we must confront them head on. Racism still exists and natural catastrophes still occur; we must face them with selfless compassion to form a unified, good world.

So, how do we combat these issues? How do we defeat this hate? Love. Just as hate is taking away, love is giving. I know this country and I know this town. We are more than our previous actions; we live in a place of equality, not exclusion. The best contribution you can make to combat this growing hate filled epidemic is to give. Start small: give a compliment or a smile to a friend in the hallway. Participate in town sponsored events that benefit the greater good: on Monday, October 16th, to kick off Wilton’s 5th annual Wilton Chamber of Commerce run Fall Restaurant Week, local restaurants are teaming up with Wilton Domestic Violence Task Force to combat Domestic Violence, by donating a proceeds of their profits to the organization, in “Wilton Cares Day”. The new WHS “Red Cross Club” led by President, Yashika Nana, is organizing a blood drive to support the Red Cross organization, on November 15th. This Friday all proceeds of Cookie Friday will go to help Puerto Rican Aid. By participating in these events, brightening someone’s day, or blazing your own trail to justice, we can finally start constructing the town of equality, love and unity we’ve pretended to be. And it starts with you.

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Confronting Hate: A Look into Wilton, Hope for the Future