Letter to the Editor

I am saddened by the insensitivity and ignorance that was expressed last week in Karen Suter’s letter to the editor. Yes, Hampton is a town with ethnic diversity that has brought changes and challenges, but change is good when embraced. 

     I am also dismayed that the Hampton Chronicle would make the conscious decision to publish a letter with such clear racist overtones which could easily damage professional, business, and personal relationships that many have been working so hard to develop. By comparison, the NBA quickly understood that perceived alignment with racism is bad business regardless of political persuasion, and the league went to great lengths to end that perception when the owner of a team was being a racist.

     This country has always been built around immigrants and diversity.  All of our ancestors came from another country and spoke a different language, unless you are Native American. Our forbearers worked hard at the jobs others didn’t want to do, paid their taxes, and did whatever they could to improve their lives and those of their children and grandchildren.  At the same time they never totally gave up their customs, traditions and language which made them who they were.  By doing so, they too were labeled as unwelcome or a detriment to the community.  This is no different than what our Hispanic neighbors experience today.

     I challenge the writer to visit Hampton-Dumont schools and witness what great things are happening there.  We have classrooms full of children of differing races sitting next to each other working hard and learning what is being taught. These students don’t even notice that they might look a little different from each other or their parents weren’t necessarily born and raised in Hampton or the United States.  We also have dedicated Hispanic para-educators who are a tremendous asset to the school district and its students, regardless of a student’s race or ethnicity. 

     The enrollment at Hampton-Dumont has increased over the past several years while school districts around us have had declining enrollment. Our Hispanic students have been very successful in the classroom and in athletics. Our talented and gifted program has seen an increase in Hispanic students. For the first time in eight years we had a Regional Spelling Bee champion and she was Hispanic! We have had Hispanic students participate in the state track meet and the Drake Relays, our boys’ soccer team won their first game this past week, and we had a wrestler in the state finals this past winter. The Homecoming Queen and Sweet Heart Swirl Queen were both Hispanic and were voted on by their peers. Our schools are thriving because of everyone living in this town.

     Every ill described in last week’s letter could just as readily describe non-Hispanic members of our community, but that would be less convenient to the writer’s apparent belief system.  It’s time that we realize this is who we are and this is who America really is today and has always been. Our children and grandchildren seem to have already figured this out.

 

     Kelly Meader

     1667 Quail Ave.

     Hampton