Anonymous letter tells Stittsville resident to take down Black Lives Matter lawn sign
The letter to Wendy Knight Agard contained a few terse sentences chastising her for the sign she had put up at the end of June.Author of the article:Joanne LauciusPublishing date:Sep 19, 2020 • Last Updated 42 minutes ago • 3 minute read
Wendy Knight Agard was perplexed and concerned when she received an anonymous letter in her mailbox on Thursday, asking her to remove her “divisive and racist” lawn sign.
The lawn sign, displaying an image of raised fists of varying skin colours, reads: Black Lives Matter. Together we rise.
The letter, with an envelope stamped and addressed by hand with Knight Agard’s Stittsville street address and postal code, contained a few terse sentences chastising her for the sign she had put up at the end of June.
“Dear Neighbour: You need to understand that Black Lives Matter is founded and funded by avowed anarchists. They are behind the rioting, looting, vandalism, arson, destruction, beatings and murder of peaceful law abiding citizens,” said the letter, which had been produced on a printer.
“Black Lives Matter is based on lies and misinformation. Do your research and get informed, the math and the data is clear. Please do not bring this lawlessness and violence to our community. Please take down your divisive and racist signs.”
The letter was signed “Your peaceful neighbours.”
It wasn’t an overt threat, but Knight Agard said she felt unsafe.
“We have lived here for 27 years, and it has never occurred to me to wonder who might come up to my house,” she said.
Erika Adams was away from her home in Stittsville when her own Black Lives Matter sign was vandalized.
An unknown person covered the words on the sign, gluing over it another piece that read “All Lives Matter,” a slogan that has come to be associated with a dismissive attitude.
The new message was visible for about a day and half, Adams said. Knowing she was not at home and would disagree with the new message, a neighbour removed the defaced sign.
Adams was chagrined to think people in her neighbourhood might believe the new message reflected her sentiments.
“I was grateful that someone went to the trouble. I didn’t want that message on my lawn. That’s not want I wanted to say.”
Adams has a doorbell security camera, but it did not reveal any information about who had changed her sign.
“I just feel really violated that someone came on my lawn,” she said.
Alison Best Danson, the founder and administrator of a Facebook page called Kanata/Stittsville Residents for Racial Justice, said she ordered about 200 Black Lives Matter signs in June. About 180 of them have been distributed, mostly to people in Kanata and Stittsville.
Best Danson has heard that two signs were vandalized and four were stolen. She said another Stittsville resident reported receiving the same anonymous letter as Knight Agard.
This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
Best Danson wonders what “math and data” — in the words of the letter — would suggest that racism is acceptable. She has dual Canada-U.S. citizenship and has lived in Canada for the past decade, but isn’t surprised to hear that these things happen in Ottawa.
She is, however, dismayed at the language used in the letter.
“Ottawa had an anti-racism protest downtown this summer, and it was completely peaceful.”
The thing that made the letter feel threatening was that no one had signed their name, Agard Knight said.
“They feel they can force their opinion on us and not sign their name. It’s lines on a letter without a conversation.”
Knight Agard said her husband took the letter to the Ottawa Police Service on Friday, in case there was an escalation of the incidents or a pattern of behaviour. She plans to install a surveillance camera. And the sign is still on her lawn.
“My sign is a peaceful thing. I’m just making a quiet statement on my own property. To state that I am instigating racism and divisiveness is appalling.”
Adams said she took down her sign recently because the wire stakes used to position it on the lawn had broken, but she plans to put it up again after hearing about the letters sent to other people with signs.
“This message is needed,” she said.
Source: Ottawa Citizen