Coming on the heels of the Blue Lives Matter protest in Twisp, I felt that the nature of the Black Lives Matter movement needed to be clarified.
The death of George Floyd, among many others, has stripped away the glossy facade of the American system and has exposed the ugliness of its truth: We do not live within a “broken” system, but instead live in a system designed to destroy Black communities and individuals. There is work we can all do within this system to dismantle it.
Generally, the Methow Valley is not a racially diverse community. For this reason, it is important that we be introspective regarding our own personal implicit biases, privilege and harbored stereotypes. For the most part, we are insulated from many of these larger racial issues, and we rarely are forced to confront them. As a result, we are obligated to challenge our own prejudices as well as be proactive about educating ourselves and those around us.
The fact that most of us will rarely encounter a Black person in our everyday routines here means we actually have to do more work, not less. It’s past time we engage in critical and conscious endeavors to dismantle the systems that have undoubtedly benefited us.
In addition to simply paying attention, this means diversifying our spaces to include Black, Indigenous and people of color voices and calling out our familiars (and ourselves) for ignorant speech or actions. It does not take action to perpetuate racism; it instead takes inaction.
We cannot let ourselves be outraged only after a catalyst injustice such as the death of George Floyd. Our efforts to build alliances cannot be conditional upon the death of a Black person but must instead be abiding.
Additionally, the Black Lives Matter movement is not inherently partisan: “It is not just about Black lives. It is about changing the way this country understands human dignity. It is about rehumanizing [people of color] as people, and all of us as people” — Malkia Cyril, 2016.
Greta Laesch, Mazama
Request from Edelweiss
Most mountain bikers know of the informal mountain bike trails above the Edelweiss subdivision. What they may not know is that the legal way to access these trails is by using public roads, either through Gunn Ranch, Cub Creek or USFS Road 100 off of Goat Creek Road (also known as East Fawn Creek Road), or by the longer USFS Road 200 off of Goat Creek Road.
In addition to bikers driving their cars, pickups, and small motor homes, Edelweiss private roads also see campers, hunters in season, hut traffic, and forest explorers just looking at some beautiful scenery.
Many of you have used East Fawn Creek Road, and we thank you for your consideration. Unfortunately our residents also have seen a steady increase of cars and trucks using the privately owned and maintained Edelweiss roads, particularly Highland Road and Homestead Road.
We all appreciate the need to get outdoors and know how great it can be. Unfortunately the extra traffic noticeably contributes to the deterioration of our private roads and the safety of our residents. The problems show up through increased rutting, potholes, washboards and dust. Residents spend about $50,000 every summer towards maintenance of our roads, and it is hard to keep up with maintenance because of the increased traffic from non-residents. Thank you for your consideration in helping us to maintain our local roads. Please use the available public roads.
John Kirner, Edelweiss Board of Directors
Please be kind
I’m worried about our community, our country, and it may sound dramatic, but I’m worried about the human species. Rather than pulling together to weather this time in history, it feels like we are coming apart at the seams.
Most of us are walking around right now feeling threatened, scared, tense and unsettled, some more so than others. This is undeniably a stressful, anxious time.
In times of stress, we are at greater risk of bad behavior. I’m a pretty nice person (ask my friends!) but when I’m stressed and anxious I get snappy, grumpy, critical, overly sensitive and reactive (ask my family!) This is happening a lot in our community right now, and we all need to turn our little inner dials from hot to cool.
I don’t care if your version of church is found in nature, in a hard day’s work, with family, or well … in church. I don’t care if you are rich and retired, or have to work your butt off every day to put food on the table. I don’t care if you’re behind the counter or in front of it, behind a mask, or refusing to wear one. I don’t care if you’re in the majority, the minority, the mainstream, paddling upstream, or already up the creek without a paddle. We share a fundamental need to feel accepted. We all need to feel a sense of belonging. And we all need to know we’re OK.
Here’s why that matters: We won’t make it through this unless we can help one another feel accepted, safe, and valued. We need to hold ourselves and one another accountable. But accountability is not the same thing as shaming. It’s been said that we all do better when we know better, but I also think we do better when we feel better.
So, please be kind. Please treat others the way you want to be treated. We’re all in this together.
Baylie Peplow Huyett, Twisp
First, congratulations and thank you to the Twisp Valley Grange for the July 8 virtual forum for District 2 County Commissioner candidates! One of the forum questions concerned racism and Commissioner Jim DeTro’s Facebook post during the Black Lives Matter protests. Jim posted an image and a disturbing statement on his personal account, which went viral in the county. It brought protests from thousands of citizens for its thoughtlessness and indifference to Black and brown people and the people who are protesting the racial injustice in this country. During the resulting turmoil over DeTro’s actions, Andy Hover said that Jim made a mistake. He has a history of similar insensitive posts and comments on Facebook — can we call them all mistakes?
At the forum, rather than holding Commissioner DeTro accountable for his actions, Hover said Facebook encourages such behavior. He also boldly stated the county does not have a problem with racial injustice and inequality. But the very fact that Commissioner DeTro felt comfortable making such a post suggests there are still issues of prejudice and racism in our county that need to be addressed. And I am disappointed that Commissioner Hover does not recognize this.
Candidate Katie Haven knows that racial inequality is real, exists here in our county, and must be acknowledged before it can be corrected. She has had experience working with racially diverse groups and creating unity of purpose in her former career with the merchant marine. Katie has been attending Okanogan County Commissioner meetings for several years now and has a vision for improving citizen participation in our government — so it can work for all of us. She offers a fresh perspective and a more realistic view of the inequalities in our county. She will listen and value everyone’s contributions and work for the good of the whole county. With the last 50 years of demographic changes, this is a welcome choice for us. Vote for Katie Haven for District 2 county commissioner and mail in your ballots before Aug. 4.
Karen Mulcahy, Winthrop