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Won’t tolerate racism in Adirondacks

To the editor:

A disturbingly ugly act has tarnished one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

The recent display of racism, hatred and intolerance in our regional community is deplorable and has no place in the Adirondack Park or anywhere in our world. When apprehended, the perpetrator, who acted under the cover and cowardice of darkness, should be punished to the greatest extent of the law.

We, the undersigned, unequivocally condemn any and all actions that discriminate against, threaten or embarrass a fellow human being based on race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability. We call on our fellow Adirondackers, and all New Yorkers, to join us in rejecting hateful behavior and promoting a culture and community of mutual respect for all.

Our Adirondack towns and villages were settled and took shape on the strength, determination and vision of people of diverse nationalities and color. We have built our communities together, celebrated great accomplishments together, fought disease, disasters and wars together.

At its heart, we know the Adirondacks are a welcoming place with welcoming people — opening our communities, businesses and spectacular recreational amenities to new residents and visitors from around the globe with open arms and kind words.

Four sickening words spray painted on a railroad bridge do not speak for, and will not define, our Adirondack communities.

At the same time, however, let this be an opportunity to learn, educate and do better. While those hateful words were quickly removed by a well-intentioned community member, we cannot let them fade from our consciousness. Instead, we must ask ourselves what more we can do to stop atrocities like this from ever happening again.

From our living rooms to our children’s classrooms, workplaces to athletic fields, community centers to online message boards, the time has come to recommit ourselves to doing more: more listening, more understanding, more mutual respect.

We cannot and will not tolerate any form of racism or discrimination in this spectacular place we call home. We believe in the Adirondack Diversity Initiative’s mission to educate our regional community on matters of race and inclusiveness, and we look forward to continuing to work with ADI and people throughout the park to remove racism and discrimination from our communities and ensure they remain safe, comfortable and desirable places to live and visit for all people at all times.

Betty Little, senator, 45th District

Billy Jones, assemblyman, 115th District

Dan Stec, assemblyman, 114th District

Elise Stefanik, congresswoman, 21st District

Robert Smullen, assemblyman, 118th District

Joseph Pete Wilson, supervisor, Town of Keene, Essex County

James Tedisco, senator, 49th District

Joseph Griffo, senator, 47th District, deputy minority leader

Ken Blankenbush, assemblyman, 117th District

Mark Walczyk, assemblyman, 116th District

Basil Seggos, commissioner, Department of Environmental Conservation

Craig Leggit, supervisor, town of Chester, Warren County

Matthew Simpson, president, Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages

Thomas Scozzafava, supervisor, town of Moriah, Essex County

Sam Hall, chairman, Washington County Board of Supervisors

John Spaeth, mayor, village of Northville, Fulton County

Micheal Cashman, supervisor, town of Plattsburgh, Clinton County

Shaun Gilliland, supervisor, town of Willsboro, Essex County

Joseph Giordano, supervisor, town of Ticonderoga, Essex County

Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board

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