Let’s build a community of love

To the Editor:

My family recently moved to Stratford and have found it welcoming, kind and homey. We love the diversity and proximity to the cultural richness of New York City, New Haven and Bridgeport. Being a mixed-race multicultural family, we have also experienced racism and discrimination from businesses and residents alike.

This has been heightened by the daily media barrage painting immigrants as criminals and the public opinions of Stratford residents regarding the lives of our undocumented friends and neighbors. The dictionary definition of tolerance is “the ability to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.” Tolerance, however, is only a virtue if it is rooted in love.

I will not tolerate one ounce of hate, racism or veiled attacks on my family, my friends or anyone who is marginalized. I will speak up, and I implore you to do the same. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” Friends, that time is now.

We live in a society that was built on the backs of slaves. A society defined by systemic oppression and racism, where Hispanic women get paid 54 cents on the dollar compared to white men. Society criminalizes the poor and marginalized. Criminals (as defined by a rigged system) are sent to rot in poor conditions as a burden to the taxpayer and a paycheck to the greedy.

Tolerance in regards to diversity is defined as respect and acceptance of our world’s rich cultures, expressions and ways of being human.

Are we excited to learn from each other? Are we opening our hearts and our homes to those who have less than us? Are we opening our minds and our mouths to speak up for those who are being silenced? Or are we only looking out for number one?

Let’s step beyond tolerance and build our community with love. Let’s celebrate our rich cultural and racial diversity. Let’s meet, connect and support our neighbors. I look forward to getting to know the people of Stratford as we continue to grow and thrive here.

Corti Cooper

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