Letters to the Editor – Week of August 14, 2019

Thank you from Kris DeGroot Keene

  I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who voted for me for Lynden City Council in the Aug. 6 primary election. This has been a phenomenal experience and I am so humbled and grateful to all of you, and grateful for such a wonderful experience.
  When I threw my hat into the ring, I did so with the knowledge that if God had this planned for me, it would come to pass. And if he did not, it would not. I have total peace with the outcome and would not trade this experience for anything. Life is all about having a story to tell and this is a great story to tell!
  I have so many people to thank: my husband Marcus for so many things including my amazing logo design; my mom Rose, my sister Lori and my nieces Emily and Olivia for being a constant source of love and laughter; my uncle Jack in Spokane with his daily texts of encouragement and wisdom; my brother Dave Ohligschlager for working so hard behind the scenes; my dear friend Tammy Yoder for being a constant source of ideas and encouragement; and all of my awesome friends here and across the country who cheered me on. I have been blessed with an amazing tribe and I am humbled by the love they show me on a daily basis.
  Thank you also to everyone who reached out with questions, to all of you who engaged me about current issues, and to all of you who answered my questions. I have learned so much about the people of this community and I am reminded each day about what an awesome place this is to live.
  I also stand strong on the message that while our City Council has done a great job getting us to this place, now more than ever we need new eyes and new voices to take us into the future as our community grows and changes each day. We have a lot of challenges ahead, and now is the time to expand the resource of knowledge as we look toward the future.
  I strongly encourage each of you who voted for me to turn your votes toward Darren Johnson. We are on the same page on a lot of issues and he will carry the mantle forward keeping Lynden a vibrant and strong community.
— Kris DeGroot Keene, Lynden

In response to the Confederate flag in Old Settlers Parade

  Celebrations of local heritage should not include callbacks to segregation and symbols of white nationalism. The 2019 Old Settlers Grand Parade in Ferndale culminated with the Confederate flag, as if to remind all the white faces present in the audience “remember: we make America.” The effect was nauseating. I feel ashamed for my hometown.
  Owners of the float commented on Facebook that they “had no idea” the Confederate flag was hanging off the back of their trailer. Others defended use of the flag as “harmless” and a symbol of “redneck rebellion.” The Old Settlers Association (OSA) was silent, noting on Facebook that they would not be commenting. Video of the Confederate flag-bedecked float remains posted on the OSA Facebook page.
  Regardless of intent, parading the Confederate flag down the streets of a predominantly white small town evokes hatred, exclusion and intolerance. It is decidedly not harmless. Modern use of the Confederate flag is intrinsically linked to white supremacy and opposition to the civil rights movement. The OSA’s failure to comment reflects at best their ignorance, at worst their complacency.
  Given the rise of global nationalism, now is not the time to take racist symbolism lightly. For the sake of the hometown I love, I hope the OSA will issue an apology and commit to ensuring such racist displays be excluded from Ferndale’s annual celebration of community and heritage.
— Jessican Roseman, Bellingham

Election vandalism

  I’m a longtime Lynden resident. During previous elections, I’ve had many yard signs stolen and vandalized. It’s unfortunate that there are individuals who think that’s acceptable.
  During the current primary election, our signs were cut in half and the vandal left us a note, ironically written on a McDonald’s bag. It said: “I saw your Bernie Sanders sign in your window and I thought it would only be fair if I had half of your other signs. Thanks, Trump 2020.”
  Come on, Lynden, we’re better than this!
— Maria Risener, Lynden