‘I was harassed’
I was told to write you this letter about my experience on Front Street in Lynden. I went for the Black Lives Matter event on Saturday. I was in tie-dye and had on a pink cap that said “LOVE” in sequins. I am a very small person about 5-3 and weigh about 115 pounds. I had a sign that read “USA Black Lives Matter,” red, white and blue with American flags on it. I went to Front Street by myself and got out of my car, walked to the sidewalk and was immediately harassed by the 100 citizens of Lynden who were there. I thought I would be able to safely hold my ground. I thought how dangerous could it be?
In the next two hours I was harassed verbally and physically by many in that crowd. They would crowd me on each side with their big flags. Every time I tried to move peacefully I would be followed by these huge American flags being held by mainly big white men and some women. The men first started following me with their flags and then the women as well. At the end of the two hours I was asking people to stay six feet away from me, as I am a nurse and even though I had a double mask on and eye wear I knew I was still exposed and was exposing others if I might be positive. At the end I finally was pushed into leaving. The crowd mobbed me with the flags and two older ladies got in my face from both sides and said, “We aren’t afraid of COVID; we already have it. Oh you don’t like us touching you? Look, I’m touching you and what are you going to do about it?” And then they started poking me physically and trying to breathe hard in my face to give me COVID. These were middle-class white humans in your town.
Wow, that was intense. What drives humans to think it’s okay to treat someone like this? This is a Christian thing to do in Lynden? I even had a man later say “Wow, I watched the whole thing. I should have stopped them.” But he didn’t.
I will be back next Saturday in your town especially now after your outstanding citizens have shown their true selves.
PS. I finally found the “right” parade, but I did go back to Front Street as I did not want to feel oppressed. I want you to know that I will be contacting the Health Department about your citizens that are coughing on people on purpose to give them COVID. This is biological weaponry and they know it. They knew exactly what they were doing — they said so. These were men and woman I could identify and they probably have me displayed in all of their Facebook pictures. I have quarantined myself now and am not at work.
— Charla Karrer, Bellingham
She inserted herself
I represent the 140 people rallying to support our freedom and flag on Saturday, June 27. We commend the two young BLM supporters who engaged with us in extended, polite dialogue. Unfortunately, one individual with a BLM sign repeatedly attempted to insert herself into the middle of the rally and use her sign to block the signs of those supporting the flag and police. We worry about how many coronavirus patients she has been exposed to as a nurse and are concerned regarding her reckless behavior in purposely seeking close quarters with those attending the peaceful rally.
We are not surprised by the bullying tactics of this individual. She has attempted to smear the city of Lynden and the many pro-freedom citizens who represent it. These tactics flow directly from the official BLM organization. Repeatedly around the country, those associated with BLM have resorted to bullying those who stand up for freedom and America’s exceptionalism. They have been involved in destroying public property including spraying “BLM” on Bellingham City Hall this past weekend and burning a flag on a destroyed George Washington statue. In a Washington DC Target store, they threatened anyone who called the police for protection yelling “we will continue to shut your business down.”
One of the demands of the 2016 BLM agenda is community-owned property achieved through a “radical redistribution of wealth.” This is Communism in essence. BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors states, “We are trained Marxists.” BLM leader Shaun King believes that statues and stained-glass depictions of Jesus must be destroyed. BLM creates division in our country rather than representing the black community.
We are proud of our country and its Founders. As they sacrificed their lives and fortunes, they created the environment and Constitution that ended slavery and made slaves equal under the law. We are proud of the 360,000 Union soldiers who gave their lives in the Civil War to end slavery. We are proud of the many civil rights advances made throughout our nation’s history and that America is the most desired destination for immigrants in history.
We believe that all lives, including all black lives, matter. We are saddened by the 8,000 African Americans murdered each year, many by fellow African Americans through gang violence. We remember the great black police officers who have given their lives in the line of duty, such as retired Captain David Dorn who lost his life protecting a friend’s business during the recent rioting. We think of the many African American businesses destroyed during the looting. We support our law enforcement in part because of the protection they provide vulnerable African American neighborhoods. We mourn the millions of unborn black babies lost to abortion. We wonder how many potential Martin Luther Kings, Barack Obamas and Clarence Thomases never had an opportunity at life. We earnestly hope that one day, abortion will be looked backed on by future generations as horribly as we now view slavery. Every life is precious.
— Gary Small, Lynden Pro-Police Support Group
Sharon Shewmake, our 42nd Legislative District representative, supports local jobs. After Intalco announced the closure of its Ferndale operation, Sharon met virtually with Intalco workers, labor representatives, ALCOA Corporation representatives, local leaders, congressional leaders and economists to figure out what can be done. This group has met twice, with plans to continue the outreach.
As our elected representative, Sharon is in a unique position to coordinate action. She is a professor of economics, urban economics and energy policy at Western Washington University.
We are fortunate to have Sharon working for us in Olympia. Her knowledge and experience with economics and science give her a powerful platform and voice. She has sponsored bills supporting a critical COVID-19 response — supporting Whatcom families with childcare, home heating, affordable housing and health care.
Your vote makes a difference, especially in our local elections which affect you, your family and your community, so please vote!
— Naomi Murphy, Ferndale
Curbing our rights
In the June 17 paper a letter referenced the children’s story “The Emperor Has No Clothes.” I’m now waiting for the child to call out that this is indeed all foolishness.
During his press conference on June 23, our governor invoked his First Amendment free-speech right to be without his mask, while moments later curbing ours by enforcing the wearing of masks.
I can now receive a misdemeanor charge for not abiding by this rule. Where are my rights? We need more people to stand up and speak out against the increase of government control.
— Debbie Johnson, Lynden
Redirect Sheriff’s money positively
I am concerned about how much of Whatcom County’s budget has been going to the Sheriff’s Department.
The Whatcom County budget priorities for the next two years are being decided now. Currently, 65 to 70% of the budget goes to the Sheriff’s Office. Let’s change this.
To keep our communities safe we can instead invest in living-wage jobs, housing for all, youth programs, health care, and other essential community services.
In February the County Council passed a Child and Family Action Plan, which aims to increase affordable housing, childcare and mental healthcare services for all Whatcom families. To actually move forward toward these goals, it needs funding or it is just words with no action.
Furthermore, funding could be better used by addressing homelessness and poverty in this county. Providing affordable housing, access to food, and healthcare services to those experiencing homelessness is essential!
Address childcare access. About 58% of children, or 4,464, in our county are potentially left without the option to attend licensed childcare when their family members go to work.
And finally, it would be an absolutely essential benefit if the budget covered just the airfare to bring the world’s leading domestic-violence experts to Whatcom County to train judges, commissioners, guardians ad-litem, law enforcement and court services personnel free of cost in how to handle domestic violence cases so that children and parents can then hopefully be safe within our communities.
The Sheriff’s Department is usurping way too much of the county’s budget and this must be fairly redistributed if we are to have a safer community.
People’s lives are important. No one should feel like their life does not matter.
Please place Whatcom County budget money into the value of human life as outlined and described, and you will see human lives improve, reductions in crime and overall creation of much safer communities. Thank you.
— Samantha Syrnich, Birch Bay
You may never have heard of Gael Tarleton, but she’s one of the best candidates on the ballot you’ll be receiving soon. Currently a Washington state representative who served as House Majority Floor Leader, she’s running to become our Secretary of State, the person who safeguards our elections.
Gael Tarleton is an ardent promoter of vote-by-mail. Note that the Republican incumbent has to date failed to defend our successful vote-by-mail system against the president’s attacks even at a time when it would be the safest option. Gael is also passionate about election security and has extensive experience in the private, academic and government sectors. She knows our voting systems are under threat and she knows the measures to take. And she is committed to actively expanding voter education and participation as the pillars of democracy they are.
Her endorsements, too many to list, include our own 42nd Legislative District Democrats, Rep. Sharon Shewmake and Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Washington Conservation Voters named her Legislator of the Year in 2018. The State Labor Council, National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington and many more support Gael. Check out her website at voteforgael.org.
If you want an experienced, energetic, articulate defender of our elections and our democracy and a strong believer in the importance of voter participation, Gael Tarleton is your candidate — for the primary and the general elections. She is certainly mine.
— Myra Ramos, Lummi Island
Supports Rule and Shewmake
Are you tired of state representatives who reject environmental protections, deny the reality of climate change, and would take away a woman’s right to choose?
In the upcoming election we have a chance to fix that. Elect Democratic challenger Alicia Rule as our representative for 42nd Legislative District Position 1 and reelect Sharon Shewmake for 42nd LD Position 2. Let’s send this dynamic duo to the state House to work on our behalf.
During her first term Sharon Shewmake has already made her mark as an outstanding representative, promoting bills to make childcare more affordable and supporting dairy farmers, transportation improvements and the creation of energy and resource efficiencies that protect our climate while saving taxpayer dollars.
As an experienced Blaine City Councilwoman, Democrat Alicia Rule prioritizes affordable housing and homelessness, the creation of new living-wage jobs in our changing economy, a healthy environment and protecting a woman’s right to choose.
Both women are mothers to young children and understand the issues facing families in our community. As our representatives they will wonderfully complement each other, Sharon as an economist and Alicia as a small business owner, social worker and therapist. They can be counted on to work in a bipartisan way to represent all Washington citizens.
When my ballot arrives, I will be voting for these two excellent candidates and I urge you to do so as well.
— Meredith Moench, Lummi Island
Rumors and half-truths on pandemic
I have tried to do my part in dispelling rumors and half-truths surrounding the pandemic. Friends have continually sent me bogus stories on Facebook and I looked each one up only to find some stories were as old as two decades and not true at all. I know this because I use Snope.com to check these stories out.
Last night a friend posted something from a Canadian author named Heidi St. John. The article was, in my view, her opinion. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Toward the end of the post she alluded to the fact that COVID-19 wasn’t real. I read comments that followed. People were saying things like the reason for wearing masks is bogus and “I used to make masks, but now I know it’s not helping.”
No wonder we are spiked in the statistics when authors who are revered give such impressions. Can you possibly educate readers on the differences between opinion and facts? Leaders are working their butts off to get people to comply! People are picking up opinions and running with them like they were gospel truth. No-one seems to want to do research to validate what they are reading and hearing.
— Marcia Dishong, Lynden
Be a world leader by wearing a mask
COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc on our community, country and world. You may be tired of hearing about it, but the truth is that this virus is not finished with us. With millions of people sick and thousands dying every day across the globe, we cannot deny there is a pandemic. Yet walking around our community, you could be fooled into thinking otherwise.
Yes, I know, the restrictions are getting old. We miss traveling, socializing as we please, concerts, parades. “The economy,” we say, “is suffering.” It is! We are all affected. Jobs have been lost, work hours cut. Kids did not finish the school year and may be behind academically. We have all had our lives disrupted to varying degrees. You are probably nodding along as you read this — there is nothing new here.
So why aren’t you wearing your mask yet? It is a simple thing that makes such a big difference. The Mayo clinic, the CDC, the local health departments, universities and doctors, virtually everyone is of the consensus that cloth masks work to slow the spread of COVID. The more people wear masks around others, the more we will protect our community and the healthcare and frontline workers in the fight. Yes, it is inconvenient, and you might feel silly or self-conscious, but it is not that bad, and it works! The more we flatten the curve, the quicker we will get our lives, our country and our economy back to normal. That is what we all want.
We can be a world leader in this pandemic. Not a leader for the most cases, but an example that when we unite and all do our part, we can beat this!
— Genevieve Wolf, Lynden
She was trying to stir up trouble
I have pictures of this Black Lives Matter protestor trying to stir up trouble. No one harassed her and there are hundreds of witnesses. I tried to greet her and she said get away. I left her alone — as who wants to be bitched at? The Lynden Tribune reporter wanted an interview and she said no! She moved up and down the line freely and pushed into groups of people.
I was wearing the Saratoga hat and I spoke to two young men for about an hour. It was very cordial and we agreed on many points. Many people heard us talking and stayed and listened in. I asked if they were Christians and they said yes. They had driven up from Seattle. When they left, we shook hands as friends.
At the end a Black man showed up and had a picture of Bush with a quote. He said the quote was true — look it up. I told him I believed him and we got to talking and we have lived in many of the same places. Then this little woman didn’t like this and started screaming I stabbed her in the chest with my big American flag. I said you mean this little one on a stick? I had never gotten within six feet of her. Many people agreed. How could I do that when I had been talking to those young men the whole time? Well, she and the Black man got in the same car and left. I sure feel sorry for that poor fella.
As Winston Churchill said, a woman told him she would poison his soup and he said madam if I had to live with you I would eat it. I will post a photo of this BLM white girl. She wanted to get beat up so bad she couldn’t stand it. I knew 90% of the people there; please verify my story. It was a very fruitful day.
— Kerry Whitworth, Everson
Disappointed in the community
You don’t know me, but my name is Joycemarie Kie. I raised my children, Porcia, Craig and Chasey in Everson. My oldest graduated from Nooksack Valley High School in 2002. My twins graduated from Mount Baker High School in 2004. My exchange student graduated in 2000 and he was from Croatia.
Today (Monday), my daughter went into Lynden to pick up dinner for her family, her three children and her husband. They live in Sumas. A truck full of young white boys yelled at my daughter, with her three babies in the car, “learn how to drive, n-----!”
At this point I am so angry and disappointed in the community my daughter was raised in. I was thinking it was so safe to raise children in Nooksack, Blaine, Mount Baker, Acme, Van Zandt. There has to be a change coming — because she is raising her children in the same place that I chose to raise them. We thought it was a safe environment. But this is not true. Lynden is supposed to be a safe community where descendants of the Dutch community moved here to make a better life for their families, like I did for my family. Yet even in Lynden, it is not far from Minneapolis, Seattle and everywhere around the world that Black Lives Matter.
Could these young boys have acted differently? No, they have gone low. So I choose to go high for my daughter, grandchildren and son-in-law. My only wish is that she wrote down the license plate so she could track down their names and then could go to each of their homes and ask what kind of children they are raising. Because in my life I do not see color, I see other human beings who should be treated with respect.
The true colors of Lynden are becoming clear to me, how they feel about my daughter and her family here in Whatcom County, that they acted to call her a nigger and question how they are raising her children. This has to be addressed and not swept under the streets of Lynden WA.
— Joycemarie Kie, Seattle, formerly of Whatcom County
‘I was there’ version
I see on Facebook there is a lot of controversy regarding the rally held Saturday in Lynden and the letter to you by Charla Karrer. It amazes me how there seems to be two completely opposite views to what happened.
I was there and Charla actually came and stood right next to me. She said, “I am going to stand here because I am being harassed over there” and nodded in the other direction. Then she said, “You’re not going to start harassing me too, are you?” What an ignorant question to pose to someone! As the cars drove by and were honking, she said, “Look at that! They are so dumb stupid. They see an American flag and immediately honk and they don’t even know what they are honking at!” Was she trying to initiate some sort of controversy? (If so, it didn’t work).
Soon two young men came and joined her. She said, “Thank God you are here! I am all alone in this crowd and need your support”!
She was not harassed. She was looking for a story, one she could embellish to make Lynden look bad. I could say she harassed me as well, by putting her sign up in front of my flags. She knowingly came to a rally she did not support, and she says she will be back, although she is a nurse and is trying to stay safe from COVID-19.
Too many things in her story do not add up. The rally was peaceful and non-threatening and an opportunity to show respect and support of law enforcement and our God-given American rights. The BLM rally was being held on the other side of town, but she made a choice to encroach on a rally she didn’t support.
— Linda Beld, Lynden
Retain three who were appointed
Our primary ballots will arrive soon, and every race is really important. Some voters may not be familiar with the judicial candidates. Three of them were appointed by Gov. Inslee to fill vacant positions in 2020 — Raquel Montoya-Lewis and G. Helen Whitener to the Washington State Supreme Court and David Freeman to Whatcom County Superior Court. All three must now stand for retention in the upcoming elections, and all three should be retained.
Judicial appointments by the governor are made after a thorough vetting process that includes evaluations from sitting judges, community leaders and state, county and minority bar associations. The governor’s general counsel reviews every application and conducts an initial round of interviews. Finalists are personally interviewed by the governor. As his website states, “the selection of experienced, independent and well-qualified lawyers to join the bench is vital to maintaining not only an efficient judicial system but also a healthy democracy and vital economy.”
We voters can have confidence that these three judges have been evaluated for their education and training, work history, standing within the legal profession, and commitment to the fair and impartial administration of justice in Washington State. Retaining them in their current judicial positions serves the best interests of our community and our state.
— Judy Bush, Lummi Island