On Jan. 18 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day — a number of community members came together to host a vigil and celebration on the steps of the historic Putnam County Courthouse in Carmel, where it was held last year.
However, due to FBI reports of white supremacist organizations across the nation planning attacks on government buildings, and because white nationalist opposition and harassment of racial justice activists has occurred in Putnam County several times over the last year, the service was moved to the parking lot behind Drew United Methodist Church. It was a wonderful space and a great event, but what a sad commentary on our nation on a day that is supposed to celebrate all the progress we’ve made since MLK’s time.
Putnam County leaders must take decisive, public action to condemn the Capitol riots and the white supremacist groups that were behind them, and Putnam police and fire departments should enact policies barring employee activity in these organizations. We will not achieve MLK’s dream until we stop ignoring the white-supremacist violence that persists in our neighborhoods and our nation.
Eileen McDermott, Brewster
McDermott represents Putnam Pride. The letter was also signed by representatives of Putnam for Black Lives and Putnam Progressives.