It is my hope and prayer that in the midst of this season we are in that you are safe and well. As a lifelong native and resident of Chestertown having lived through the extremely challenging period of segregation to integration during the 1950s and 1960s, I feel an obligation to express my opinion concerning the two murals being requested.
First and foremost, if you are not a person of color with a history of experiencing covert racism, overt racism, systemic racism, the pain of prejudice, denial and abuse only because of your skin color, it is absolutely impossible for you to comprehend what these murals will mean to African Americans, and other people of color. This is not about destroying the beautiful landscape of our town which we all love. It is about solidarity bringing awareness to an issue that is so overdue that many have become so comfortable with it to the point that it is regarded as acceptable if not correct behavior.
Treating another human being or race as second class citizens or insignificant is beneath what our country is supposed to be about. African Americans as well as other people of color in my over sixty years of being a resident of this county and town have never asked for much. Only to be treated just and equal which is our right as citizens of this country, state, county and town. We are seeking the support of the citizens of our entire Chestertown Community regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, social status, etc. to allow a collective statement to be made that we stand in solidarity supporting the painting of these two murals in the requested two prominent locations in our town to signify that we have seen, understand the suffering and desire that it cease never to occur again to anyone.
One year is not an unreasonable request to unify as a community and have intergenerational dialogue that will educate county residents and visitors alike. One year is not much to ask to make certain that this is not a moment in time but a movement to bring about respect, justice and equality for all starting right here in Chestertown. I want to go on record saying that I wholeheartedly support the painting of the two murals in the locations and duration of time requested.
Rev. Robert N. Brown, Jr., Pastor
Bethel AME Church, Chestertown