For unknown reasons, the Claverack Town Board is not taking the rise of white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups in our town and county seriously. White supremacist recruitment stickers first appeared in the town of Claverack in February 2021. The Columbia County Board of Supervisors and the towns of Chatham, Germantown, Ghent, Hillsdale, New Lebanon, and Taghkanic passed resolutions against hate speech and violence in these intervening months. But Claverack has not.
Claverack is a diverse community, with residents of different races, religions, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations and political affiliations. Many of us are part of groups that have been targets of racist, antisemitic, homophobic, and political attacks, creating a sense of fear and the perception that you are unsafe in your own community.
The irony is that on January 31, the Claverack town supervisor rejected the need for a resolution against hate speech, although he sponsored the county resolution, which passed unanimously. A newly elected council member said we should just move on. Where do we move on to—more attacks on synagogues, more hate speech against LGBTQ and Black and brown members of our community, more misogynist comments about women?
Why not join the unanimity of action with other towns in our county who have rejected hate speech and violence as a reflection of their values? Why not pass a resolution that has no burden of enforcement? I hope the board revisits this issue and takes a stand against hate. Words matter. Right matters. The town should stand up for our community.
The River is a nonpartisan news organization, and the opinions of columnists and editorial writers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the newsroom.