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Racist incidents in Snohomish spark response

SNOHOMISH — A string of racist acts in the city has prompted residents to take their group, Snohomish for Equity, public.
Members of the group attended the Aug. 21 City Council meeting in the company of four members of the NAACP Snohomish County chapter.
Snohomish for Equity leader Lisa Odom detailed concerning events and called on the council to pass a resolution denouncing the hateful acts.
Among those acts the group described: On June 12 a white man wearing a red T-shirt with a swastika on it stood at the corner of Second Street and Avenue D, reportedly yelling “heil Hitler.”
In early August, racist graffiti was found on the sidewalk on Rainier Street near Cedar Avenue. The next day, city workers came out and promptly ground away the message and repaired the sidewalk, said city engineer Yosh Monzaki.
Just a few days later, on Aug. 6, at least nine signs stating “It’s okay to be white” were posted around town. Members of Odom’s group along with others removed the signs and replaced them with “Love wins” and “All are welcome” posters.
Odom also said a photograph of Snohomish teens with a Confederate flag taken a year ago resurfaced this summer.
Mayor John Kartak apologized on behalf of the community and said when such incidents popped up they were “ugly” and “terrible” and to be denounced.
He invited council members to speak up if they were aware of the acts. Council President Jason Sanders said he had seen Confederate flags around town and was aware of racist comments. Councilwoman Linda Redmon recounted her children hearing “vulgar” and “shocking” names at school.
The council agreed to support a resolution promoting inclusivity in town, which the NAACP offered to collaborate on.
Odom and other concerned residents had been working with the Snohomish School District to combat racism for the past few years, but what she calls the “clear rise” of racism prompted her to publicize her efforts and enlist others.
In its first public meeting, the group will introduce newcomers to its mission, discuss the recent incidents and share concerns. They aim to coordinate events to increase awareness about racism and promote equity and inclusion.
Snohomish for Equity will meet Monday, Sept. 17, from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. in the public meeting room of the Snohomish Library at 311 Maple Ave.



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