To the editor:
We are writing as the organizers of the June 14 Ripon vigil for victims of racial violence.
We are distressed that readers of the RCP’s coverage of the event could get the impression that organizers or attenders of the vigil have anything against the Little White Schoolhouse and what it stands for, or pose a threat to it. We would like to set the record straight.
On social media, accusations against us included that we were importing demonstrators from out of town, that we were Antifa, and that we were going to harm the Little White Schoolhouse or the Veterans Memorial.
The truth is that this was billed and advertised as a Ripon vigil (more of a memorial than a demonstration), and as far as we know, just about everyone who came lives, works or grew up in Ripon.
The event demonstrated significant local support for Black Lives Matter and racial justice more broadly — no need to import folks from out of town! Furthermore, while we unhesitatingly oppose fascism in all its forms, we are not part of the Antifa movement, which in any case is more of an ideology than an organization, according to US law enforcement.
Our vigil likewise had nothing to do with — and was certainly not against! — veterans, although some showed up to participate in the vigil.
The Little White Schoolhouse is a museum highlighting the abolitionists who founded the Republican Party. They were taking a stand against racial injustice and violence against Black people, and that’s exactly what we were doing in Rotary Square. Come to think of it, perhaps the Little White Schoolhouse would have been the better place to hold our vigil!
We regret that we didn’t go talk to those who showed up to “defend” the site — we are truly curious what they thought we were about if they saw us as a threat to Ripon’s beloved historical landmark and the values for which it stands.
— Kat Griffith
955 Ransom St.
on behalf of organizers of last week Sunday’s vigil