To the Editor:
I write in response to an incident which occurred at the Monument on Friday October 6. An Asian-American woman, Haiyan Hu, and her family were visiting the Monument and enjoying a beautiful fall day when she was approached by a man walking his dog. The man hurled several insults at her telling her to go back where she came from ostensibly due to COVID. Such behavior is unacceptable, abhorrent, and insulting to all of the Bennington community. Adding to this insulting behavior is the fact that Ms. Hu is a Vermont resident and a professor. Bennington has always welcomed visitors from all over the world. It is a very important part of our economy and adds to our vibrancy.
Unfortunately, we live in a time where the most hateful, hurtful actions are enabled at the highest levels of our government. We, as a community, can not condone these actions. We must call them out in the strongest terms. Such speech may be protected by the First Amendment, but the actions, the driving force behind them, are unconscionable. How is it that an individual can carry so much hatred and fear within and then let it loose without provocation? There is something very wrong in all of this. We are becoming a very divided, very angry, and very fearful nation at a time when our strengths and resolve are being tested everyday by the pandemic.
We must come together as a community. Our differences should not tear us apart. Hatred, fear, racism, xenophobia, and bigotry must not live here. We are stronger together.
Stuart A. Hurd, Town Manager