I would like to thank the Renton Reporter for the article on our recent MLK Jr. event and commend you for the series “Could Ferguson Happen Here?”
I also just finished reading the article by Police Chief Milosevich with great interest. I was glad to hear his replies and believe he is on the right track to making sure Renton is a place where something like Ferguson could never happen.
Frank and honest discussion in a public arena is necessary if we are to avoid misunderstandings that lead to mistrust and worse. The chief speaks frankly and we are fortunate to have a police force that adheres to high standards of conduct. Situations like Ferguson don’t just happen overnight. They are the result of years of rage simmering beneath the surface.
As Langston Hughes wrote in his poem “Harlem”:
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore —
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over —
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
I hope people see that your article, Chief Milosevich’s editorial, even our MLK Jr. event were only a beginning of what our city needs. What is needed is a continued public dialogue that is void of blaming and accusing but that attempts to evaluate our city’s racial climate in a way that is honest and constructive.
I hope the Reporter will continue to provide a forum where we are able to communicate across racial lines the issues that are facing Renton. These issues are not only black and white. They include Hispanics, Asians, immigrants and I’m sure many other racial, cultural, religious and social groups that feel marginalized, neglected, overlooked and at times dehumanized.
While the focus and the emphasis needed may change, the effort should always be the same, to make all people know that they are welcomed in Renton and will be treated with dignity and respect.
Mayor Denis Law has expressed a desire to hold a forum of some sort that will help to facilitate racial dialogue. Hopefully you will be at the table as well not only as an observer, but as a moderator of sort.
Thank you for your service to our community.
In His Service,
Pastor George Houston