Keeping Vigilant in the Face of Attacks

jasonupthegroveBy Jason Upthegrove, President of the Lima, Ohio NAACP On Valentine's Day 2008 I was sitting in the driveway of my home, as my wife grabbed the mail from the mailbox and handed it to me. When I opened them, there was a noose in one envelope and racist literature in another. It took many months, a lengthy investigation, and my testimony before a Federal Grand Jury, but finally this October a white supremacist named Daniel Jones from Portland, Oregon was indicted. At one point my 7-year-old daughter overheard me discussing this and innocently asked, "Daddy, what's a noose?" This caused me to reflect on the terrorism many of our fore parents endured so we could have the privilege to be a voice for the voiceless as advocates of the NAACP. In our not so distant past, nooses weren't being mailed to pose a threat, but were put around the necks of our people to hang them from tree limbs while deranged onlookers gladly observed. Freedom advocates were dragged from churches and theirs homes in front of their families to be murdered for speech we sometimes take for granted that hasn't always been so free. Therefore, I thought it important to now provide some context of why a small community in the Mid-West attracted such cowardly acts of racism and fear mongering.