By Rick Sallinger

LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) – Police in Longmont are investigating what appears to be a racist hate letter sent to a Hispanic family who lives in the west side of town.

The single page letter begins, “You and your family should not be in this white neighborhood.”

capture Family Responds After Receiving What Appears To Be Racist Letter

(credit: CBS)

But the neighborhood is not racially defined like that.

Cmdr. Joel Post with the Longmont Police Department says they are trying to determine where the note came from.

“A citizen here in Longmont saying he received a piece of mail through the U.S. Postal Service that was he felt was harassing or demeaning,” Post said.

The letter continued, “You and your brown boys are not welcome. Go back where you came.”

It was postmarked from Denver. Post said they’re looking for fingerprints and DNA on the letter.

“We are working on that. There should be some forensic evidence on the mail that we have. So we are going to see if we can get some evidence off that and proceed with our investigation, Post said.

longmont threat 5pkg Family Responds After Receiving What Appears To Be Racist Letter

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger interviews Cmdr. Joel Post (credit: CBS)

The family that received the letter have children at a nearby school. Police are stepping up patrols as a precaution.

The letter concluded, “You’re in Trump’s country now.” It had a hashtag that refers to “make America great again.” But several signs in the neighborhood on lawns have a very different message — “No matter where you are from we’re glad you’re our neighbor.” They reach in several languages.

“When you find out that some people in the neighborhood have been targeted personally I think everyone was pretty insulted by that. Pretty shocked,” said neighbor Randy Robinson. “Longmont is a pretty diverse community there’s plenty of families that could have been targeted, so you wonder, why them?”

longmont threat 5p789kg Family Responds After Receiving What Appears To Be Racist Letter

(credit: CBS)

Robinson said many neighbors have been talking about the letter and are keeping vigilance high.

“These people, fundamentally, they’re cowards,” Robinson said. “But you know I think it’s a wakeup call people need to pay attention they need to be involved.”

Police say the hate letter appears to be a bias-motivated crime and harassment.

An online post from the mother is as follows:

“Today (we) received our first hate mail.

The police took it in as evidence, so luckily the boys will not stumble upon it. We do not want them to know about this letter, so please, DO NOT mention it to them. We recognize that posting this and asking for that is a little tricky, but we felt strongly that our community needs to be informed. This is a nationwide problem that has landed squarely on top of us.

We returned home to a letter unlike any we’ve received. It had no return address, was taped not licked, and was sent from Denver (not our great little city, though obviously it could have been driven there and mailed). We know that this does not represent the sentiment of most of the people here, but that doesn’t make this less awful. Or less scary. Or make us less angry and worried.

Whoever sent this clearly knows that we have three boys, and this, more than anything else, terrifies us. This was not a random letter. The author of this may not know us personally, but they know or have seen us enough to know our family. The envelope was handwritten, and included a smiley face.

To all who say that nothing has changed since Trump took office, I respectfully request that you read the hashtag at the close of this letter (and obviously the content). There is no denying that his hateful and fear-based rhetoric has far-reaching negative effects. He has given permission to those who hold racist views to voice their hatred. My family and I are certainly not the only ones to be on the receiving end of this, and there are countless others who have received far worse. But this is our home. And our neighborhood. And our country. And this is an unacceptable letter.

Here is my request. Be kind to each other. Treat others with even more compassion than ever before. Go out of your way to make friendly eye contact with strangers, with people who appear to be different than you (but who are truly, as fellow members of our human race, very much the same), and to quickly and firmly speak up against any hate based speech or act.

This is not the America I know. This is not the America my children will grow up in. And this is absolutely NOT how to “make America great again.”

Rise up. Stand up in defiance of the hatred and ignorance. Our message must be of inclusivity, acceptance, and love.

Our country’s future, I believe, depends on it.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

  1. Dave Marsh says:

    What “appears” to be a racist letter? Can’t we just go ahead and say that it *IS* a racist letter? Seems like we don’t need to be THAT fair to the author.

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