Story and photo by Linda Ball
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Motivated by last week’s hate crime against the Endres family on Pigeon Point, 10 concerned neighbors got together tonight to talk about what they could do to make the family feel safe in their community.
On Tuesday night last week, someone left a racist, threatening note on the door of the Endres home. The disturbing message made it clear that the author did not appreciate her mixed-race children.
Rachel Glass, the precinct committee officer for the area, organized tonight’s meeting at a nearby coffee shop.
Also in attendance was Pavan Vangipuram with OneAmerica, a statewide non-profit organization formed after 9/11 that advocates for immigrants and refugees. The group agreed that there is a need for the community to show solidarity and support for Endres, while fostering an atmosphere in the neighborhood so something like this will never happen again.
The neighbors gathered all lived in either Pigeon Point or Puget Ridge, with the exception of Dave Gamrath, who lives in the Admiral area. Gamrath, who was born in West Seattle, said his wife is a “brown-skinned Muslim immigrant,” so he had personal concerns, as he has experienced hate speech targeted at his own family. It was his hope that this incident could be used as a larger springboard to rally the community to stop the hate.
Susan LeBow, who lives one-block from the victimized family, suspects the perpetrator may live in the area because they knew when there would be no one at home, so they could leave the note and not be seen. LeBow was very concerned about the family, and suggested a neighborhood potluck would be one way to begin the healing.
“The more we’re connected, the more we can support each other,” said Helaina Piper, who was at the meeting with her 16-year-old bi-racial son, Aji Piper. Helaina Piper said she was grateful for the people who are concerned, noting that her sons are good students and are very engaged in the community.
A recurring point of discussion was that the Trump campaign has incited the hateful rhetoric that seems to be free-flowing in society. (As reported last week, the hate note ended with “Go Trump.”) The group, which also included Lisa Kauffman, Stu Hennessey, Rob Becker, and Steve Richmond, plan to meet again in two weeks to decide how to move forward. Vangipuram hopes to get elected officials involved as well as distributing a pledge to combat hate and oppression.
Since this is still in the brainstorming phase, there’s no wider call for community action yet, but we will continue to follow up.