Letter: An open letter to the Department of Justice

Editor of the Reformer:

On Tuesday, May 2, I was attending the Brattleboro Select Board meeting as a citizen, and at that meeting, I believe board member David Schoales publicly violated my civil rights as an officially and legally recognized white man and Caucasian. I believe Schoales did this by trying to influence the town manager and other town government agents to discriminate against all other races other than African-Americans in advertising employment opportunities within the town of Brattleboro. I believe he committed this discrimination by publicly suggesting at the board meeting the town make "special efforts in outreach" to African-Americans in advertising any employment opportunities. These special efforts would discriminate against all other races, including me.

He also said that the town "had to hire a black policeman to show black children they could become policemen." Again, this was said in front of the town manager and other government agents at a public meeting and I believe will greatly influence their hiring to discriminate against non-blacks — non African-Americans, that is.

I did not object to what I believe is Schoales' racial discrimination because he made his remarks at almost 10 p.m., after almost four hours of meeting. I suffer from a speech phobia and a phobia of meetings and was doing everything I could do just to remain in the room. I had also participated actively in the meeting, something that left me on the verge of panic.

Finally, I had begun to argue with a transportation official with the state of Vermont because he had refused to answer me directly about how much the Putney Road widening project would impinge upon businesses and how many would end up going out of businesses due to the changes.

The chairwoman of the Brattleboro Select Board intervened, saying she didn't want an argument. I had expended all the courage I had. Therefore, I didn't challenge Schoales' statements.

Peter Nickerson,

Brattleboro, May 17


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