Adventures, Parenting 202

Racism in Our Backyards

On April 17th, 2018 a wind storm blazed through Colorado, with winds reaching 50 to 90 miles per hour. The wind was so powerful it uprooted trees, knocked down light poles, caused roofs to come off, and trampolines to fly. When I drove through our neighborhood almost every one of my neighbors’ fences had come tumbling down, because of the gusts. When I got home that afternoon my kids were upset, there was a cop car parked in front of the house and my husband was visibly emotional. My first reaction was something serious had happened, so naturally, my heart sank. I ran up to the house and as I got closer I could hear the officer apologizing that he was unable to do anything, and we needed to wait until the wind died down. I waited impatiently for the officer to leave, once he did my husband took me to the backyard and showed me that our children’s trampoline had flown over into our neighbors’ yard. I was confused as to why we weren’t just waiting for the wind to die down and getting our property back. My husband, through obvious frustrations, explained that he had seen the wind lift the trampoline up into the air despite it being staked down, and tossed it onto our adjoining fence with the neighbors to the south of our home. Before my husband could reach the fence and the dangling trampoline our neighbor yanked the trampoline over the fence and into his yard. When my husband attempted to speak to him he got combative, so my husband called the police to mediate the conversation. A very simple conversation to return our children’s toy was turned into a debate on whether our trampoline had destroyed his flagpole. If we wanted our property back, we needed to either give him our renters/home insurance information or an agreement to pay for the repairs of his pole; which was going to be $1400.

Several weeks passed by, and through several unfavorable interactions with our neighbor, our trampoline still sat mangled and torn just feet away from its place in our yard. Looking out our windows seeing our property sitting in another yard has been hard for our children because they don’t understand why we can’t just have it back. We explained to them that some people harbor hateful feelings in their hearts, and because of that they do ugly things to others.

My husband posted an ad on an app called “Nextdoor” looking for a used trampoline or one that was for sale. He explained the situation and the support our family received has been nothing short of incredible. We were approached by a journalist for CBS Local News station asking to do a story on what’s happened. With great honor, we agreed to an interview with CBS Mark Neitro and Dominic Garcia. After interviewing my family they went next door to get the neighbors’ perspective. Every story has two sides and naturally, they deserve an opportunity to speak for themselves and their intentions. Our neighbor was as condescending and rude to the journalists as he was to us. But one comment he made has struck a nerve; not only with us but with the community as well. Our neighbor said, that “if we had acted like a white person he would have given it back to us…”

 

We are baffled as a family. We live in a nice suburban neighborhood, and we’ve never caused them or anyone any harm or nuance. We had no idea that for the last three years we’ve been living next to a family that harbors hate for us because of our races. My husband is Hispanic and I am African American-Caucasian, and as a family, we don’t act outside of being good citizens. So to accuse us of not acting like a particular race, and because of it, hold our property hostage, is cruel and ignorant. This speaks to the culture of our society today. People are having to fight against good, bad and the ugly because of race. Whether they deserve it or not, people who carry racism in their hearts place others in categories based on skin color, culture, and beliefs, and then treat them according to those factors. So whether this man, our neighbor, believes he is justified, because we are not white this gives him and his wife the right to keep our property and treat us unfairly.

We aren’t raising our children to see color, nor associate with a belief system that anyone is better than any other. This circumstance is helping reinforce our belief system that there is ugly in every nationality. Not only that, it’s also showing our children that there is good in every race too. Since the story aired on CBS on May 2nd, 2018, a woman who has requested to remain anonymous has agreed to buy our family a brand new trampoline and have it shipped to our home. Our children are ecstatic to know that they will have a shiny new trampoline in the backyard again real soon. As a family, we are thrilled to have been supported by so many. As a society, racism is unacceptable. But we know its an issue and it may always be an issue. But as long as a community we rise up together and speak to peace, love, and harmony, I believe that it washes out the ignorant and ugly.   

 

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(8) Comments

  1. Anna says:

    I’m so glad the local community was able to show its caring and friendly side after you got to experience such an ugly side via your neighbor. This story has gripped our little suburban town – and it’s not about “just a trampoline”, like some may think at first glance. This is about hatred and love, about the unnecessary and flagrant aggression towards the “different” that’s become so pervasive in the last few years, about perseverance, kindness, and hope that yield an unexpected reward.

    You didn’t deserve any of this yet you are handling it with grace. That is admirable and commendable. May your family continue to remain strong and blessed!

    1. ladylyrik@gmail.com says:

      Thank you Anna! The support has warmed our hearts in so many different ways. From the donation of a families trampoline, and another bought us a brand new one, to the financial support through a GoFundme account that was started. This fund was initiated to support an Not-For-Profit we are starting, because we recognize that there is alot of this racial profiling and ignorance going around in our communitiies. To be so cruel as to take it out on kids is just unacceptable. So our organization is eventually going to offer trampolines to families that can’t afford one, all in the name of breeding love and not hate. This is now a campaign to raise awareness of the hate in our communities, that is effective our youth, our next generation of leaders. So the support we’ve received means more to us that we can put in words. Thanks for engaging. Stay Tuned there’s plenty more to come!

  2. Beautifully written and it’s wonderful to see so much support for your family. Most people ARE good, just gotta look over the few who don’t have the sense God have them.

    1. ladylyrik@gmail.com says:

      Thank you so much for the kind words! We want the public to see things from our perspective. Because while the media certainly was on our side, we wanted our supporters to understand that now it’s much bigger than the trampoline, it’s about the fact that our neighbor allowed racial biases to control his actions. We’ve seen such support and it proves that there is more love and light in the world than there is hate. Stay blessed!

  3. This is such an unjust lesson your kids had to see. It is fabulous your local community rallied around you guys and shocking that it didn’t spur the neighbor to just give it back! Goodness, even though it did damage I’m surprised the officer didn’t tell them the same thing. Kindergarten 101 if it isn’t yours you can’t keep it!

    1. ladylyrik@gmail.com says:

      I couldn’t agree more!! The problem with our society today is that so many are breeding their children or grandchildren to see hate, to walk in hate for others. Instead of teaching them to love one another. I thought it was Ludacris that the police couldn’t do anything. If my car breaks down on your property they can keep it? hmm.

  4. Wow! That’s so crazy…I’m wondering if you DID act like a white person, what that looks like. What people don’t even realize is how crazy they sound filled up with their hatred. I’m so sorry this happened to your family but so glad the community rallied around your family and you’re even getting a brand new trampoline. Hatred comes in all shapes and sizes but it’s up to us to stand above it. <3

    1. ladylyrik@gmail.com says:

      Agreed! Hatred looks so ignorant on everyone. Hatred isn’t biased to race, or size or any system of beliefs. It’s so sad that the children of this generation are still having to see racism in the face of advancements in everything else. But this one thing still stands the test of time. I asked the same question, “what does acting like a ‘white person’ look like?” I believe that no matter how we had engaged with our neighbor he would still feel the same way. This circumstance just gave him his platform. After three years of living next door to us, and previously not having a single reason to express his hatred, this finally allowed him to share with us that his problem with us had everything to do with race. That’s ok this allows us the opportunity to show our kids how to love and be lights, which we have been teaching them all along. So now we show them by applying action. Thanks for the comment and the time you took to read the post!

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