Saturday, May 30, 2020
Statement Supporting Latinos Hopes to Alleviate Fear
Saturday, September 14, 2019


Herbert Romero has not been alone in feeling that anxious knot in his stomach as he’s watched the number of attacks against Latinos rise across the country.

The Spanish media has reported far more dramatic stories than the mainstream media has picked up on. They’ve struck fear in children in the Wood River Valley, who watch their parents go to work and wonder if they will come home. Events have been cancelled when rumors of ICE raids that turn out to be false circulate. And some fear profiling.

“There’s a polite segregation in our community that comes from both sides. It’s what for a long time has allowed us to avoid the subject,” said Romero, who has been working to create bridges between the Latino and other communities in the valley. “But there is a message of hate, a message of division that has crossed the line of respect. It’s driven nationally, but it’s affecting us locally.

“When you make an effort to listen and hear some of the stories, it’s alarming. We need to pay more attention to our conversation. We need to have respectful conversation.”

The Hunger Coalition’s Naomi Spence and others have decided it’s time to stand up on behalf of Latinos in the community.

They’ve prepared a statement of support, which they have posted on their website, inviting others to add their names.

“We are standing up for fundamental American principles of fairness and justice in support of our immigrant and refugee friends, neighbors and co-workers,” the statement starts. “The United States is a nation of immigrants, both voluntary and involuntary, and recognizing this fact, we stand with those who are targets of racial discrimination in our country.”

The letter is the first step in establishing a positive culture in the valley, said Spence.

“It’s time for all of us to stand up and be vocal. The entire community is feeling like they’re targets, not just undocumented workers. Even here. Time for people who have power through their white privilege to stand up,” she added.

“I had suspicions this was happening here,” said Ketchum resident Gina Poole, as she learned of the effort. “We assume we’re different. But we’re not immune to what’s happening nationally, even though we’re an exceptional community.”

Community leaders and individuals are invited to add their names to the letter, which is posted on The Hunger Coalition’s website, by emailing Community members can learn of other ways to build or support a safe community by emailing

Spence said some people have thanked her for the effort; others have not returned her phone calls.

“But we hope this will be the beginning of something,” she said. “We hope to generate conversation, especially among those who might not be aware of how this is affecting the psyche even of people who live in this valley.”

Here’s the letter prepared by The Hunger Coalition & The Alliance of Idaho. A Spanish version follows.

“We are standing up for fundamental American principles of fairness and justice in support of our immigrant and refugee friends, neighbors, and co-workers. The United States is a nation of immigrants, both voluntary and involuntary, and recognizing this fact, we stand with those who are targets of racial discrimination in our country. 

“Many of our Latinx friends and neighbors across the country are terrified — regardless of documentation status. We stand and work together to help build safe, just, and welcoming communities for all. We celebrate what the Latinx community brings to this country, and we support those working to protect the basic human rights of immigrants by engaging in education, outreach, and advocacy at local, state, and national levels. 

“Latinx families – like all families – want the best possible future for their children. They hold values deeply rooted in culture, faith, education, courage, and hard work. Many local businesses, classrooms, youth programs, as well as an extraordinary workforce, are led by our Latinx neighbors, and they are crucial to what makes our beautiful community thrive.

“To the impacted community in this valley and around the country, the undersigned organizations and individuals say: If you are afraid for your safety, if you worry that your parent or child may be taken away from you, please know we will support you in any way we can. We stand in solidarity with you with the recognition that your participation in this community makes us all better.

In Espanol: Una carta al editor preparado por El Hunger Coalition y el Alliance of Idaho Estamos defendiendo los principios estadounidenses fundamentales de equidad y justicia en apoyo de nuestros amigos, vecinos y compañeros de trabajo inmigrantes y refugiados. Los estados unidos es una nación de inmigrantes, tanto voluntarios como involuntarios, y reconociendo este hecho, apoyamos a quienes son objeto de discriminación racial en nuestro país. 

 Muchos de nuestros amigos y vecinos Latinx por todo el país están aterrorizados,  independientemente del estado de la documentación . Nos paramos y trabajamos juntos para construir comunidades justas, bienvenidas y seguras para todos. Celebramos lo que la comunidad Latinx aporta a este país y apoyamos a quienes trabajan para proteger los derechos humanos básicos de los inmigrantes a medios de la educación, el trabajo comunitario y la abogacía a los niveles locales, estatales y nacionales. 

 Las familias Latinxs, como todas las familias, quieren el mejor futuro posible para sus hijos. Tienen valores profundamente arraigados en la cultura, la fe, la educación, la valentía, y el trabajo duro. Muchos de nuestros negocios, salones de clase, programas juveniles, tanto como una fuerza laboral extraordinaria están dirigidos por nuestros vecinos Latinx y son cruciales para lo que hace prosperar a nuestra comunidad hermosa.

 Para la comunidad afectada en esta valle y en todo el país, las organizaciones y los individuos que suscriben les dicen: si temen por su seguridad, si se preocupan que les puedan quitar a sus hijos o padres, sepan que los apoyamos en todo lo que se pueda. Nos pondremos de pie y hablaremos en contra del odio y la intolerancia que se está extendiendo por esta gran nación. Nos solidarizamos con ustedes con el reconocimiento de que su participación es esta comunidad nos hace mejores.

 Si desea saber qué puede hacer para ayudar a las comunidades afectadas, envíe un correo electrónico a Gracias. 

Organizations and individuals signing onto the letter:  

Alliance of Idaho Blaine County School District #61 Flourish Foundation Founder of 100 Men Who Care, Marty Lyon Girls on the Run of Southern Idaho I Have A Dream Foundation Indivisible Blaine County Nosotros United Sun Valley Center for the Arts The Advocates  The Community Library The Hunger Coalition Wood River YMCA St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Souper Supper

Barbara and Chuck Corwin, Susan and Arnold Blair, Carol and Len Harlig, Robin Leavitt and Terry Friedlander, Marcia and Don Liebich, Herbert Romero, Barbara Thrasher, The Rev. Lea Colvill, Emmauel Episcopal Church  Bellevue Mayor, Ned Burns Blaine County Commissioner, Jacob Greenberg Blaine County Commissioner, Angenie McCleary City of Bellevue Council President, Kathryn Goldman  City of Carey Council President, Lane Durtschi City of Hailey Council President, Martha Burke City of Ketchum Council President, Michael David City of Sun Valley Council President, Keith Saks Idaho Senator Michelle Stennett, District 26 Idaho State Representative Muffy Davis, District 26 Idaho State Representative Sally Toone, District 26 Ketchum


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