Letter for Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017

• Be brave, show respect for all

Be brave, show respect for all

I was horrified and heart-broken to hear about the shooting of two Indian IT engineers (and a third person who was trying to stop the shooter) in a bar in Kansas by a man shouting racial slurs. It hurts to imagine how the parents of the young man who died must have felt to hear that their son was killed in cold blood because of the color of his skin.

The father of the man who perished lives in India. He blamed President Trump for his racially bent rhetoric. The White House responded that there was no connection. It does not appear that any word of sympathy or compassion was expressed by the White House.

It is not possible to ever know whether there was a connection or not, but we do know that words have impact on others; indeed, a leader often leads by his or her words. Whether at the federal, state or local level, whatever the topic, a leader by his/her words can either calm people down or rile people up. He/she can shed light and truth on the matter or spew half-truths and confusion.

All of us are called to be leaders at various times and situations. It is heartening to know that in the bar in Kansas there were several people who reached out to support the victims before and after the shooting.

Now more than ever, it is important for all of us to speak calmly and courageously and take a stand for living with respect, inclusivity and non-violence. Like the bystanders to a bullying incident, we must become the caring majority that says no to violence and bigotry.

JoAnn Yukimura, Kauai County Councilmember

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