Blake’s comments open door to better community integration |

Blake’s comments open door to better community integration

Stacy Sanchez, Breckenridge

I have been a resident of Breckenridge off and on for the past 10 years, and have found the recent comments made by our town mayor, Ernie Blake, to be a little interesting.He was quoted in the Reporters’ Notebook on June 27 as saying, “I was struck at our Clean-Up Day that I did not see one (person from our Hispanic community).” I believe that this calls for some education on why Mr. Blake could not “see” the Hispanics present at our town Clean-Up day. I was taught by my mother that Hispanics come in all shapes, sizes and colors; blond hair, red, brown and black hair.Our skin could be white, brown or even look black. The following comes from her: Hispanics are a diverse and ethnic group belonging to any race. It is not a race. They make up a variety of racial backgrounds. To single out a group of people by their ethnicity, is generalizing or also known as stereotyping. Levels of acculturations and structural assimilation impacts our communities. When comments are made such as: “I did not see one Hispanic person from our ‘Hispanic community’ is to prejudge or also known as being prejudice. The question raised is, “What does a Hispanic look like?” In many families, they are all colors of the spectrum, from white to brown to black. The other comment of “somehow we did not reach out to them” raises the questions, who and how did you reach out? Do they feel like they are a part of the community? Are they asked to participate in other events other than Clean-Up Day? Do you know who they are, what churches, organizations they belong to and who their leaders or spokespersons are? Do you personally know some of these individuals? If it was a nonthreatening event, then why even raise the concern? If they are such a part of the community, then the mayor should not feel disturbed. Interesting how the state name Colorado comes from the Spanish vocabulary. And, how the first “white” men to see this area were the early Spanish settlers of the 1500s.In 1848, through the Treaty of Guadalupe, Mexico gave up this land, making it only 157 years ago. Hispanics/Latinos have always been here, and will continue to live among us. It’s only when we become culturally sensitive and know our neighbors will we not be disturbed in our community functions.Diversity is rich, exciting and motivating to those who have a larger circle of friends who have a different backgrounds.Mayor Ernie Blake’s comment may not have been worded as “PC” as maybe it should have, but his closing statement of how a lack of people of color participating in our Clean-Up Day “disturbed him” meant that he did have a genuine care and concern for all of Breckenridge’s residents and community members.This is an event that benefits our small town, while providing an opportunity to meet other locals. I sincerely believe that Mr. Blake and Christina Carlson of the Family and Intercultural Resource Center have the ability to work toward integrative solutions and future opportunities for all the various peoples of different ethnic backgrounds in Breckenridge and Summit County.

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