Missoula Responds to Swastika Placed on Waterworks Hill
Last week, a swastika appeared on Missoula's Waterworks Hill near the large peace sign that you can see as you're driving north on Orange Street, particularly, the bridge. It was removed by volunteers over the weekend, nonetheless, it was disturbing. Especially to those who were already losing faith in humanity after the attack on the Capitol in D.C. the day before the symbol appeared.
I saw photos of the incident in my social media scroll and couldn't stand the sight of it, initially, I didn't want to bring attention to it by writing about it, as it disgusted me. However, a letter that appeared in the Missoulian's Opinion section made me realize that our community should bring attention to the hateful symbol, and should use the situation as a teachable moment.
If the people who took the time to place the swastika on the North Hill did it in an act of random vandalism, they need to understand why it was so offensive to so many of us. If they don't understand and nobody tells them, we've done a disservice to our community by not attempting to tell them why. If the culprits knew exactly what they were doing, they need to hear us speak out and know that we will not tolerate this showing of hate in Missoula.
Rabbi Laurie Franklin and the executive director of Missoula's Jeannette Rankin Peace Center, Betsy Mulligan-Dague, penned a letter in response to the troubling incident. It's beautifully written and captures what I know many of us were feeling. It's a great read, and a wonderful reminder of what Missoula really stands for, you can read it in it's entirety here.