The Copes family of Lindenhurst, New York, — a village of about 27,000 on Long Island’s south shore — have lived in the quiet community for about two years. But on Thursday, May 21, 37-year-old Ronica Copes opened her mail and found a single-page, computer-printed anonymous note that left her frightened — and angry.
The note, presumably from someone else in the village — which is part of the town of Babylon, New York, — demanded that the Copes family move out of Lindenhurst.
But why? What could they have done to offend their neighbors so terribly?
Their “offense” was nothing more than being black. And if that seems unbelievable in the year 2015, here is the actual note, as posted by Copes to her Facebook page.
For readers whose browsers do not properly render the image, the note reads as such.
Attn: African-American family.
This is coming from the Lindenhurst community.
Lindenhurst is 84% white population.
YOU DON’T BELONG HERE!!!
Please leave Lindenhurst as soon as you can.
It will be better for all of us.
Find a town where there are more people like you.
Sorry if this is rude, but it’s the truth.
Copes told the New York media that not only was the note extremely disturbing, it came as a shock because her family had never experienced racial bigotry in Lindenhurst since moving there in 2013. But now she feel nervous about her nieces and nephews, who also live in the family home, as they walk to school.
“You don’t know who it is, so you’re looking over your back,” she said in an interview with CBS Channel 2 in New York. “We won’t be leaving Lindenhurst. And if we do, it won’t be because of this letter.”
Many neighbors and fellow Lindenhurst residents were also shocked by the anonymous note.
“It’s embarrassing,” resident Marisa Greico told the TV station. “Who wants to be from a town where people discriminate like that?”
“Some moron wrote the letter and said all the town agrees to it?” another resident, Gary Gorman, added. “That moron didn’t check with me.”
Suffolk County police investigators are checking into the note as a possible hate crime, and visited the Copes home in Lindenhurst on Friday, Ronica Copes wrote on her Facebook page.
The Town of Babylon also issued an official condemnation of the appalling anonymous note.
“The best way to fight bias is with solidarity and we stand with all of our residents in declaring that there is no place for this type of intolerance and hatred… anywhere in our community,” the Long Island, New York, town officials said, responding to the Lindenhurst anonymous note.
[Image: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images]