An open letter to Summerland mayor Toni Boot:
As you mentioned, racism permeates all towns, and societies, and l sincerely am sorry that you have had your share of racial remarks, threats and worse.
However, as the mayor, wouldn’t a simple polite phone call to the Dollar Store have been more prudent? “Discretion is the better part of valour.”
Mr. Carter purchased the array of bandanas as an assortment.
Many Dollar Store items are purchased that way, in a plethora of categories including greeting cards, gift bags, wine bags. “To each their own.” Consumers vary.
For they mayor to deliberately grandstand in such a manner calls into question her own behaviour, not the storekeeper’s, as you contend.
Allen and Cathy Carter are outstanding citizens of Summerland. They really are good people, hard workers, simply trying to survive.
For you to publicly embarrass them, hurt their business and make accusations does not behoove a mayor’s office.
You mention that “the Confederate flag symbolizes slavery and in light of George Floyd…” but that still does not justify what you did to Mr. and Mrs. Carter.
You mention how good-hearted Summerlanders are towards the Lehki family raising over $17,000 so quickly. You can count the Carters among those good-hearted Summerlanders.
It isn’t so much though what you said, it’s how you went about to say it.
A quiet phone call to the store could have helped the Carters retain their dignity.
It’s tough enough for them to stay in business, with Dollarama next door not doing them any favours.
I feel you had a knee-jerk reaction and probably regret the entire event. You possibly placed Mr. Carter and staff on the defensive by blindsiding them in your attack, so wrong words were used on both sides.
Your CV prides itself on human resources, proven leadership and communication skills.
You dropped the ball on this one. An apology to the Carters is indeed in order.
You can still save face by admitting that your intention was not to hurt, embarrass or damage the Carters in any way nor their reputation, and for that you are truly sorry. Then add that what you said about racism was correct but apologize for how you went about it.
I’m sure you’ll find a way to help resolve this in your own inimitable way.
“Falling on your sword” is not a solution to a situation you created against fellow citizens. They did nothing illegal.
Gary M. Jackson
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