Site last updated: Sunday, July 21, 2024

Log In

Reset Password
Butler County's great daily newspaper

An uncomfortable welcome to Butler

Recently, I texted family members with exciting news. My son was scheduled to play a soccer game in my hometown – Butler! What a wonderful opportunity for my family to cheer them on!

This seemed like a positive situation. However, upon arrival, I met another mom from my community who was visibly shaken. “Did you see that billboard with the swastika?”

Welcome to Butler.

I have seen this divisive edifice many times. It purports to represent “freedom of speech” but leans toward “hate speech.” However, I’ve always considered it with resignation – i.e., there’s nothing to be done; it is legal, after all; and so on.

Suddenly, though, I saw this billboard through the eyes of others: “I have four black children in my car. Are they safe here?” and “We’re going to leave as soon as possible.”

This billboard’s owner has indicated that it expresses “truth,” as he believes it. Perhaps he’d suggest the swastika is simply metaphorical.

I hesitated to write this letter, given that the billboard owner may be thrilled by renewed attention. But this letter is not for him. This letter is for those on the fence who cannot clearly define what this edifice means. For the people from my community – my hard-working, family-oriented, helpful friends – this billboard shocks and intimidates. It promotes an unmistakable feeling of “unwelcome,” indicating that those with different opinions, races, or religions are neither wanted nor appreciated.

Please consider if this is what you want for your community.

Jennifer Geibel, Pittsburgh, a 1997 Butler High School graduate

More in Letters to the Editor

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter

* indicates required