LENOX — A local resident has filed a report with Lenox Police and informed U.S. Postal Service officials after receiving an anonymous hate mail letter at her home near downtown Lenox.
Jackie Ling Wong told The Eagle that the material was postmarked in Hartford, Conn., where most western New England mail, including within Berkshire County, is sorted.
The envelope, addressed to “Resident,” was written on in red, blue, green and purple ink, Wong said. She speculated that her front-yard display supporting the Black Lives Matter movement might have motivated the sender. The display, including a sign and a rainbow flag, has been up since last summer.
Because the envelope lacked a return address, Wong was told by a Pittsfield postal official and by Lenox Police that there were no clues that could lead to the sender. She also informed Lee-Lenox Chief Administrative Officer Christopher Ketchen and Dennis Powell, head of the Berkshire County NAACP office, about the mailing, which came last week.
“People need to know if someone living here was made to feel less safe,” Wong said. “I felt like I lost my voice because this person was throwing all kinds of stuff at me. But, when I contacted Lenox Police and Ketchen’s office, I felt that I regained my voice.”
“It did feel very threatening,” said Paul Marshall, Wong’s husband. “I was struck by how cowardly this is. I’ve got to believe someone drove by our house, and I suspect it’s from a local person.”
The letter included an altered image of a Black Lives Matter poster. The sender wrote: “Lives matter, if you need a color in front of those two words, you’re a racist. We are Americans.”
The letter writer also suggested that the “resident” should “go live in Arbor Hill, Albany,” a mostly Black section of New York’s capital city. “You wouldn’t leave your cars out ...” the writer said. “Want to live in a 3rd world country? Move to the continent of Africa.”
The mailing also contained a lengthy reproduced text alleging that “Today in America, the new fascists are people of all colors aligned against the white race in our country.”
According to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, “hateful and offensive speech or symbols alone do not necessarily violate the law. Rather, the law prohibits certain kinds of physical or verbal conduct, such as threats, intimidation, or coercion.”