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In defense of cartoon featuring church and pool [Letter]

Rev. Donte' L. Hickman's recent criticisms of your editorial cartoon were totally unfounded. No one here is hiding behind children or exploiting them for a more "pervasive" agenda. To come into this community and accuse us of racism and exploiting children is not how you win friends and influence people. These kids started this Save Our Pool campaign on their own. They wanted their pool opened so they decided to contact our local Council Representative and ask him to help the County find a way to purchase the property or open the pool. Parents, friends and neighbors were asked by them to attend the meeting. We came because they are our kids and grandkids. We wanted to support their first efforts at community activism. When the kids met with Councilmen Dion Guthrie, the question arose as to why this community is the only major community in Harford County without a Senior Center or Activity Center. That is the focus of our concern.

To play the race card and insinuate that the opposition to this mega church and the grandiose scheme to run a banquet hall in our front yards is racially motivated is a slap in OUR face. We don't care if you are, black, brown, white, green or polka dotted. Anyone from Rev. Hickman's 3,000 member congregation who is seeking a stronger relationship with God, would be welcomed with opened arms into any of the 25-plus churches that already serve and bind this community. What our community doesn't want is five acres of predominantly green space in the heart of our community turned into a parking lot for a mega church, that includes a huge commercial banquet hall and all the traffic, strangers, and congestion that go with it. Our objections have nothing to do with the color of anyone's skin. We would object if Four Season Resorts or Donald Trump were proposing such a drastic change to the nature of the middle of our town.

We are not adverse to Rev. Hickman or the mission of his church. As you can see by the number of churches, we are a Christian community. We hope that he can find a suitable building site in an underserved area, where the traffic and congestion will not negatively impact what is a truly residential area, regardless of how it is zoned. Our goal is to preserve this space in the heart of our town for a community center that serves the people that reside there and pay the taxes to maintain the area.

Gloria Barnhart

Mary Smith

Fran Salbeck

Hazel Morgan

Virginia Lemken

Eileen Maas

Joppa

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