Hate reared its ugly head in several Carroll County communities over the weekend. In the Eldersburg and Sykesville area, flyers promoting the Ku Klux Klan were left on people’s driveways. In Taneytown, a racial slur was spray-painted outside of a Chinese restaurant.

On a day that, when President Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday during the midst of the Civil War it was at least in part an effort to unite the nation, we should give thanks that we live in a country where the overwhelming majority do not believe in the bigoted nonsense that fringe groups like the KKK espouse in an attempt to divide us.


KKK flyers distributed in Eldersburg neighborhood, Sykesville

At least one Carroll County resident is upset after finding Klu Klux Klan flyers on his property this weekend in the Eldersburg neighborhood of Avonshire Woods.

And yet, in small pockets, these beliefs persist and fester. And when, as Americans, we do not condemn and repudiate these acts of hatred, we give those attitudes room to grow.

Hate — racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and all other forms of bigotry — must not be tolerated.

It is not simply enough to ignore the message, as many on social media suggested when we reported on the KKK propaganda that was distributed in Carroll County and other communities across Maryland. By simply throwing the flyers in the garbage, staying silent or turning a blind eye to bigoted acts, it allows these attitudes to persevere and amplify.

It was less than a month ago that these sentiments gave rise to the individual accused for opening fire and killing 11 worshipers in a Pittsburgh synagogue. The alleged shooter’s online postings were rife with racist, anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant language, similar to that used in the KKK flyers that were distributed not just in Eldersburg and Sykesville, but communities in Howard, Anne Arundel and Baltimore as well.

Unfortunately, some elected leaders refuse to speak on these matters, don’t speak out strongly enough, or worse use their own divisive rhetoric that only serves to fan the flames and empower the individuals behind this hateful messaging.

It’s unacceptable, and, therefore, it’s up to everyday folks to speak up and speak out about hatred and bigotry when they see it, and raise awareness that these sorts of behaviors are not OK. We must let hate groups know that they and their ideals are not welcome here.

KKK flyers in Maryland: Faith groups decry hate campaign linking Jews to illegal immigration

KKK flyers that have gone up around the state recently spread the same hateful message that apparently prompted a gunman to massacre 11 worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue last month: that Jews are responsible for illegal immigration from Mexico.

Our country was founded on the idea that all are created equal, regardless of race, faith, gender, sexual orientation or political beliefs. It is the diversity of America and its people that makes it great.

The first Thanksgiving took place nearly 400 years ago, and the most widely accepted version of events is that two very different groups — the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans — contributed to the three-day feast celebrating the first fall harvest for the English settlers. These two groups had little in common, yet their coming together — their unity — was a harbinger for what might be considered the most American of holidays and ideals.

We must stand united against hate in our communities. It is not welcome and has no place in Carroll County, in Maryland, or in these United States of America.