Family gets racist letter from neighborhood: ‘You don’t belong here!’

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Ronica Copes received a letter in the mail that stated: "Attn: African-American family," the letter said in all caps. "Lindenhurst is 84% white population. You don't belong here!!!"

Ronica Copes received a letter in the mail that stated: “Attn: African-American family,” the letter said in all caps. “Lindenhurst is 84% white population. You don’t belong here!!!”

Ronica Copes and her family have lived in their Long Island home for almost two years. But just last week, they received the most unwelcoming letter in the mail:

“Attn: African-American family,” the letter said in all caps. “Lindenhurst is 84% white population. You don’t belong here!!!”

It’s almost laughable, if it weren’t so painful.

“Sooooo, I’m checking my mail and when I come across this I can’t help but laugh … wait, it’s not funny though,” Copes wrote on Facebook. “Unbelievable but then it’s not … our daily reality, I’ve just never seen it in this form.”

The anonymous letter tells the Copeses to “please leave Lindenhurst as soon as you can.”

“It will be better for all of us,” the writer said. “Find the town where there are more people like you.”

Copes was floored, saying she had a good rapport with her neighbors in the New York community.

“We were really surprised,” she told CNN affiliate WPIX. “We just didn’t think that this type of thing would happen this late in the game.”

Possible hate crime

Suffolk County police are investigating the case, but so far, it’s not clear who sent the letter.

Instead of a return address, the sender simply said the letter was from the “Community.”

But Lindenhurst village and Babylon town officials said in a joint statement that the letter doesn’t represent the community at all.

“We strongly condemn this hateful letter and are working closely with the Suffolk County Police and our Anti-Bias Task Force to investigate this incident,” the joint statement said.

“We are, and always will be, a strong diverse community that does not cede ground to hostility, ignorance, or hatred, wherever it may appear.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone had even harsher words for the author:

“To the coward who committed a hate crime against an innocent family in Lindenhurst — There is no place for intolerance in Suffolk County,” he said, according to WPIX. “I know the Suffolk County Police Department will do everything possible to solve this hate crime, out you and see you punished.”

‘You need to get out and meet people’

Lindenhurst village, population 27,000, is about 92% white and about 1.5% black or African-American, according to 2010 Census data.

Copes’ mother chalked the racist letter up to ignorance.

“Sometimes you have a preconceived idea of how a person is just because you don’t know them, you don’t know how they live, you don’t know what they believe,” Darcell Copes told CNN affiliate WABC.

“I would just like to say that I’ll continue to pray for you, and you need to get out and meet people.”

She said she was heartened by support from other residents, including a young girl who came to bring her flowers and a balloon.

“As soon as we saw like what the people wrote down, we went and we got flowers,” the girl told WABC.

Others stopped by the house to offer hugs or messages of encouragement.

Ronica Copes said the family isn’t moving.

“You don’t have a right to force us to go anywhere,” she told WPIX. “And we have every right to stay.”

CNN’s Rick Martin contributed to this report.

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7 comments

  • Bob

    Right… Lucky thing it was “anonymous”, so it can’t be tracked back to Obama and the DNC.

  • C"MON FOX13

    But if a white family living in a black-dominate community, it wouldn’t make the news.

    • miles (dave)

      your racism is showing.
      stop that, stop that its not doing any good.

      if you think this is the first time something like this happend and it made it to the news than your confused.

      • C'MON MILES (DAVE)

        If you don’t think that many black officers in the military aren’t racist against whites than you live in a bubble. Racists come in all colors.

      • bob

        If you think letters like that aren’t faked to stir up trouble then you’re confused. It happens all the time.

      • miles (dave)

        to c’mon
        ya id bet black officers in the military can be racist (i dont know why you specifically named black people in the military seen as the military was not mentioned in this conversation yet) and ya i have told the story a few times in these chat boards when i lived in georgia and there were many black people who made it clear that they didnt like me clearly because of the color of my skin. i know racism can come from all races.

        to bob
        i dont know about made up, i agree that i dont think the entire community wrote or even agrees with the letter especially because the story tells of members of the community telling the woman they appreciate her. (so ya i guess that part is “made up”)
        however, i think its mandatory ( a 100% chance) that the person who wrote that letter has a unreasonable portion of hate in them.id bet there is about a 90% chance that hate is directed at her specifically and id bet another 50% chance that its race related. so whoever wrote it meant what they said to at least a little bit.
        unless your meaning that she wrote the letter her self then said someone else wrote it, then id say ya thats a possibility but im not sure why you would post that question directly to me, what reason did i give you to believe that i didnt know faking was an option?

        after reading my comment again i realized i didnt do a good job of telling my point. anyway my point is id bet people get nasty (some racist) notes left for them to find all the time and with racism able to flow from any race to any other race id bet a black person has left a note like this for a white person before and no it didnt get to the news but same with all the other races sending notes to other races. my main concern about c’mons original post is the idea that people who say stuff like that have a high likelihood of having racist feelings them selves thinking something like “all black people get all the attention when it comes to racism im upset i want some attention too”. now it was possible that i was wrong and c’mon was the 1 in a billion and i just miss understood, but after c’mons reply to me its just ridiculously unlikely that you would get 2 racism attention statements from the same person and have that person not be racist them selves, being that they want someone to be racist to them then have the world scorn the racist person.

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