Burien residents protest intolerance following controversial flyer

KING 5's Natalie Swaby reports.

Tuesday night, a march weaved from a Burien restaurant to the city's library with demonstrators denouncing hate.

Organizers put the march, along with a candlelight vigil, together in response to a flyer mailed out to thousands of Burien residents. The flyer was sent by the group, Respect Washington.

In a press release for the vigil, it stated that the Respect Washington flyer "showed a map with the names and addresses of immigrant residents of Burien and alleged that they had committed violent crimes."

Craig Keller is a co-founder of Respect Washington.

"What they are saying about our efforts in Burien are just lies. There's no hate connected to it at all. It was simply a voter education communication that informed Burien neighbors what kind of crime - and where the crime was occurring - in their community," said Keller.

Kerri Gibbard Kline, a Burien resident, was "deeply troubled" by Respect Washington's letter.

"I think it is an obvious act of racism. I think it is dangerous and irresponsible. And I think it is important to send a message to those who were targeted that this is not representative of the character of the city of Burien. This came from outside of our community," said Gibbard Kline.

On Monday night, Gibbard Kline hosted a 'love letter' writing campaign in her living room. They wrote letters of support.

"The letters were addressed to the targeted immigrants in the flyer," said Gibbard Kline. "Hopefully that could shine a light and say we feel like you belong here."

More than 100 letters have been mailed.

Lake Burien Presbyterian Church continues to collect even more letters that will be mailed soon.

While Respect Washington maintains there is nothing hateful about their flyer, others who see it differently gathered together Wednesday night to send the message that hatred and intolerance don't belong in Burien.

 

© 2017 KING-TV


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