Recently, Flower Mound citizens have seen an uptick in the promotion of racial hatred.
In February 2020, someone wrote anti-Semitic profanities and a swastika on concrete border blocks surrounding the playground at the Kol Ami synagogue on Timber Creek Road.
In March, writings against Asians were scribbled upon a wall located on Simmons Road, plus a hateful message was painted upon a street. Now in October, stickers from the Patriot Front attempting to recruit members were placed on crossing poles on Long Prairie Road (FM 2499). Patriot Front is a neo-Nazi group founded in Fort Worth in 2017. Patriot Front distributes white supremacist, anti-Semitic, homophobic and fascist literature and participates in demonstrations nationwide.
Though these hateful messages were quickly removed, the hurtful repercussions may remain.
In December 2016, the Flower Mound Town Council took a stand against hate speech. The members stated, “That hate, whether in speech, action, or behavior, has no place in our community and that we reject such with no reservation or hesitation.”
Shane Jennings, public information officer of the Flower Mound Police Department (FMPD), said the department, remains “steadfast to the original stance the Town Council made on the topic in December 2016.” Jennings noted that the FMPD’s mission is “to deliver excellent police services with integrity, in partnership with our community, to instill trust and promote a safe and secure environment that enhances Flower Mound’s distinctive quality of life.”
In response to this latest expression of racial divisiveness, Flower Mound’s mayor pro tem Sandeep Sharma stated, “I want my message to be loud and clear. We are not a town of graffiti; we are definitely not a town of hate. The Town Council and every resident of Flower Mound needs to let the entire community know that our town has zero tolerance for any kind of discrimination or hate against any person or group.”
The defacing of property with racist messages is considered to be a hate crime in the State of Texas. Article 42.014 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure states that a hate crime occurs if the: “defendant intentionally selected the person against whom the offense was committed or intentionally selected property damaged or affected as a result of the offense because of the defendant’s bias or prejudice against a group identified by race, color, disability, religion, national origin or ancestry, age, gender, or sexual preference.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also considers such actions to be hate crimes.
The FBI’s definition of a hate crime is “a criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”
The recent deaths of George Floyd and countless other persons of color during arrests/incarcerations have awakened on a broader scale the need for change in our country. I encourage all citizens to not only stand up to the perpetrators of hatred but also to volunteer to change our nation for the better.
Finally, I believe it behooves all of us to remember the words of Martin Niemöller, a prominent Lutheran pastor in Germany, who was an outspoken critic of Adolf Hitler: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”