A grandmother of nine from Wichita, Kansas, claims she received a racist letter aimed at her six biracial grandchildren from a neighbor.
“I hope this never happens to anyone else,” Nancy Wirths told local NBC affiliate KSNW-TV.
Among other claims, the Benjamin Hills resident said the anonymous letter stated that Black people belong “on the other side of the tracks” and not in their neighborhood, and she was spooked by the hateful missive.
“I look over my shoulder. I watch. The kids aren’t allowed to be outside,” she said.
The letter that Wirths said she received, which was addressed to “Residents,” read in part: “We have noticed there are some Black children at your residence. Maybe you are running a daycare or these are your children. In either case, we have put our house for sale. This neighborhood does not need any Blacks in it.”
The letter also accused Wirths of being disrespectful by not thinking about her neighbors.
Nancy Wirths (left) and three of her six bi-racial grand-children (right). (Facebook Photos)
The Wichita woman said she is flabbergasted that someone could direct such prejudice toward children.
“These are kids under the age of 10 where me and their parents are trying to raise them,” she said. “You have to love everybody, be friends with everybody. It doesn’t matter if they’re brown, purple. It’s just a shame that they have taken the innocence away from the children.”
The matter is now under investigation by the Wichita Police Department, but the inquiry is in a very early stage, Sgt. Nikki Woodrow told KSNW.
“We have no suspects at this time because there is no indication on who wrote the letter,” said Sgt. Woodrow.
The letter’s author could face disorderly conduct charges, authorities said.
Meanwhile, the letter—which was first posted on Facebook—has prompted much debate across the Wichita community.
“One of the things that struck me in there (the letter) was the line about the other side of the tracks and in Wichita the reality is we are still a fairly segregated city,” said Pastor Alan Stucky of The First Church of the Bretheren. The minister said he wants to be part of a solution. “I am committed to trying to create some safe space for the people in our community, just to make sure people know this is not the kind of neighborhood and kind of community that we want to be.”
In spite of this disturbing incident, in 2007, Wichita elected its first African American mayor, Carl Brewer (D), who served two terms until 2015.