Standing up against hate
Editor’s Note: This story contains material that some readers may find offensive.
The first letter written to Johnny and Saint James Limoges arrived two weeks after they moved into Providence Village in March.
The letter called Johnny Limoges “white trailer trash” and told him to move and take his “n-----” wife with him.
The Limoges did not move. Their neighbors responded with a Rise Up Against Hate event on Saturday, Aug. 26, to show support for Johnny and Saint James Limoges, a mixed race couple who have been targeted by an anonymous person with 20 letters of hate mail consisting of racial slurs, sexual references and threats.
The letters were mailed to the Limoges family as well as members of the Providence Village community.
The event was at the Limoges’ residence and went from 7-8:30 a.m., and according to event organizer and Providence Village resident Sina Tidwell, approximately 120 people were in attendance.
“This person has given us a platform,” Saint James said. “They’re responsible for the movement that’s about the start because of their vile hatred.”
Saint James is in the process of forming a Rise Up Against Hate non-profit organization to continue to speak against hate and educate the public on how hate is taught and its origins.
“This person has had an upbringing of hate, just like I’ve had an upbringing through the church so I can’t really be mad at this person,” Saint James said. “As an adult you can change, but it would take professional help. Without the assistance of a professional, this person couldn’t stop even if they wanted to, which is why I feel sorry for them.”
So far, Fox 4 News, The CW 33 and Channel 8 news have run stories about the incidents.
Tidwell said when she heard about what happened to her neighbor, she felt the urge to do something.
“I felt like God was moving me to do something about it,” she said. “I knew if I stepped up people would come along beside me, and that’s exactly what happened.”
“As a community, we live up to the name of Providence and what it represents – freedom,” said Providence Village Mayor Michael Jordan, who spoke at the event
“I hope the event settled the question of who we are as a town,” he said during a Tuesday interview. “We’re the type of community that rallies around anyone in need. The person who’s sending this letter doesn’t define us.
“Our community does a great job of stepping up whenever there’s a crisis. It’s the thing we do,” he said.
Saint James said the person who wrote the letter was a “passive-aggressive” coward that’s a part of a bigger problem.
“We really have to understand where hate comes from,” she said. “This is not a black and white issue. We’ve got to get away from race. This is an issue of hate.
“Every situation has an underlying issue and I believe we started a dialogue to get to the bottom of this issue Saturday,” she said.
Aubrey police Capt. William Townsend attended the event Saturday.
“If you want open discussion, this is how you do it,” Townsend said. “For two hours, six police officers and people from different backgrounds intermingled with each other.”
With that said, Townsend said the perpetrator will probably not stop.
“Events like Saturday won’t stop these types of people,” he said. “They will look at it like a challenge.
“I think the most important thing about Saturday was for Saint James to know that her community, her local government and the local police department has her back,” he said.