Archive for September, 2008

Bustin’ Hate Sure Feels Great

September 23, 2008

By Ed Chasteen

hatebuster@aol.com

Bill nails it! He understands perfectly why we are here. He comes to the mike. “Often when these things happen, victims stand alone. They feel helpless and forgotten. Our presence here today in support of this family rescues them and sends a clear message that this community won’t tolerate what was done to them.” Bill Whitcomb is with the United States Department of Justice. Has been for years. In his official capacity he visits communities where hate crimes have occurred, and by his presence aligns our government with those who foster peace, harmony and justice.

With many others of us from across Greater Kansas City, Bill has come at HIGH NOON on this sunny Saturday to Missouri City, where 11 days earlier at the midnight hour someone beat on the door of an interracial family, yelled racial insults and threatened to kill them. Fifty of us have come on our bicycles from our home bike shop in Liberty. Ministers from area churches are here. Members of the Missouri City Council are here. We are meeting at the Missouri City School, The Smallest AAA School in Missouri. The Superintendent of the school welcomes us and reads from the Love Letters that have come from around the world to the family. The chaplain, other staff and former students from William Jewell College are here. Concerned citizens from far and near are here. The pastor of Antioch Community Church, one of our HateBusters supporters, is here.

Missouri City is a tiny town of 295 people. The school has 24 students in eight grades. The three teachers each teach three grades. The kindergarten through second grade teacher is here with five of her seven students and her own small daughter. The teacher went to college with the wife of the victimized family, who is herself a teacher in Kansas City. The pastor of the Baptist Church next door is here and makes a powerful statement in support of the family.

The family is here: husband, wife, grandmother and two small children. The husband and wife rise to address all of us assembled. They express gratitude for our presence and sympathy for the one who assaulted them. They do not hate him, but express sorrow that he is filled with hate.

When everyone who would like to speak has done so, Brother John comes, as he always does at one of our events, to lead us in our HateBusters theme song. Written by two William Jewell students in 1988 when HateBusters was founded as a student response to the election of a Klansman to the Louisiana Legislature, this song repetitively asks those hurt by hate to call HATEBUSTERS and ends with our phone number. HateBusters has promised to respond to any act of hate reported on Kansas City TV or in the Kansas City Star and never to let hate have the final word. More PR for the good guys than the bad guys get: that’s our goal. That’s why we have come to Missouri City today.

HateBusters, Inc. has no meetings and no dues. We never say no when asked to help and never charge fees. We give membership cards to all who ask. We are supported by donations from those who value what we do. We keep in touch by email. When we are needed, I send out email alerts from my study next to the laundry room in the basement of my home. Word goes instantly across the country and around the world. My request for LOVE LETTERS for the family went out within minutes after I read of this hate crime in the Kansas City Star. They began arriving the next day and will continue for sometime. Bev Chapman from Channel 9 drove to the Missouri City School this past Wednesday and filmed a heartwarming story about the LOVE LETTERS that ran that evening.

At all of our Human Family Reunions, our visits to schools to teach our book, How To Like People Who Are Not Like You, our HIGH NOON SHOWDOWNS WITH MIDNIGHT HATE, and our visits to churches, Mom always comes as we near the end to sing her signature song: Pass It On. I call her Mom because that’s what my students call her. In her church, they call her Queen Mother. Her official name is Maxine McFarlane. By any name she is a force of nature. She comes now to weave her magic and spread her charm, sending us home from this place on a natural high from which we’ll not soon come down.

HateBusters
Box 442
Liberty, MO 64069
Phone: 816-803-8371
e-mail: hatebuster@aol.com

No Boundaries On Our Soul!

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Forgiveness

September 18, 2008

By Ed Chasteen

Hating someone is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. I would like to have thought of this dead-on description of how hate works. But I didn’t. And I don’t really know who did. That line was in one of the love letters I happened to read before we took it to the Missouri City family that was the victim of a hate crime. I don’t even know who wrote the letter. So somewhere out there is the perceptive and compassionate author of this fundamental insight.

Now that I know of it, I will make good use of it, for never have I heard a better description. I use all the brains I’ve got and all I can borrow. That statement is not original with me either. I’ve heard it attributed to Woodrow Wilson, though it may have come to him from another. I could even be mistaken in attributing my first hearing of the phrase to Wilson. It may have been someone else entirely.

Now that I have issued all the disclaimers of originality required in this age of plagiarism-phobia, I return to the central point of this brief note. I am, as I think we all are, too weak to carry a grudge. To harbor a grudge against one I think, with or without reason, has wronged me, is to chain myself to a past wrong, thereby reducing my freedom to move about in the world with faith and confidence in myself and those I meet.

“Hate kills you first,” Bronia Roslowowski would say to my students year after year as we sat in her living room and she described her life and near death in Nazi death camps and her refusal now to hate those who did unspeakable things to her. Either we rise above hate to forgiveness or we sink beneath it to a death that comes as we still live.

So to the one who committed the Missouri City hate crime a few nights ago, I offer forgiveness. Not legal forgiveness. That is not within my power. Nor would I give it if it were. Being responsible for our behavior is the contract we enter when we live among neighbors. Nor do I offer forgiveness on behalf of the aggrieved family. I have no right to do so. The forgiveness I offer is on behalf of all those who by TV and newspaper learned of this dark deed, this indirect assault on the peace and harmony in which all the sober-minded and well-intentioned among us seek to live our lives.

By forgiving the one who did this, those of us who have no legal or personal involvement in this matter free ourselves to be helpful to all who might need our help, the family, the perpetrator, our officers of the law, our fellow citizens.

So let it be!

HateBusters
Box 442
Liberty, MO 64069
Phone: 816-803-8371
e-mail: hatebuster@aol.com

No Boundaries On Our Soul!

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High Noon Showdown with Midnight Hate

September 15, 2008

Saturday, September 20
At Missouri City School
At High Noon
Please Come

Wickedness came to Missouri City in the dark of night. Now come good people at HIGH NOON to respond. Hate is cowardly. Those who hate prefer the night when they cannot be seen. Love comes at noon when all can be clearly seen and no shadow is about.

An interracial husband and wife and their two small children were awakened from their beds just before midnight on Tuesday, September 9. A voice came from their yard. “Nigger lover. I’m going to kill the nigger lover, your wife, your children.” The man beat on their door and yelled other threats.

The man who did this now sits in jail. The courts will decide his punishment. But his evil was made known by newspaper and TV to many thousands of people, making us all victims of his assault on the peace and harmony in which we all long to live. But he has also given us a chance to affirm our goodness and our sense of community. To do so, HateBusters invites all who get this message to come at HIGH NOON on Saturday, September 20 to Missouri City School, where Superintendent Jay Jackson will welcome us and we will offer our love and support to the victimized family. Law enforcement representatives will be present. Faith communities will come. We will get more PR for the good guys than the bad guy got. We will sing and pray and rejoice in one another’s presence.

Missouri City is on 210 Highway, 10 miles east of Liberty, my hometown. Let us together set this family at liberty from all fear.
I hope to see you.

Ed Chasteen,

HateBusters Founder

HateBusters
Box 442
Liberty, MO 64069
Phone: 816-803-8371
e-mail: hatebuster@aol.com

No Boundaries On Our Soul!

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Hate Crime in Missouri City

September 15, 2008

A Plea from Ed Chasteen

(Read below to see how you can help)

Missouri City is a tiny town just 10 miles from my house in Liberty. I often ride my bicycle there, past the Missouri City School, the smallest AAA School in Missouri, so the marquee in front announces. Jay Jackson, the superintendent-bus driver-custodian-teacher, made national news in 1990 when his school bused inner city children from Kansas City to be educated in this place where everybody knows your name.

Clay County authorities today, September 10, 2008 charged a 52-year old Missouri City man with third-degree assault, a hate crime, for yelling racist epithets and threatening to kill an interracial couple in Missouri City. “Nigger lover,” the man yelled, “I’m going to kill the nigger lover, your wife, your children and your girl.” The married couple threatened has two children, a 4-year old and a 6-year old.

As soon as I heard about this despicable act, I drove to Missouri City and found the house where the couple live. She is a 5th grade teacher in Kansas City. He is employed by a large corporation. No one was home. So I drove to the Missouri City School to ask Jay Jackson to help. Jay gave me the phone number and address.

The threatened wife and mother is from Ghana, a graduate of Park University. The husband was recently put in charge of the diversity program at his work. They, their two children and the wife’s mother, have lived in Missouri City for several years.

I can ride my bicycle about 125 miles on my very best days. I live in a town called Liberty. So I drew a125-circle around Liberty. I call all places within that circle GREATER LIBERTY. I made a public promise that HateBusters would respond to any act of hate within that circle. We will do all we can to set folks at liberty from those dark places of heart, mind and soul that breed hate.

This family needs to know they have friends. I want them to gets sacks full of mail. LOVE LETTERS, I call them. Here’s what I want you to do. Write a letter. Address it to THE LOVED FAMILY. I choose not to identify the family in this email. You may call me if you would like to know: 816-803-8371. Please address your letter to Missouri City School, 700 East Main, Missouri City, MO 64072. Jay will get your letters to the family.

When you have written your own letter, pass this plea along to folks on your email list. Ask them to write a letter and pass the plea to their friends. Let’s get LOVE LETTERS from every state in America. Let’s make clear to the person who committed this hate crime that his intended victims have thousands of friends. Let’s buoy these good people above the troubled waters that without us may drown them. After a few weeks when I think the letters have all come, I will write the story of all we have done to help and email it to you. After I have talked to the family, I will let you know what else we can do to help.

Bless you, my friends.

HateBusters
Box 442
Liberty, MO 64069
Phone: 816-803-8371
e-mail: hatebuster@aol.com

No Boundaries On Our Soul!

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Weekend after Labor Day

September 15, 2008

By Ed Chasteen

I missed the last two MS-150’s. Two years ago Brian and I had slogged through the mud to the start line at Longview Farms. His mother, my wife, had told me that if Brian got hurt, we wouldn’t go on the road trip to Michigan she and I were planning just after the ride. A few years back Brian was seriously injured when another biker crashed into him from the rear, throwing them both into a pile of other riders. All went down, Brian on bottom. Brian was laid up for days and didn’t ride again for years. He’s now back for another MS-150. It’s his own idea, though his mother thinks I talked him into it, and she doesn’t approve. With rain falling at start time and a dismal forecast, I don’t have the heart to risk Brian’s safety and big trouble at home. We decide not to ride.

I had ridden some 4,000 miles by July 2007 when I went for outpatient surgery. Things went wrong. I was still in the hospital when time came for the MS-150. My friends had helped me raise better than $7,000. So Brian rode in my place. He would call me from rest stops along the way. He brought me my jersey Sunday evening after the ride.

Not until March this year was I able to get back on my bike and on the road. Dave Biscari brought me a state-of-the art stationary bike to ride in a spare bedroom. I was three months home before I could manage that. The slightest hills exhausted me when I finally managed to get outside. Just getting on my bike took total concentration. It wasn’t fun. But I couldn’t quit. A century a week had been my goal for years. Twenty to 50 miles most every day, then 100 on one day of the week. Rest on Sunday. That was my routine.

Not a single century have I ridden this year when Brian and I show up at Ray-Pec High School for the 81-mile ride to Sedalia. With temperature in the 60s all day and rain only threatening, it’s a glorious day to ride. Our good friend, Mark Turner, is with us again this year, and we three amigos spot each other at rest stops and along the road all day. Mark has been here a while when Brian and I pull into the fairgrounds right at five o’clock. We all arrive at the Ag Pavilion for our State Street Team dinner just as Richard Mark, our team captain, welcomes everyone.

As we stand in line to get our food, several riders come up to say they’ve been over to the main building here at the State Fair Grounds where the MS Society has set up to feed all riders and hold tonight’s program. They have seen the posters adorning the walls, one with my name and picture. “But no one recognized you.” Dave Andrews is the first one to tell me this. Others soon follow. “Must be an old picture,” they say. “You look a lot younger.”

Over a sumptuous meal of BB’Q chicken and brisket, baked beans, salad, fruit and veggies, ending with peach, cherry and apple cobbler and ice cream, washed down with assorted soft drinks and cold beer, we relive the day and swap stories. With a full stomach and aching muscles, I’m ready for a hot shower and bed. I catch the 6:15 shuttle to the Best Western. Brian and Mark go for massages and take the 8 o’clock shuttle.

We’re up at 4:15 Sunday morning. Shirley, the shuttle driver, promised to be here at 5:15 to return us to the fairgrounds for breakfast and a 7 AM departure. Over pancakes and sausage, we hear about a few spills and some broken bones from yesterday. When we’ve finished, we go looking for my picture on the wall. Mystery solved. Brian rode for me last year and wore my number on his helmet. It’s his picture there on the wall under my name.

The hills came later in the day yesterday. This morning they’re in our face before the body is ready. As I always have, I’m riding with rear panniers loaded with all I need for the ride. I drop to granny and make it up all the hills, but by lunchtime I’m spent. I’m at rest stop #5. I’m standing straddling my bike and talking to Bob Biscari when I fall to my left and hit the ground. Eager hands get me upright and bandage my bleeding knee.

As Brian, Mark and I eat lunch, the SAG driver comes to offer his service. I haven’t sagged in the previous 21 MS rides. I decline the offer. After a few minutes, I climb on my bike. And my body says no. Paul puts my bike on the rack behind his SUV and drives me to the next rest stop. I stretch out on the ground and doze off. When Brian and Mark come, I join them. Just short of rest stop #8, I’m dragging. Paul picks me up again to drive me to within a mile and a half of the finish line back at Ray-Pec High School. When Brian comes, I join him for the ride in right at 5 o’clock. Mark is waiting.

My other son, Dave, has ridden in earlier MS-150’s. Back in Lee’s Summit where both boys live, and after a shower, the three of us find our way to the Pizza Hut for a recounting of our ride and a review by Dave of the unexpectedly close game between the Chiefs and the Patriots, though, as expected, the Chiefs lost. Back home in Liberty before 9, I recall the weekend for Bobbie. Then to bed.

To make up for missing the last two MS rides here in Kansas City, I’ve promised to ride this coming weekend in the Springfield ride and the Topeka ride the next week. Stay tuned for news of those.

HateBusters
Box 442
Liberty, MO 64069
Phone: 816-803-8371
e-mail: hatebuster@aol.com

No Boundaries On Our Soul!

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Copyright (c) 2000-2008 http://www.hatebusters.com and TakeCareOfMyWebSite.com.
All rights reserved.