Wes Smith can sum his feelings up with only one word – surprised.
The McCordsville resident’s surprise comes from a letter he says he received that discussed his African-American race and a birthday party he hosted a year ago.
The letter, which was handwritten, was addressed from the Neighborhood Assoc and the author tells the Smith family they “took time out of their busy day” to write the letter and they speak for the entire neighborhood.
“My wife and I were surprised, especially with having to wait for an entire year to hear from whoever it was,” Smith told Giant FM.
In the letter, the author states they remember a 30th birthday bash that featured loud music and a loud posse.
“I could not be more disappointed to be living next to a black family,” the author wrote.
The author writes that they do want that to happen again and asks the family to reconsider.
“We do not want to bring what is going on in the city to our peaceful town. Think about it, digest it, and be a good neighbor. Do not go disturbing the peace, or we will be forced to shut it down. Thank you,” the author wrote.
Smith tells Giant FM that everyone knew about the birthday party, it was posted on a community Facebook page and the family asked for forgiveness beforehand due to having a DJ, cars, etc.
“We kept it between the hours of 2-6 out of consideration for bed times and children, but we thought we followed what would be typical protocols to keep everything cordial. We invited some of the neighbors over, but we received not one complaint, and most everybody said they had fun and enjoyed my birthday,” he said.
Smith said his family has not had any issues in regards to racist activity from others.
“We know of others in the neighborhood that have certainly had run-ins, however,” he said.
Despite the letter, Smith said his family is not concerned.
“We are going to continue to live our lives. We’ll send out another mass message out to the neighborhood for an invitation over to the 31st party,” said Smith, adding the McCordsville Police have been tremendous and are investigating the incident.
The letter is a “teaching moment,” according to Smith for whoever sent the letter and those who question the validity of the letter.
“My wife and I even hesitated to not only report this to the police, but also do any sort of interviews for this. Immediately once the media posted about it, it was, naturally, all over social media, which opened doors to everyone’s rightful opinions, whether they were right or wrong. And, I think that’s what hurts the most. The lesson lies with looking at yourself and finding out who is the problem. You don’t want to be caught on the wrong side of history – the side that believes racism doesn’t exist anymore, the side that believes blacks are seeking attention, the side that believes Black Lives Matter means “ONLY” Black Lives Matter. It’s disheartening to say the least that now this has been brought to my doorstep and my family is now up for the court of public opinion,” Smith said.
However, he tells Giant FM those incidents will not stop him.
“This doesn’t take away my newfound drive to educate those that are uneducated about racial injustices and the fact that it runs rampant in our once peaceful town. The community, my neighborhood, my immediate neighbors who have shown love, my wife and I have been overwhelmed on that side of the fence. It’s been amazing the number of people that have reached out to us. They’ve let us know they stand by us, the support whatever we need, and they are coming to the next party, which is awesome,” Smith said.
And, he has a clear message for those who wish to deter him.
“We’ll be here in McCordsville for some time to come and will leave on our own accord when we very well please,” Smith told Giant FM.