Editor’s Note: Terry Dickson’s column as it appeared in the physical paper was presented as an opinion piece. The online version of the column was not labeled as such and appeared as local news. The News has corrected this mistake online and apologizes for any confusion that was caused.

Dismay turned to anger as I read Terry Dickson’s June 15 column. I have known Terry for many years, and I would call him a friend. I respect his work as a reporter — and as a community gardener. Philosophically, we have always known we are on different ends of the political and policy spectrum. So, while I was saddened to read Terry’s column mocking valid and very real concerns for many people across our country, I wasn’t terribly surprised.

However, that The Brunswick News embraced it and printed it, as “news” not even merely an opinion piece, was shameful. Glynn County should be ground zero for the policy and perspective changes needed to address the discrimination, inequality and deep-seated racial injustice that the tragic, senseless murder of Ahmaud Arbery exposed. We should be working constantly to confront bias and find ways to correct the harm caused by the legacies of slavery, the Civil War and systemic racism. As our main media source, The Brunswick News should be helping lead that conversation instead of driving the wedge deeper and sarcastically implying the wounds aren’t real.

As Georgia’s General Assembly reconvened on Monday, we should have been reading about the urgent need to pass a hate crimes law. Instead, our “News” made protesters into criminals and John Brown Gordon into a role model. This newspaper owes the community so much more, and this community owes every resident a pathway to liberty, equality, and justice. Symbols matter, as do actions and words.

Valerie Hepburn

St. Simons Island

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