Letter to the Editor:

We’re guessing that most of you have seen the photo of a man dressed in a KKK robe and hood walking on Hwy. K in Conover June 12. 

Unfortunately, it’s easy to find it if you missed it. The story appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and several newspapers in Wisconsin, as well as in the New York Post, Newsweek and all over Facebook. 

This is not what we want the North Woods to be known for. It makes us sick, disgusted, sad and fearful.

While people are out in the streets demonstrating against the racism rampant in our country, we’ve sometimes allowed ourselves to feel isolated from it. We’re up here to experience the solitude of the woods, to watch the wildlife, to listen to the peepers and wood frogs, to enjoy the lakes and to escape the craziness of the cities. It’s a wonderful place to live and a great place to vacation. 

But, much as we’d like to at times, we can’t ignore the hatred and violence out there. Now we’re seeing it in our own backyard.

The KKK is classified as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. According to the Vilas County Sheriff’s Department, this man did not commit a crime. 

Gregory Jones, president of the Dane County NAACP, called the incident a “terrorist act” and warned people in Vilas County to be watchful. “It is intended to create fear among people — even people who are not of color. (People in Vilas County) should be mindful and be willing to stand up and say this is not acceptable in our county at all.”

While it may not be a crime, 45 of us who love the North Woods were upset enough by that photo, what it represents and the response from the Vilas County sheriff, that we felt it was important to show that racist displays of any kind are not what we’re about. 

We made a group donation of over $4,000 to the ACLU of Wisconsin as Northwoods Friends Against Racism. That’s a better example of what we’d like the North Woods to be known for. 

Barb and Dan Benson

Michele Bergstrom

Lucy Brundage

Will and Jody Buergey

Ursula and William Charaf

Chris Culligan

Fred and Corinne Duerkop

Jim and Kathy Floriano

Donna and Mike Garfield

Mayme Hoffman

Jim and Kathy Holperin

Barb and Ed Hook

Bernie and Marlyn Hupperts

Steve and Rita Kickert

Steve, Lynn and Sara Klemann

Jim and Margaret Marrs

Norm and Cassandra Nass

Mike and Gayla Newmeister

Diane and Randy Niemczyk

Bill and Lillis Raboin

Lynn Richie

Bob and Terry Simeone

Bob and Kitty Sookochoff

David and Tasha Sookochoff

Susan Messner Whipp

And 20 more anonymous donors