From a Mail Tribune, Oct. 6 story: “Ashland Mayor Julie Akins spoke out about the threats (to Oregon Shakespeare Festival artistic director Nataki Garrett) at Tuesday’s Ashland City Council meeting and urged the community to take action.
“Akins said she’s spoken with Garrett and OSF Executive Director David Schmitz about the death threats that prompted the nonprofit to hire a private security detail.
“Akins stated that Garrett, as a Black woman, ‘has been subjected to racism in this community, and so have members of her staff.’ …
“Akins had Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara contact Garrett, OSF and her security detail ‘so that we may ascertain the nature of threats against her and her staff and neutralize them.’
“O’Meara said Wednesday that his department was unaware of the threats prior to the news story.”
Given that specific Ashland individuals and citizens as a whole are being tarred with a broad, rapidly moving, and sloppily applied brush of racism and outrage — abstract expressionism presented as reasoned argument — and disseminated to a national audience, it is necessary that the exact nature, and — to the the extent that it can be disclosed — the sources of the threats must be generally known. Absent this information, it’s impossible to know quite how any individual or the community as a whole is suppose to “take action” or assume any responsibility, whatsoever. Certainly, historical accounts can’t be adduced to implicate someone in this matter.
I encourage OSF officials to fully cooperate with the Ashland police and any other law enforcement agencies to find the specific perpetrators. Justice and a properly grounded discussion require it.