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Letter to the Editor: CHS graduates ‘condemn’ Trump chant

March 15, 2017 Opinion 2 Comments

To the Editor:

On March 13, 2017, members of Canton High School’s Class of 2008 wrote an open letter condemning the “Trump” chants that took place at a CHS basketball game. In less than 24 hours, over 200 CHS alumni signed the open letter, representing over 26 graduating classes. More and more signatures are being added by the hour. The overwhelming support and encouragement reiterates the CHS community’s commitment to equality. The letter (seen below) represents not just a statement of our views, but a willingness to take action. We are eager to be a part of and help facilitate more conversations moving forward to make sure Canton remains a community committed to combating racism in all forms. 

As alumni and members of the extended Canton High School community, we condemn racism in all forms.

We were dismayed to hear that a small group of Canton students taunted black and Hispanic basketball players from Hartford’s Classical Magnet School by chanting “Trump” during a game in Canton on February 28.

As a multi-racial group of Canton alums, the meaning of this chant was not lost on us. Donald Trump ran a campaign fueled by fear and anger toward immigrants and Muslims. He has filled his cabinet with appointees hostile to racial progress and has demonstrated in his first 50 days that he fully intends to put his campaign promises into action. We know there are those who would prefer to see this incident through the lens of partisanship, but that is an evasion. None of the players from Hartford, none of their parents and friends, and none of us are mistaken about what that chant meant in that context. By chanting the president’s name, Canton fans were reminding their black and brown opponents that no matter what happens on the basketball court, out in the real world, white people have the power. It was not just mean-spirited; it was cowardly.

To make matters even more clear, some Canton fans also chanted “we pay your welfare.” In doing so, they betrayed not only their racist and ignorant assumptions, but an ugly disdain for anyone on government assistance.

We wish we could say unequivocally that this is “not the Canton we remember.” But that’s not completely true. As a small, mostly white suburb in America, a certain undercurrent of white chauvinism comes with the territory. We recall wincing at the occasional racist joke or slur. We remember when our black classmates were unfairly singled out for punishment.

But we also remember a Canton community that always aspired to be tolerant and equitable. Those who expressed racist views were told to knock it off. And those who may have held hateful views privately, understood that expressing them publicly would have harmful social consequences. While many of us have moved away, Canton was a formative part of our upbringing. It was in our little town that we learned to be the accepting and understanding adults that we are today. We are proud of the Canton students who have already taken a stand against these malicious acts and we are hopeful that Canton families will continue to raise—and Canton teachers will continue to educate—kind, caring people who have the courage to speak out against injustice.

We hope this letter can contribute to conversations already underway among students, parents, teachers, and other community members. We are eager to be a part of and help facilitate those conversations in whatever way we can.

Preventing racism from being normalized in our community requires vigilance. And it’s everyone’s responsibility. We hope this incident can be the impetus for a frank appraisal of how well we are fulfilling that responsibility.


Class of 2008
Sam Adler-Bell
Alex Cabeceiras
Avery Lord
Justin Rice
Christopher Rivers
David White
Alana Quattro
Alex Kania
Alexandra Smith
Allison Bernhard
Andrew Magennis
Ashley Lusky
Bowen Burditt
Chelsea Hammond
Daniel Kozlowski
David Holmes
Elizabeth Camporeale
Elizabeth Norton
Emily L Ashton (Hartzell)
Emily Getler
Jeffrey Boratko
Josh Bregman
Julia Keane
Katherine Sodaro
Kelley Shine
Kimberly Tormay
Leah Levy
Marla Schilling
Matthew Setzler
Michael Detelj
Morgan Carrin
Mwamba Williams
Rachel Pepin
Stephen Juhl
Sylvia Doyle

Class of 1967
Trisha Symonds Keane

Class of 1973
Mark Diters

Class of 1974
Susan Moneymaker Diters

Class of 1975
Peter Reynolds

Class of 1978
Jennifer (Mills) Hartzell

Class of 1984
Jonathan S. Simmons

Class of 1990
Kimberly Brusseau

Class of 1996
Bryan Rydingsward

Class of 1997
Nika Morisano Brian Randolph

Class of 1998
Carolyn McClinton O’Connor
Malissa Trainor (Rose)
Wade Zamechek

Class of 1999
Justin Marksamer

Class of 2000
Matthew Biercz

Class of 2001
Abigail Borchert Sheena Harmon

Class of 2002
Dallas Foster
Francesca Pra Morisano
Justin Iskra
Kristen Nielsen
Lia Gaona
Nicole Penoncello
Rachel Reynolds
William Storey

Class of 2003
Anthony Daniels
Brandi Cahill
Christina Bristol
Darlene Gilbertie
Dwight D Harmon
Hannah Redman
Jennifer Madden
Megan Kania
Randall Rice
Vanessa Sarek Churchill
Zachary Campbell

Class of 2004
Daniel Volovski
Jeffrey Futterleib
Kate Rhea
Meghan (Magennis) Milo Nicole Goldschmidt Sarah Gusky

Class of 2005
Alexandra Byus Doherty
Angelina Rosa Imperiale
Ashley Ledbetter
Ashley Snedeker (McFetridge)
Caroline Alvarez
Dan Marolda
Danielle Gagnon (Stanhope)
Emma C. Scanlan
Erin Belford
Hannah Mauger
Ilana Adler-Bell
Kristin Hopkins (Stanwood)
Lindsay Cadieux
Megan Nielsen
Molly Douglas
Nicole Lareau
Reginald Raye
Sarah Kaplan
Yesenia Otero

Class of 2006
Ashley Frieson
Dan Podesla
Jacqueline Cahill
Jessie DeMarco
Kyle Martin
Macarena Gallardo
Martin Goldschmidt
Michael Connon
Stephanie Lentz
Steven Madigan

Class of 2007
Alex Kulha
Bill Scanlan
Chris Bradley
Christa Tubach
Gregory Carpenter
James Purcell
Jared Balavender
Kelsey Dahling
Kelsey Lockwood
Kristen Kelly
Molly Checksfield
Tom Cable

Class of 2009
Aaron Deaver
Anne Rhea
Allie Cipolla
Amelia Byko
Carly Gilchrist
Christopher Melite
Ethan Balavender
Greer Skinner
Kevin Miner
Kyle Macbeth
Lucas Talbot
Nathaniel Haller
Sarah Rohlfing
Scott Zero
Sean Hutton
Sheri Seger
Sophie Case
Steven McFetridge
Wesley Nichols

Class of 2010
Daniel Aune
David Golfin
Emma Staudacher
Jackson FitzGerald
Margaret K
Mia Alicata
Michael Cahill
Mike Glasgow
Sam Reynolds
Sean Murphy
Trevor Boman
Tyler J Smith

Class of 2011
Alexa Handel
Amanda Valley
Camila Rich
Colleen Barnhart
Dylan Jockel
Ev Alexander
Hannah Bernhard
Jenna Podesla
Jenna Stanwood
Jordan Edgren
Kelly Day
Megan Roux
Monique Cevasco
Nicholas Isola
Paige Nelson
Tomas Cruz
Thomas Rorick

Class of 2012
Alicia Gagnon
Andrea True
Emerson Mason Cheney
Ian Melrose
Kevin L. Szydlo
Marissa DiBella
Matoaka Kipp
Stephanie Gauthier
Thomas Kelley
William Villano

Class of 2013
Alison Hammond
Christopher Giesselman
Emily Barger
Emily Camilleri
Kaitlin Cowles

Class of 2014
Alexandra Martin
Andrew Zukowski
Deirdre Kronschnabel
Emily Jarka
Hannah Schneider
Holly Whytock
Isabelle Albin
Jessica Napier
Leigh-Ana Rossitto
Lucas Rich
Natalie Ericson
Victoria Howland
Zoe Van Kirk

Class of 2015
Emma Skinner
Jake Tilton
Luca Frez-Albrecht
Thomas Nagy

Class of 2016
Adam Eytan
Charley Batan
Damon Kates
Julie Ericson
Mia Tuccillo



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