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Mayor says racism not rampant in Hagerstown

April 04, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN

The City of Hagerstown is no more racist - and probably less - than other cities, Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said during a prepared statement at the end of last Tuesday's Hagerstown City Council meeting.

During the meeting, Bruchey did not explain what inspired his statement.

But, in a telephone interview Monday, Bruchey said he has heard many citizen questions and concerns about racism in the city, including its government, since he took office March 1. He said he wanted to address all of the comments at once, with a statement during a televised council meeting.

Bruchey declined to give The Herald-Mail a copy of his statement after the meeting concluded, but said he would release one the following day.

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However, he didn't return several messages left for him at City Hall, his home and his cell phone Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

On Monday, The Herald-Mail reviewed a tape of the meeting at City Hall to document his comments.

"In the past few months, there has been much speculation as to the degree of racism in our city - not only our citizens, but our government as well," Bruchey began. "I'm here to set the record straight."

Hagerstown has its share of racism, he continued, but so do Miami, San Antonio and many other cities, states and countries.

"So, to say that racism does not exist is not only foolish, but irresponsible," Bruchey said. "I wish that someone could wave a magic wand and make everyone on this Earth equal, not only in the Lord's eyes, but in his people's eyes, as well."

That, too, is foolish to expect, he said.

So, for now, Hagerstown seems to have less of a racism problem than other communities, he said.

He said the city's employees, elected officials "and a majority of our citizens will stand up and fight racism whenever and wherever it raises its ugly head."

"We're a people of acceptance and goodwill ... a community of tolerance and acceptance," Bruchey said.

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