EL PASO, Texas (KTSM)– Karen Linen is a longtime El Paso resident, residing in the Northeast area of the city. She said she’s never had any problems with her neighbors–until the day she decided to fly a flag celebrating her Black culture–in her own backyard.
Linen said she celebrated the Juneteenth holiday on June 19 by flying up the African American flag meant to symbolize the pride and culture for the Black community in America.
Juneteenth is a holiday celebrating the day in 1865 that all enslaved black people learned they had been freed from bondage. As KTSM reported, for many white Americans, recent protests over police brutality have driven their awareness of Juneteenth’s significance.
Within the days following the holiday, Linen took her flag down for maintenance, but ten days after Juneteenth, she received an anonymous letter in her mailbox, targeting her flag.
The letter said:
Please remove that racist flag from your yard, you are offending every resident on this street and in this neighborhood.
It is a disgusting display of racism and we don’t need that in this day and age of our country’s turmoil.
Thank you for being considerate.
Linen said the envelope which the letter came in had three stamps saying “Support the Veterans.”
“My father who this house belonged to before he passed away, was a veteran of the Vietnam and Korean wars,” Linen said. “You know I am proud to be an American, my dad fought for this country in a time where it was very hard, there were very few African American officers in the fifties.”
Linen said maybe whoever sent her the letter didn’t know what the flag meant, however, she doesn’t feel that response was appropriate.
She is a retired home nurse, saying she herself has had to enter homes flying up flags which made her uncomfortable.
“I mean how many confederate flags have we seen? I’ve driven to many houses that had the Confederate flag,” Linen said. “Fortunately none of them ever treated me badly, but yeah I felt like should I really go in here or not.”
Linen, along with her two daughters, send a message to the community and her anonymous neighbor:
“Educate yourself, know what you’re talking about before you spew that I’m spreading racism and this letter in itself is racist,” Linen said.
The El Paso woman said she will continue to keep her flag up in her yard despite the letter she received, but she will increase security in her home.