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This letter to the editor was submitted to LebTown. Read our submission policy here.
I was taken aback by Amaury Abreu’s recent column on white privilege and white supremacy, published by LebTown on June 12, 2020. Specifically, I was offended by him challenging me in a public forum, along with other elected servants, immediately after stating in no uncertain terms his belief that white supremacy is alive and well in Lebanon County. By doing so, Mr. Abreu inferred that I somehow condone white supremacy.
I am puzzled as to why Mr. Abreu did not simply pick up the phone or email to discuss any concerns he may have on this topic. When he wanted to sit down and interview me for his podcast last year, he did not hesitate use those methods to contact my office to make the arrangements. We had a fantastic discussion on entrepreneurship and how I applied entrepreneurial skills to the political world. We also discussed the value of personal relationships in both business and politics, and my efforts to convince two women of different races and religions to focus on their commonalities rather than their differences.
When I subsequently invited Mr. Abreu to join me in Harrisburg as a guest on the floor of the House of Representatives, those arrangements were made by telephone or email as well. I was thrilled when the Speaker of the House introduced him with the dignity and respect offered to all House guests, as well as by the welcoming applause of my fellow House members.
I was a little dismayed, however, that when his visit on the House floor was completed, Mr. Abreu advised me that he was going to spend some time with another House member, specifically citing their common heritage as a reason for doing so. Despite the fact that the other member and I share duties on a standing committee of the House, I was not invited to be included in that activity. I got the distinct feeling at the time that I was not welcome despite Mr. Abreu being in the capitol at my invitation, but later acknowledged I may have just gotten the wrong impression.
Just nine days prior to publishing Mr. Abreu’s column, LebTown published my column on unity in which I stated that America’s core values are the key to unity, including the principle that we are all equal as individuals, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. One cannot begin to appreciate this principle, capitalize on our commonalities, or begin to seek unity if one views the world through lenses which are already focused on differences such as race, skin color, or heritage.
I was under the impression that Mr. Abreu and I had at least developed the baseline of a personal relationship which could help foster further one-on-one communication. Perhaps I was mistaken. By attempting to challenge me in a public forum and telegraphing that I might condone white supremacy, Mr. Abreu says more about himself than he does about me. If he really wanted to have a conversation on this topic, he should have just picked up the phone or emailed like he did when he wanted me to provide content for his podcast and when he accepted my invitation to the capitol.
Links from Mr. Abreu regarding our previous interactions:
Representative Russ Diamond
102nd Legislative District
Russ Diamond is the state Representative for the 102nd Legislative District, which includes northern and eastern portions of Lebanon County.