We at Campus Friends Meeting (Quakers) in Wilmington read with dismay and sadness the anonymous flyer found outside Sugartree Ministries.
The flyer’s contents are addressed to “bums / backpack drug addicts and drug dealers”. The flyer appears to be directed toward those who may be experiencing homelessness or need the services that Sugartree Ministries provides. The flyer portrays the individuals it addresses as dehumanized parasites on society, using the word “leeches”, which is to say blood-sucking worms.
Also worrisome is the flyer’s use of the hunting-related phrase “open season” in connection with the start of a threatened purge against these fellow human beings.
By way of contrast, a high point in our local history occurred when Clinton Countians shone bright in the way we responded to the devastating economic hardships here in the months and years after DHL closed operations and thousands lost their jobs. You may recall that Sugartree Ministries played a role at the time as part of a communitywide response (which included many individuals, organizations, and public servants in government) to the economic crisis in which many residents lost their homes through foreclosure.
We consider Sugartree Ministries in 2023 to be continuing its street ministry to the down-and-out, encompassing persons suffering from substance addictions, mental health problems, poverty, and from the realities of homelessness. We encourage anyone concerned about the flyer’s dehumanizing and suggestively violent language to speak out against the suggestion that violence be a part of the community’s response to these individuals. We hope our local elected officials and candidates for public office will speak out also.
The streets and woods are difficult places to live for anybody, especially those with debilitating mental conditions or addictions in need of services. Sugartree Ministries does what it can to express God’s love for all people, and for that we can be grateful.
Campus Friends Meeting