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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, July 23, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesMr. McKean Said What I Could Not

Mr. McKean Said What I Could Not

Dear Source:
I arrived on St. Thomas in 1978 and thought I had found Paradise, I was 22 years old. The Virgin Islands was, for a very long time just that– Paradise. I was a sailor so that's where I started. I got my Captain's license and worked in the tourist industry for the next 15 years. The next 8 years were at a land surveying company. I really felt as though I was part of the community, made so many new friends black and white and felt safe no matter where I went. Then, something happened, was it the first time I was robbed or was it when someone told me to go "back where I came from"? There are trade-offs no matter where you live – but respect for one another, friendliness, peace of mind, these are things I didn't think I would have to give up.
I got married in 1993 at Fairchild Park; all of our friends and co- workers were there. I think I was in denial that life couldn't be any better than this! A few years later children were our focus. But why did I feel I was a prisoner in my own home? Go to work; come home. I was so tired and afraid of being harassed every time I walked down the street. Go out after dark – forget about it! All of a sudden I was being ignored in shops, fast food restaurants; it was as if I didn't exist anymore. I knew it was because I am white but I was too afraid to say anything. My husband and I thought that we would spend the rest of our lives on St. Thomas. We both had great jobs. Our children would learn how to dive before they rode a bike! It was not to be. We sold our home and started all over again in Michigan in 2001. After 23 years I was afraid to live on St. Thomas.
There are so many wonderful people that make up the people of the Caribbean, in particular the U.S. Virgin Islands. I hate to see what has happened because of a few. I'm glad Mr. McKean wrote his letter; it gave me the courage to write my mine. Thanks.
Heather Chadwick-Johne
Fife Lake, Michigan

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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