Teenager Nandita Kumar received an anonymous letter from one of her Lake Oswego, Oregon neighbors asking her to take down the Black Lives Matter artwork she painted in her window. The letter claimed that the signage —which read “Silence supports police violence” — was decreasing the property values of homes on the street.
“We, your neighbors, appreciate that you have a strong political and social justice viewpoint and wish to communicate that to others via your window sign. The first amendment gives you that right. We believe you’ve made your point,” the letter begins.
“As tensions rise in our city, home is the safe and quiet place we wanted to return to after being at work. We want to come home to a beautiful street where neighbors care and support one another.
“We have three homes on our street that are trying to sell for the best price possible,” it continues. “Your sign is driving down interest to live on this street, hence our property values suffer (including yours).”
The letter continues by asking Kumar to remove the signage and “save your political viewpoint for inside your home.”
“Homes are not made to be build boards [sic] for our opinions, they are a place for families to rest, enjoy life and feel safe,” it concludes. “Thank you in advance for caring enough about the people you live side by side (especially with different viewpoints) by removing your sign.”
The letter, which was posted on Twitter by the Kumar’s sister, has since gone viral. The city of Lake Oswego responded to the letter by siding with the 15-year-old and her family.
“This morning, we learned that a Lake Oswego family recently received an anonymous letter requesting the removal of Black Lives Matter signs from their home. We stand in solidarity with this family,” a statement from the city’s Twitter account read. “Everyone should be able to thrive in Lake Oswego without worrying about how the color of their skin affects their opportunities. No one should have to live with suspicion and fear of one’s neighbors.”
Local resident Julián Jaramillo told KPTV News he was inspired to put up his own Black Lives Matter sign after seeing the letter.
“It just feels so insensitive over house prices, come on,” he told the outlet. “I hate that they got the letter and I hate that we live in a community… that feels they’re entitled to ask for somebody to remove and change their point of view just because the house up the street is for sale. I mean, that doesn’t make any sense to me.”
See the letter and Lake Oswego’s statement below.
my younger sister painted a sign on the front window of our house to show our support of the #BLM movement, and was sent this in the mail from one of our neighbors. 100% on brand for lake oswego ✨ pic.twitter.com/TFryIAU5Yd— divya (@pivyak) August 2, 2020
A Message from Martha Bennett, Lake Oswego City Manager:— City of Lake Oswego (@LakeOswegoInfo) August 4, 2020
“This morning, we learned that a Lake Oswego family recently received an anonymous letter requesting the removal of Black Lives Matter signs from their home. We stand in solidarity with this family.