Waterbury mother says her family received a racist letter when they moved to a part of town
WATERBURY, Connecticut (WTNH) – A Waterbury mother says she and her family recently received a racist letter when they moved to the East Mountain neighborhood.
Tashia Autry and her family have chosen to move into a quiet area of Waterbury with beautiful houses, trees and flowers. But, they say they went through something ugly while moving into their new home.
Autry says someone sent them an anonymous letter filled with racism.
Autry, who is black, says the letter praised them for “coming over to the east side.” She immediately recognized this as a reference to the theme song and opening sequence for hit 70s sitcom “The Jeffersons”.
The intro for this show includes a theme song with the lyrics, “Well, we’re going up… to the east side… to a luxury apartment in the sky….” The show featured a successful black family leaving their old quarter to a luxury skyscraper on the east side of town.
What happened next in the letter to Autry was much worse, she said.
“Now that you are here and out of the ghetto, please leave your ghetto on the other side of town,” wrote the anonymous author of the letter. “No one wants to hear your music blowing up on your car stereos while you’re sitting in your car smoking drugs.”
This left Autry furious.
“Where am I from?” ” she asked. “How do you know where I’m from?” you just assumed [the ghetto] because of my color?… Are we sitting in our cars drugging ourselves? You can give me a drug test… I’ve never done drugs in my life.
The letter prompted a reaction from the community.
Alderman George Noujaim released this statement to News 8:
“I am deeply disturbed by the anonymous letter that was given to one of the residents of our neighborhood at their home. I am appalled that someone has the audacity to write a letter like this and hand it over to a neighbor with disgusting rhetoric, claims and racial language and insinuating how to behave in ‘their neighborhood’. On behalf of my community and my district, we apologize to the owner and his family for such a disgusting act and it will not be tolerated. The East Mountain region, the East End and Waterbury as a whole have a variety of residents of different backgrounds, nationalities and religions and that is the beauty of where we live. As a Middle Easterner and an immigrant, I am disheartened by this. “
Jo Anne Guerriero of the East Mountain Neighborhood Association told us that this does not match the neighborhood where she has lived for almost 30 years.
“I’m shocked, really shocked,” she said. “It bothers me because I have never experienced anything like this before.”
Guerriero told News 8 that she hopes this incident can lead to growth in the future. She expects this to be a big topic of discussion at the next neighborhood association meeting on June 16.
“I hope whoever sent this steps up,” Guerriero said.
“It’s not good,” Autry said.