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Woman Faces Backlash From Neighbors Over 'Offensive' Flag In Her Backyard

Photo Credit: KTSM

Photo Credit: KTSM

Note: we are republishing this story amid an ongoing nationwide conversation about race and racial justice in America.

Karen Linen, a longtime resident of the northeast area of El Paso, maintained that she’s never had problems with her neighbors. However, this changed when she decided to honor her Black culture by flying a flag in her own backyard.

She celebrated the Juneteenth holiday by flying the African American flag that symbolizes pride and culture for the black community in the country.

The Juneteenth holiday celebrates the day in 1865 that all enslaved black people were finally emancipated. As the Black Lives Matter movement has held protests all over the country, this has also raised the awareness of Juneteenth’s significance for the black community.

Days after the holiday, Linen took down the flag for maintenance. However, ten days after putting up the flag, she received an anonymous letter targeting the flag.

Photo Credit: KTSM

Photo Credit: KTSM

It read:

Please remove that racist flag from your yard, you are offending every resident on this street and in this neighborhood.

It is a disgusting display of racism and we don’t need that in this day and age of our country’s turmoil.

Thank you for being considerate.

Linen stated that the letter was in an envelope that had three stamps saying “Support the Veterans.”

“My father who this house belonged to before he passed away, was a veteran of the Vietnam and Korean wars,” she said. “You know I am proud to be an American, my dad fought for this country in a time where it was very hard, there were very few African American officers in the fifties.”

She considered that maybe the person who sent the letter had no idea what the flag meant, and that she didn’t feel that the response was appropriate.

Photo Credit: KTSM

Photo Credit: KTSM

Linen is a retired home nurse, and she revealed that she had to enter home that were flying flags that made her uncomfortable.

“I mean how many confederate flags have we seen? I’ve driven to many houses that had the Confederate flag,” Linen said. “Fortunately none of them ever treated me badly, but yeah I felt like should I really go in here or not.”

Together with her two daughters, Linen sent a message to the community, and addressed the anonymous sender: “Educate yourself, know what you’re talking about before you spew that I’m spreading racism and this letter in itself is racist.”

She maintained that she would continue to raise the flag in her yard, but would also increase security in her home.


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