Bank changes course on B.L.M. sign

After removing sign that drew a complaint, bank vows to reinstate it. 

102
Rockland Trust recently removed a Black Lives Matter sign after receiving a complaint. - Lucas Thors

Updated 5:15 pm

A local branch of Rockland Trust recently chose to display a Black Lives Matter sign, then removed it after it received a complaint about it. The manager of the branch said the sign was slated to come down, a decision made as part of a routine rotation of signage, among other reasons, but not due to outside pressure.

Following inquiries by The Times Wednesday, the CEO of the bank, Chris Oddleifson, said the sign will be put back up.

In a June 28 email, Jane Chittick, an Edgartown resident, wrote several Rockland Trust officers, including Oddleifson and branch manager Delos (“Dee”) Lander to complain about a Black Lives Matter sign at the branch. She prefaced her email with quotes she attributed to activist Hawk Newsome:

“‘This country is built upon violence,’ Newsome said, pointing to the American Revolution and modern American diplomacy as examples. ‘We go in and we blow up countries and we replace their leaders with leaders who we like. So for any American to accuse us of being violent, it’s extremely hypocritical.’”

“Originally, the group was peaceful,” Chittick wrote. “No longer. I object to these signs in your window. Are we all supposed to post these signs in our homes to ‘prove’ we are not racist? Really??!! Do you all have these signs in your own front lawn? Why do you have to lecture me if all I want to do is to bank with you? I know how to live in a community among friends and strangers alike.”

Chittick also wrote, “I think ALL lives matter, not just black, and I take offense at this.”

In Oddleleif’s initial response on June 28, he thanked Chittick for her email and wrote that he was a “big fan” of her brother who, like himself, loves sailing.

His next email on June 29 was more expansive. 

“My understanding,” he wrote, “or perhaps misunderstanding, from your original email is that you are not interested in my or the Rockland Trust’s opinion on Black Lives Matter. It was out of respect of your desire that I did not address the main message of your email. As this may be a misunderstanding, in a nutshell, the events of the last couple months, and the historical persistent inequality lead me to believe many communities need to be reminded that black lives matter, and diversity throughout organizations (including at Rockland Trust) is critical for long-term organizational sustainability. I am not familiar with signs in the windows, and I have asked the executive responsible for the branches to look into this.”

In an email sent 12 minutes later, Lander indicated the signs had been taken down.

“Jane, I have discussed this matter with Tilma [Johnson] and my managers, and we have decided to remove the signs,” Lander wrote. “We will be using more traditional messaging from our marketing team that demonstrates Rockland’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

In a subsequent email, Chittick thanked “Dee et al” for removing the signs. She went on to write she believed the bank may need to examine its diversity screening in human resources.

“Frankly,” she wrote, “I don’t know why your bank employees weren’t vetted or outed for discriminatory remarks and behavior before, but that is a matter for Rockland to address head-on, and I’m glad you are going to do this.”

She went on to express opinions about Black Lives Matter.

“I don’t know why you think Americans are all racist and that we ‘need to be reminded,’” she wrote, “as you say, that black lives matter? But, that’s your belief and so be it. Anyway: I’m for all people regardless of skin tones and eye differences. However, I AM firmly against anarchy and violence and looting and arson, and … getting sucked into political movements that have morphed into destruction[.]”

Lander told The Times the sign was composed of three pieces of 8.5- by 11-in. paper, and had been put up in a window by branch staff, along with a corporate sign supporting gay pride. 

“They both came down,” he said. 

Like the pride sign, the Black Lives Matter sign had been up for approximately two weeks, Lander said. One or both had become “faded from sun,” but nevertheless received a lot of compliments from customers.

In general, Lander said, “these type of themed events will run two to four weeks,” and the signage was “due to be changed out anyway.”

He went on to say, “We felt the message had been communicated and it was time for a change.”

He pointed out Rockland Trust has been awarded for diversity matters. 

Asked if anyone besides Chittick requested the sign be removed, Lander said, “Not that I’m aware of.” 

He also said the decision to remove the Black Lives Matter sign didn’t come from corporate headquarters. “It was a branch decision,” he said. 

Lander said it was the first time the branch displayed a Black Lives Matter sign. “We had positive feedback on that display,” he said. 

Chittick told The times she supported tolerance, inclusion, and peace, and was against racism. She said she believed Black Lives Matter has morphed into a multitude of groups, some of which are peaceful and some of which are violent. When asked if she thought Black Lives Matter was a movement, she answered by saying it’s not just composed of “only peaceful policy makers and protesters.”

Chittick said she takes offense to Black Lives Matter because she thinks it’s exclusionary.

“I think that’s a racist statement in and of itself. It’s very racist.”

Asked if she thought Rockland Trust removed the signs because of her comments, Chittick replied, “Well, they’re not there, are they?”

In a statement sent on Wednesday, Oddleifson expressed the bank’s supportive position on Black Lives Matter, and noted a new sign is going up.

“Rockland Trust fervently stands with the Black Lives Matter movement messages of justice, fairness, and equality,” he stated. “Decisions regarding signage should be made at the corporate level. The branch was not instructed to take this signage down, and the Rockland Trust marketing team has developed a new sign to replace the damaged sign with the same messaging.”

  • She had the option to take her business elsewhere – there’s more than one bank on this island. If I were the CEO I would have asked her to do just that.

  • Well I happen to be a Rockland Trust customer and I insist you put the Black Lives Matter signs back up. Jane Chittick ” I know how to live in a community among friends and strangers alike.” I don’t think you do dear. Have you ever been followed around a store because they thought you were going to steal something? Have you noticed people crossing the street to get away from you? You don’t have a clue what it’s like to live inside black skin. The protesters have been vastly peaceful and those that haven’t been have mostly been determined to be outside agitators. Hey Rockland Trust…you’re going to need a bigger sign. BLACK LIVES MATTER because cops aren’t kneeling on white necks.

    • When can we put up signs saying “Blue Lives Matter”, Veterans Lives Matter”, “All Lives Matter”?
      Any problem with that?

      • Tis- Did you even read Susie’s comment? Last time I checked, police and veterans weren’t being racially profiled for being police or veterans. See how ridiculous that sounds? That’s how ridiculous YOU sound.

        • KDi —You dont get it plus I don`t get into useless pi$$ing contests with anybody, I just make my point, state my opinion and let you guys and jackie hash it all out. I just happen to totally believe that those signs should be plastered all over Chicago where they should be placed and not in windows of stores, banks, telephones poles on our island. I salute the lady for taking a bold stance and express her 1st Amendment Rights! I totally agree with her!

          • Me: You don’t get it!
            You: No, YOU don’t get it!
            Me: [a la George Constanza] Well, that’s it for me!

      • tis– what I do have a problem with is the attitude that some lives matter more than others. if a white girl gets murdered by an “illegal” all hell breaks loose on right wing media and “hate radio”
        If an “illegal”gets murdered by a racist ice officer, well,” too bad, they shouldn’t have been here anyway” according to hate radio , and hate trump network news.
        All lives matter.. But the fact is, the right wing media could care less if a person of color is murdered, but makes it a “federal case “if a white kid gets caught in crossfire, or is abducted.

      • Well, Here in NYC, the head of BLM went on TV and said “if we don’t get what we want, then we will burn the city down.”
        I would like to know what you all think about this.

        • Who is this alleged “head of Black Lives Matter” and where did you hear or read this purported statement? If you want to know what I think of your comment: not much.

          • The statement is not purported. It was stated.
            He was on our local station NY!. He is the head of BLM in New York City. I don’t approve of violence.
            Hope MV stays safe.

          • The statement was made by Hawk Newsome, Chairman of BLM Greater New York. To be fair he said burn the system down not the city. That being said inflammatory rhetoric that can be interpreted as supporting violence does not advance the cause.

        • It took the destruction of property (Boston Tea Party) to throw off the tyranny of English rule.

          It will take the destruction of property to throw off the tyranny of racism.

      • Hey Tis, you can put up all three of those signs on my house if I can put one on your house that reads “Statues don’t matter”

        • NewYorkCity, I will look it up, but referring to burning a system down sure does sound figurative. Burning a city is an entirely different kind of sentiment. I see no violence in “burn the system down”. This is why we should focus on the rights of millions instead of nitpicking the words of a few, looking for a reason to invalidate the cause.

      • Yes I have a problem with that,because I am not aware of blue persons or veterans being shot in the back or suffocated to death because blue persons and veterans are so frequently being mishandled by law enforcement ( not all, just the few bad apples. If you can’t see the distinction , well, welcome to the basket of deplorables.

  • The sign should be put back up immediately. The bank let themselves be bullied. Let the customer take her $ and ignorance elsewhere.

  • I think a Karen struck again. No matter how hard she tried to dissemble, it didn’t work.

  • Ms. Chittick’s attitude is precisely the reason we NEED to have signs like that. Obviously, “all lives matter.” That’s not the point. The point is to step back and realize that black people have been treated so poorly for so long that people need a reminder. The public recognition of one group does not inherently denigrate all others. Some people are so insecure that they can’t understand that.

  • Jane Chittick – perhaps it would be a good idea for you to seek some enlightenment on this topic. I know a few people who would welcome the opportunity to share their vantage point so perhaps you might understand what the BLM movement really means to so many.

  • BLM is not just a statement. It is an Organization who’s intent, through their own words, is to overthrow our government
    If they don’t get what they want. Those who threaten our country are called terroists and rival nations. I believe black lives and all lives matter. Our country will not bow down to anyone. If it was just a statement fine. Its not. Its a an Organization that has received the backing of car left socialist. Those socialists are using your ignorance to fund Democratic socialists and their political campaigns.
    This is free public knowledge. They are not giving the bulk of their money to inner city problems or minorities. Look at their financial statements. You are being blinded them. Give your money to those who truly want to help those that have been discriminated against. The DNC, Does Not Care, about anything but filling their pockets with your money.

  • Ma. Chittick is showing us all exactly why the Black Lives Matter message needs to be pressed further. She clearly does not understand the message, and she is surely not alone.

  • They will not replace us.
    Teach your children well.
    Racism is learned behaviour.

    Racism is learned behaviour.
    Teach your children well.
    They will not replace us.

    • What did the Bank do wrong?
      Was it wrong of them to take it down?
      Was it wrong of them to put it back up?
      Is it wrong for a Bank to express the sentiments of their customers?
      Their stockholders?

    • When we say Black lives matter, it means they are of equal importance. As in Black lives matter, too. The movement was predicated on incidents where one community has been treated as inferior, so the “too” is understood. Using your logic, augustawynd, when St. Jude’s raises money for pediatric cancer patients, they are implying that adults with cancer are less valuable. They are also slighting healthy people. Either everyone matters, regardless of health status, or no one matters.

      In reality, I’m sure we can agree St. Jude’s isn’t looking to marginalize a single soul. It’s just easier to provide help when the goal is specific. When the harassment and brutality are racially targeted, the campaign to stop it must be as well. We agree everyone matters and aim to honor that by putting focus on this mistreatment. To quibble about the phrasing is to distract from the effort.

      If someone does not want to fully support the organization called Black Lives Matter because of their secondary statements, that is a bit more complicated. But every single American who believes in the Constitution should feel responsible for reaffirming that Black lives matter when they are abused by police or our fellow citizens. This is bigger than any one person or organization. It’s a matter of law and basic decency.

      • Every American does feel responsible to support BLM, Aquinnah, except for the racists. You are talking to the Wind when you explain this decency to racists who spread and share their racism with no apology and no self-awareness. Augusta has proven she has no wish to educate herself. She enjoys crying about racist plaques put in museums.

      • The BLM manifesto is readily available to anyone who wants to learn about the founders beliefs and motives.
        It is an organization with specific values and either you support it or you don’t.

        • NewYorkCity, I have yet to look up the negative BLM claims that were raised in this thread but am aware of past objections to the group. None of that, real or fabricated, diminishes the need for justice. The core issue here is not about an organization or individual. It’s as simple as supporting constitutional rights for all. No one should be exempt from offering that support. Not if they truly believe in and want to preach about the law, as many here do when it suits them. The fact remains that Black people have been profiled, harassed, abused, and killed at the hands of police and those like George Zimmerman. They’ve been denied their civil rights. Caring about this should not depend on whether you agree with Alicia Garza, for example, on every single point. That is a narrow excuse. This is about supporting millions of citizens.

        • A BLM “manifesto”? Where? Link, please. You can look but you will not find a BLM manifesto because there isn’t any. Don’t spread lies.

          The first 2 paragraphs from blacklivesmatter.com “What we believe”:
          “Four years ago, what is now known as the Black Lives Matter Global Network began to organize. It started out as a chapter-based, member-led organization whose mission was to build local power and to intervene when violence was inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.
          In the years since, we’ve committed to struggling together and to imagining and creating a world free of anti-Blackness, where every Black person has the social, economic, and political power to thrive.”

          How on earth is that a message of HATE, as our racist President has claimed? How could any decent American feel offended by seeing a BLM sign in anyone’s window? In case it isn’t clear, Jane Chittick’s email to the bank and her explanation of it, are racist sentiments. Black Lives Matter is not exclusionary. Black Lives Matter is not about rioting, looting, and black crime as racists always want to talk about when the subject is racist hate and violence against people for the color of the skin, not because of any crime. I know we are not allowed to call “names” on here, but racist sentiments and statements must be called out for exactly what they are when they are so blatantly racist.

          • For your information:
            man·i·fes·to
            /ˌmanəˈfestō/
            Learn to pronounce
            noun
            noun: manifesto; plural noun: manifestos
            a public declaration of policy and aims, especially one issued before an election by a political party or candidate.
            What exactly is it about this word that you find racist?

        • nyc– you make a lot of claims about that BLM leaders say , and their “manifesto”.
          The fact is that in your first posting here, you incorrectly stated the the BLM
          chairman in NYC said “burn the city down”
          You asked my opinion– a flat out 3 pinocchio’s lie.
          As for the manifesto.
          I read it –I agree with nearly every point ?
          And since it seems you are new here, I have a suggestion. When you make claims about something, and don’t cite your sources, I will sometimes check on what you say and let you know if it is a lie.
          The MV times, becauce they value the truth will let you post links here so we can check the barrage of claptrap that often goes along with comment sections– Like this
          https://www.puckermob.com/lifestyle/black-lives-matter-just-delivered-their-10-point-manifesto-and-this-is-what-they-want/3/
          It’s really very easy, and you can do it too. I wonder why fox “news” doesn’t let you do that ?
          But back to the manifesto.. Which of the 10 points do you disagree with ?
          I particularly like # 8 –As police departments routinely confiscate the property of minorities more than whites, in violation of the 4 th amendment.
          https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/fourth_amendment

        • Yes BLM’s stated purpose is to overthrow our government.
          Just like the Colonists.
          They want to be free.
          As free as White people.
          Is that too much to ask?

    • Have u ever seen an officer with his knee on a white mans neck? Show or tell me where to find that video

      • https://theintercept.com/2019/05/02/minnesota-police-convicted-justine-damond/
        https://newsone.com/3906412/black-cop-shoots-unarmed-white-man-viral-video/

        Police kill white people all the time. As we know, black people are killed by police at a higher rate proportional to the demographic, but it happens less often than it happens to white people. That means if we hear more about police killing black people, even though more white people are being killed by police, then our media is underreporting the latter:

        https://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/apr/21/police-kill-more-whites-than-blacks-but-minority-d/

        That said, are black men statistically more likely to be killed by the police? It looks that way. But if we factor in location, we realize that it only happens in certain cities. Therefore, any black man is safe from “the statistic” if they’re not in these cities.

        Can you guess which party dominates the mayorship and governorship of these cities? Hint: look at Minneapolis.

        Do we blame the police as an institution for these systemic issues, or those elected officials who create the policy that perpetuates the problem?

        Why do they keep getting voted in?

        Why does this problem not happen in Republican cities?

        Do we need to abolish the police? No. Defund the police? No. If anything, increase their budget so that they have more means to make meaningful connections in the communities they have sworn to protect and serve.

        Is there crime in neighborhoods where the cops are also your neighbors? Is there unwarranted police brutality in neighborhoods where the police know every man, woman, and child on a first name basis?

        It’s not us vs them. The police ARE us – the bravest of “We, the People”.

        We all owe a debt of gratitude to our good law enforcement officers — the vast majority are good. The bad ones who fail and harm us deserve the stiff judgment of the rule of law.

        In the name of solidarity with all, regardless of ethnicity, and before God, our Perfect Creator, our Loving Father.

        Have a nice day!

    • Show me where the modern day slave drivers have been seen in any video with a knee on the neck of a white man and I’ll support them putting up the other two. When u have white privileged and has never encountered racism it’s easy to say other people are just tired of the inequality in our society. We all came here from somewhere so it’s time white people stop acting like they own America. The natives were first here and they are the most humbled beings. Time for us to start living as one.

  • What the bank does is news.

    In what world was it appropriate to publish Ms. Chitwicks name? This is the MVtimes, not the Washington Post.

    I don’t agree with her position but publishing her name was wildly inappropriate.

    • She agreed to be interviewed for the story and shared the emails between her and bank officials.

      • That detail should have been made explicit, not implied, in the article, for both the bank’s sake and the MVT.

    • Her Facebook page is also public. I remember the days when people like Chittick had the sense not to broadcast their imagined superiority and white privilege. Trump, the racist Birther-in-Chief, has emboldened them. He thinks BLM is about hate, so why wouldn’t his supporters promote the same untrue, systemically racist lies?

    • Proper attribution is preferable over an anonymous source for the credibility of the article.

  • How can anyone be so uninformed that they could believe this has anything to do with caring about black lives?
    If that were true they would be addressing black abortion and the outrageous numbers of blacks being killed by blacks daily.
    They would be concerned with fatherless black homes, and the need for better schools.
    This is about money, power. control and the overthrow of our government.
    This is the left , once more, using blacks for their own benefits!!

    • You seriously spew not get it and I am overwhelmingly sad and disappointed with your view of humanity.

    • Local Opine – Your comments are so deeply offensive to so many people. And yes, racist. And, no, you can’t see it, but you could try. And to Ms Chittick, whose social media feed is infused with anti-immigrant sentiments and Fox News talking points, this is not about you. Stop and hear yourself. Listen to what thoughtful people are actually saying. We are never too old to learn.

    • This is about money, power, control and the evolution of our government.
      The unequal distribution of money based on skin color.
      Our government use to enforce slavery, it evolved.
      Our government use to enforce segregation, it evolved.
      Our government use to tolerate racism, it is evolving.

  • There is water so clear, one can see with startling clarity, every pebble, every creature and shell on the ocean floor. It’s the same with racism, you may think you are expressing a reasonable opinion, yet for those who stand higher on the ladder of tolerance, your statement stands naked.

  • What is the point of this article exactly? Other than to ruin the reputation of an Island woman for simply writing a letter to her bank expressing her opinion about a sign?

    The first paragraph of the article states the sign was taken down after this woman complained, which seems to suggest there was some causality. But then the article goes to great lengths explaining the decision to take down the sign had nothing to do with the woman’s complaints, and instead was removed as part of a routine rotation of signage.

    It seems the only intent of this article was to smear this woman as a racist, even though she explicitly says in the article she is not racist.

    I think the woman was merely making the distinction in her letter between the phrase (or concept) of Black Lives Matter, and the actual organization called Black Lives Matter.

    For those who do not know, the Black Lives Matter organization, among other things, supports: defunding the police, the elimination of ICE, reparations for black people, the elimination of capital punishment, record expungement for anyone affected by the war on drugs, divestment from the use of fossil fuels, large scale cuts to military expenditures, the redistribution of wealth through a progressive tax restructure, an end to the privatization of education, and the disruption of the western prescribed nuclear family structure. (All these objectives can be found on the Black Lives Matter organization’s website).

    And there is little doubt that the Black Lives Matter organization has supported, either directly or indirectly, many of the violent protesters that have caused severe economic loss, injuries and even death to countless people across the country, including many African Americans.

    And while I may support some of the BLM organizations objectives, it really isn’t that radical for anybody to question some of the others. This woman has every right to write an email to her bank saying she didn’t support one of the branches hanging a sign she felt supported an organization with ideals that did not align with her own.

    This does not make her a racist, and I am sure she wrote the letter thinking it was a confidential correspondence that would not be published in the local newspapers.

    I read the editors comments saying she provided the emails to the newspaper, but I sincerely doubt she realized she was providing them in support of an article clearly intended to defame and libel her and make her a pariah in her own community.

    Is this what counts as journalism now? A 2,000 word piece chronicling in exquisite detail a local woman’s decision to write a private email to the bank of which she is a customer? She is being dragged through the mud and shamed as a racist because she had the audacity to WRITE AN EMAIL to her bank, about one sign with the same message as hundreds (possibly thousands) of other signs saying the same thing on this island alone.

    Does this type of public shaming and stirring of distrust really help the issue of racial inequity in this country? Of course not, but I guess it makes some of the people writing in this comment section feel virtuous for a little while. And I guess this woman’s reputation is ruined in the process then that’s just how it goes, she’s a racist right?

      • Thank you for the response George. I know the message I wrote above is long, but I did acknowledge that you stated in the reader comments that this woman did provide the emails to the newspaper.

        (Even though that wasn’t explicitly stated in the text of the original article.)

        The point I made previously was I doubt she was aware the emails would be used in an article thats clearly intended to portray her as a racist, or at least having racist ideas, therefore damage her reputation and her standing in this community.

        Into return to my previous question, why was this even deemed newsworthy? Was it because the sign came down, or somebody tipped the newspaper that the sign came down after a woman wrote the bank to complain about the sign? And if the sign wasn’t taken down because this woman complained, then why is it even mentioned in the article? Although the editor has stated several times in this readers comment section that this woman voluntarily provided the emails to the newspaper, I’d be very interested in hearing her reaction to this article. Maybe the newspaper should do a follow up article and speak with her to get her thoughts on the article. It only seems fair.

        • We’re about to publish a follow up. She shared the emails with no restrictions and was interviewed about them.

  • And let the Internet Jury convene.
    I agree with Jane. A divisive and politically charged message should not be displayed in a place of business. Period.
    I am old enough to remember, and indeed participated in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s when we worked very hard – and mostly peacefully – under the leadership of Dr. King, for equal rights to blacks, who in those days mostly did not enjoy simple privileges such as drinking at a public water fountain, swimming in public swimming pools, purchasing homes freely, attending schools of choice, and more. We had – or so many of us thought – made much progress. The last I knew, Blacks and Whites together largely enjoyed living in a free society with mostly mutual respect and equal treatment.
    The killing of George Floyd was a terrible terrible incident. Nobody said it wasn’t. There was zero controversy regarding the fact that it was a brutal killing, involving excessive force, and was wrong wrong wrong. Does the killing of George Floyd, a black man by a white cop, demonstrate that there is systemic racism within the police department? Or within our country? While that is a popular narrative, statistics don’t support it.
    Black Lives Matter is a racist movement. Its underlying message is that blacks are oppressed and weak, and the fact that so many whites have jumped on board gives the implicit message that blacks aren’t able to help themselves and can only get ahead with the white man’s help. This is offensive. Of course black lives matter. To keep screaming the obvious all day and burning things down actually implies that you don’t believe it, and it solves nothing.
    And what is worse? A woman who expresses her opinion – an opinion that is probably shared by many who would not dare say such a thing in our politically charged and intolerant climate – or the hate-fest taking place in these comments?
    I would also question, one: why did Rockland Trust choose to bring this story forward? Aren’t the flames of racism burning hot enough? And, two: even if Rockland Trust deemed the story newsworthy, could it not have been done anonymously, affording Jane Chittick the same protection that all the anonymous and hate-filled commenters are enjoying?
    No, political and divisive messages do not belong in places of business. The constant screaming of “racism” and virtue signaling all day long fans the flames of hatred and is undoing all the good that has come before.

    • Businesses should not be allowed to participate in the political process?
      Back certain candidates and policies?
      One should have a firewall between their business and their politics?

    • What makes you think that Rockland Trust brought this forward?
      They simply put up a sign in their place of business like so many businesses throughout the country.
      Should banks be prohibited from displaying ‘politically charged’ statements’?
      What about individuals?

      • It’s not a matter of being allowed to participate or express an opinion. Obviously, we live in a free country where one – business or private individual – is free to express one’s opinion. Is it smart to publicize a controversial and divisive opinion in the window of one’s business? If I posted my political opinions on the window of my business, I would lose half my customers. That’s simply not smart business. It’s not as if a person can walk across the street to another bank when all their money is in Rockland. And BLM is not simply a political opinion. While it may seem innocuous, it is a highly charged, controversial, and divisive movement; to wit, the multitude of reactions, many that are outright nasty and hateful. And yes, as a person whose money is tied up in Rockland, I would prefer not to be associated with a political movement I don’t feel comfortable with. Whatever the Rockland employees do on their own time and in their own homes is one thing, but to sign the bank (and by implication, all of its customers) onto a controversial political movement is just plain not smart. Rockland may see itself simply as doing something nice, but that, clearly, is debatable, as not everyone sees it that way.

        • It is my guess that 85+% percent of Islanders have no problem banking in a bank with a BLM sign in the window.
          65+% would prefer it.

          With all of the free publicity it is my guess that Rockland will pick up a significant number of new accounts and lose just a few.
          I would not be surprised if more than a few Islanders, with very comfortable banking relationships, didn’t pick up a good size Rockland CD just to show support for the Bank’s actions, as jerky as they were. .

    • annonno_123, this woman used email, aka the internet, to complain about racist intentions that are simply not a part of why the bank was displaying the sign. There is nothing kind in her message, nor anything particularly hateful being said here. When she makes her point of view loudly known, you agree. When everyone reacts, aka also shares a point of view, we’re judgy internet warriors. Seems you categorize communication based on whether you side with the person saying it. No one here is doing any differently than Chittick. Or you. The self-victimization of those who would like to spread certain political messages without being challenged would be amusing if this weren’t such a serious subject. Even the most basic conversation about race will be labeled as hate or an attack when someone does not want to deal with it or own their words.

      Plenty of people dismissed Floyd’s death. They blamed him and the entire Black population for it. They started up with 13/90 signaling and tried to minimize Chauvin’s actions, claiming it was not murder. I can’t repeat most of the comments I’ve seen elsewhere because they’re so profoundly racist and disgusting. The gist is that some will never support police reform. Their prejudices are too strong and they think the mistreatment is deserved. Understatement. It is a myth that all Black people feel comfortable in American society. Many have come forward to talk about the racist assumptions and situations they face. There’s a video out there somewhere of a Black man who could not even enter his own building because a white woman wouldn’t let him. He was polite and had done nothing wrong, and still she did not quit. Sadly, this stuff happens constantly. It’s just finally getting more press.

    • There is nothing “politically charged” about BLM. You can’t vote for the BLM party. This human rights, not politics.

  • Shame on Jane Chittick. You have been exposed for all in the community to see. You won’t care, I am sure, given how fiercely you protested here and how much vitriol is represented on your social media.

  • What % [of total] of BLM donations between June 1 – July 1 went to the Biden campaign for president?
    What % [of total] of Biden’s campaign for president donations [money raised] came from BLM donations [past month]?
    Worth tracking.
    Why is BLM pushed every 4-years?
    Who pays for Sharpton to fly private?
    Does BLM ‘donated’ money end up in Sharpton’s [+other ‘propped up’ narrative drivers] foundation [National Action Network (NAN)] and/or other private account(s)?
    What outside (foreign) groups donate large sums of money to BLM ‘knowing’ it is then routed to Biden campaign for president and other ‘friendly’ [D] service providers?
    How do you avoid campaign finance laws?
    How do you ‘wash’ [clean] money?

    Start here:
    https://blacklivesmatter.com
    Next click ‘donate’.
    Taken here:
    https://secure.actblue.com /donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019″>https://secure.actblue.com /donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019
    Who is ActBlue?
    https://secure.actblue.com
    Powering Democratic candidates, committees, parties,
    organizations, and c4s around the country.
    [D] party funding?
    ALL DONATIONS TO BLM [BLM.com] ARE ROUTED THROUGH A DEMOCRAT-ONLY FUNDING ORG.
    100% OF BLM DONORS ARE DEMOCRAT?
    100% OF BLM DONORS AGREE TO POWER DEMOCRAT CANDIDATES, COMMITTEES, PARTIES, AND ORGANIZATIONS WITH THEIR DONATIONS?
    What % of BLM donations auto-route to [D] party affiliated networks?
    https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/expenditures.php?cycle=2020&cmte=C00401224
    Expenditures 2020 Cycle.
    [includes all contributions outside of ‘BLM’]
    What % [of total] of BLM donations between June 1 – July 1 went to Biden for president?
    What % [of total] of BLM donations between June 1 – July 1 went to [D] party affiliated networks?

  • Thank you to the Times for running this story and letting the community know how systemic racism is part of Edgartown, part of the Vineyard, and part of everyday life in America. The pretense that the island has somehow escaped the plague of the white privilege and systemic racism displayed without shame in this article should always be uncovered. It was courageous to run this story and give the community the opportunity to publicly react to this woman and her views. The great news is that most people commenting understand why it’s important for good journalism to tell the story.

  • The fact is the bank will lose customers, some that are now and many more that will not be. By displaying signs that have nothing to do with banking, they have made many enemies, vocal and many more silent. The climate is so vitriolic many people are staying silent due to the culture now. As my sainted Father used to say: do not put any bumper stickers on your car as you are sure to irritate somebody, somewhere.

    • Nah. It’s a community bank. I’ll be rolling my CD’s over there without evening thinking about it.

    • Augusta, you mean to say that racists are afraid to speak up now because they’ll be seen as… racist? Good. Businesses that do the right thing will always do well. I never heard of a bank for white supremacists on Martha’s Vineyard. My father used to tell me that when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

    • You must be new here.
      BLM has strong support throughout the Island, not just Edgartown.
      I am sure that BLM signs have brought in more customers than they have lost.
      I use to be a customer of the The Edgartown Bank, I moved on when they sold out.
      Due to their support of BLM I will again be a customer of the cutest little bank on the Island.

    • Maybe 15% of the bank’s customers hold your view of BLM.
      The bank may well lose half those.
      And pick up 10% new customers because of their take on how a community bank should behave in a community.

      Like slavery, racism is slipping into dustbin of history.

    • Actually Augusta, I’ll be closing my accounts at MV Savings and moving them to Rockland Trust tomorrow. Yes, they may lose a few customers, they’ll probably gain more then just me.

  • If Black Lives Matter bothers you because it doesn’t say All Lives Matter, but Blue Lives Matter doesn’t bother you, then what really bothers you is the word “Black”. Sounds about right for this forum and the anonymous commenters within.

  • Thank You Rockland Trust for returning the BLM signs, Ms. Chittick is certainly entitled to her opinion and we can give her that, but Rockland Trust is also entitled to theirs, and I appreciate you standing up for that. Perhaps she can just do her banking elsewhere at a bank she feels is more aligned with her thinking or values.
    I also happened to notice how few BLM signs were posted on private residences and businesses in Edgartown compared to all of the other island towns, that to me, speaks volumes about Edgartown.

  • “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States. Anti-intellectualism has been been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” – Isaac Asimov

  • These days, businesses are getting as far away as possible from white suprematist and racist ideas. Advertisers pulled away from host Tucker Carlson on Fox specifically because of his racist views. While some well off white racists might threaten to no longer do business with places that won’t cater to their racism, I think all of Edgartown will do just fine without these privileged folks who are so used to pushing their weight around.

  • Previous articleBook it
    Next articleIsland history in the great outdoors