Island’s actions were misrepresented


To the Editor:

The following is a letter originally sent to a friend after seeing derogatory cartoons about Martha’s Vineyard and the migrants who arrived on the Island in September.

Dear Karen,

Thanks for the “good ones from Martha’s Vineyard.” But I know the truth about what happened on the Vineyard from all my friends who live there. Vineyarders welcomed the migrants with open arms, housing and feeding them, and helping them to contact social services. The migrants had no idea where they were or why, except that they had been told that housing and jobs awaited them. And Martha’s Vineyard is an Island with no way to leave except by boat or plane.

The people represented in your cartoons could belong to any one of thousands of affluent communities across the country; the NIMBY philosophy stretches coast to coast. But the fact is that the year-round residents of Martha’s Vineyard are hard-working “regular folks” — fishermen, carpenters, farmers, etc., including a large percentage of Brazilians who are prominent in every aspect of Island life. Bet you didn’t know that!

At the end of August on Martha’s Vineyard, most businesses close for the season. Even the fishermen, farmers, and builders have little work until spring. The whole idea of sending a bunch of migrants there in September was ludicrous. Not to mention cruel. Many Islanders helped get the visitors to the mainland and put them in contact with social services to help them find work and housing, not readily available on Cape Cod either at the end of the season. So New Bedford, Providence, and Boston were the closest places where it was remotely possible to find jobs.

That may be amusing to some people, but not to anyone familiar with the facts. It certainly wasn’t amusing to the migrants themselves, most of whom left their home countries in fear of their and their families’ lives, seeking political asylum in America. America, the home of the free and the brave, where foreigners have been seeking asylum since the Pilgrims.

Thanks for sharing, though.

And no, I’m not glad that I’m in Colorado, as nice as it is here. Vineyarders are the most generous, caring, and loving people I have ever known, and I miss them, and the Island, terribly.

Sue Craver
Carbondale, Colo.