This letter is in support of the Diverse Voices events that are being hosted by the Hudson Public Library and Hop and Barrel. The first program in July featured four Black speakers, and a second program with Hispanic voices will be held in September, with more planned for the future.

I grew up using a library, and I have witnessed the impact a library can have on both local and far reaching issues. Contrary to what some think, libraries do so much more than check out books. They are research facilities, information and cultural centers, and community hubs.

Shelley, Madeline and former library director Tina, have made Hudson Public Library feel much more like a community center than when I first moved back to the area seven years ago.

This summer, the library agreed to host a Diverse Voices series to allow our primarily white community to hear about, be educated by, and ask questions about others' experiences. The speakers and moderator were eloquent, honest, and forthcoming. The program clearly provided a needed connection to many as it had 4,300 views on Facebook.

Some people in our community may not like hearing about diversity, and they don’t seem to think others should have the option to learn more either, so I have some questions for that group. What are you afraid of? Why are you afraid of people trying to bring Black, Hispanic, Asian and indigenous voices to the table? Are you worried that Hudson is becoming more diverse?

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Why don't you submit a question via the Facebook livestream. It might help take some of this fear away. Diversity makes us better, not worse. Stronger, not weaker. More compassionate, not more hateful.

To city officials, stop letting hate and ignorance have a platform in our wonderful city. And, thank you Shelley, the library, and Hop and Barrel for your bravery, courage and willingness to host events that give marginalized people a voice instead of just ignoring the moment we are living in. We are so lucky to not only have a published and respected children's author as our co-interim director but also an advocate for educating the community on all topics, including diversity.

Addison Filiatreaux

Hudson