As chairman of the Shirley Select Board, I would like to address an incident that took place at our April 26 meeting in which comments were made relating to my character and my race.

I came to America to leave my home country, Haiti, which is in turmoil. Leaving the country you were born in is very difficult. It was the biggest decision I have ever made.

I came to America observing all of its rules and regulations, clearly allowing me a path to citizenship. As a result, I proudly became an American citizen. I was given an opportunity to raise my children here, receive a college degree and become part of the American dream. I am forever grateful.

Being elected to public office was the highest honor I could have imagined, and serving on the Select Board is an honor, a duty and a responsibility I owe to the residents of Shirley.

The incident I refer to occurred during discussion about a memorandum of understanding, or MOU, that Sewer Commissioner Robert Schuler brought to the board to sign, agreeing to enter into negotiations for an Inter-municipal agreement with the town of Lancaster.

When it became apparent that I would not approve the document, which was not explained to me or to my colleague, Debra Flagg, prior to the meeting, Mr. Schuler claimed he could not hear me or did not understand my request for information.

By taking an obvious racial tone towards me, I believe Mr. Schuler’s intent was to turn my decision not to support his proposal into support for the Sewer Commission.

Racism can not be a part of any Select Board agenda, and I believe the citizens of Shirley would agree. Proof of this was that the voters elected me. Not because of my color, but rather as an act of trust. That will not change, and I will not deviate from my character.

I will continue to serve as a Select Board member and work to ensure that residents continue to live in a safe environment. I hope that as a community we can learn and grow and not have hatred in our hearts.

This is not what the town of Shirley stands for, nor does the United States of America.

Thank you,

Andree Lourdes Jean Jacques