Community support and encouragement strong for people who received hate mail

Carmen Runnalls poses with a stack of positive mail to be sent to her Western Manitoulin friends and neighbours.

MANITOULIN – A Gore Bay woman says there is a lot of positive support and encouragement from the Manitoulin Island community for the area residents who recently received hate mail in Burpee and Mills and other parts of the Island recently.

“There hasn’t been that many letters sent, but there have been all kinds of well wishes for the people who received the hate mail letters (from a group or an individual calling themselves ‘The Protectors of Spirit Island’) and there is a lot of outrage from a lot of people as to what happened,” stated Carmen Runnalls, in an interview with the Recorder last week.  

Ms. Runnalls, upon hearing of the hate mail letters sent to some area residents, said she was hoping to get some support from local people to make those who received the letters feel a little more comfortable, and to indicate that members of the community want and welcome them here.

She had posted a message to Facebook writing, “I would like to put together a care package of letters of encouragement and support for the folks out in Burpee and Mills that receive that nasty hate mail. I would like our neighbours to know they are loved and welcome in our community. If you would like to be involved, I am happy to collect your letters at my home and deliver them to the township office to be distributed amongst the families that were affected by this atrocious attack on them. As the victims are anonymous, and should stay that way for the course of the (OPP) investigation, please do not direct your letters to any one person or family, but instead write it as a general act of friendship and acceptance. I’m sure that any other displays of kindness, no matter if it’s just a friendly smile or a simple hello towards our neighbours, will be appreciated.”

Ms. Runnalls told the Recorde last week, “I received some letters, but there have also been lots of emails, posts on Facebook and messages from people supporting those that received the hate mail letters.”

She pointed out Ken Noland, reeve of Burpee and Mills, will decide how the letters of support will be distributed to the families and individuals who received the hate mail at the next regular meeting of council. “I suggested that maybe they could display the letters in the community hall so everyone could read them.”