Editorial art of Kevin Ruic Facebook post

One of several Facebook posts by Kevin Ruic that contain racist and offensive language.

Dear Mr. Ruic,

Allow me first to thank you. Thank you for making your views so plain. In doing so, you have made this letter so very easy to write.

Every day for the past 22 months I have had the privilege of watching our team chronicle the fragile and delicate reconstruction of a city and a county. Thousands of interviews, meetings, stories, photographs and videos later, there is the unmistakable scent of hope and possibility in the air. It’s sometimes faint, but it is there.

People are working together. They are crossing boundaries of privilege, politics, gender, sexuality, age, and race to work together as citizens of Richland and Crawford counties. We are stronger now, Mr. Ruic, because so many of us are pulling together.

Apparently, you noticed it too. In fact, in a Facebook post attributed to you on February 7, you wrote, “... what a rare treat it was to have that many City officials asking what they can do to make the events at the track successful. I feel like I belong and anything I can do to return the 'Welcome to the City' attitude you can count me in 100%.” That was a terrific way to sum up how welcoming Mansfielders can be to newcomers. I can see how you were impressed.

But as we learned this week, back in November (presumably commenting on the aftermath of the Ferguson shooting) you wrote something quite different on Facebook: “Shoot the front line of porch monkeys and watch the rest run for the jungle.” Oh, and then there was this: “I see the monkeys without tails are showing what an early black shopping spree is really like.”

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Mr. Ruic, you are a citizen and you have the right and the freedom to say what you please.  Allow me to do the same.

Richland Source finds your statements disgusting, hateful, and ignorant. They are deeply hurtful, and so amazingly divorced from reality as to be irredeemable. With that in mind, please know that Richland Source will not accept advertising dollars for, nor will we extend sponsorship of any kind to any event you are promoting. We find it disturbingly ironic that you planned to call your fireworks event a “Freedom Festival.”

You were right about Mansfield, Mr. Ruic. This is a cool town. A gritty, can-do, midwestern city with a welcoming spirit. We are diverse, we take care of one another as best we can, and we pull together when times get tough. We are busy and we have a lot to do to keep the momentum we have built. There’s no time to waste.

And in the case of Richland Source, we have no time for you.

President of Richland Source and founding board member of Idea Works.