Sep 30, 2013
05:36 AM
The Connecticut Story

Milford Neighborhood Canvasser Recounts Series of Racial Events

Milford Neighborhood Canvasser Recounts Series of Racial Events

Melanie Stengel

Leroy Gardner of Wallingford says he experienced racial discrimination and harassment in Milford when he worked as a door-to-door canvasser for an environmental organization.

MILFORD >> It was near 8:30 p.m. on July 19 in a quiet residential neighborhood when Leroy Gardner thought he was going to die.

Gardner, a canvasser for the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, was out collecting signatures for petitions and soliciting for letters to send to politicians. He was near the end of his shift, revisiting homes whose occupants hadn’t been there when he had visited earlier in the day.

He knocked on the door of one, and the man who answered had tattoos that Gardner, who is black, described as “Aryan Brotherhood all the way.”

“I’ve been waiting for you,” the man told Gardner.

Gardner was nervous, but he made his pitch. The man listened and even signed a petition. As the man turned around to shut his door, he revealed a 9 mm pistol tucked in his pants at the small of his back.

“I just fell apart,” Gardner recalled. “I said, ‘Sir was that really necessary?’”

The man said that he had been home when Gardner visited earlier in the night. He was watching Gardner, waiting for illegal activity, ready to use his gun.

“The intention was to rattle me,” Gardner said.

So, there at that man’s doorstep, Gardner quit. That Friday night incident was the last in series of racial slights and attacks he said he had endured over the course of two weeks.

Gardner said he was subjected to multiple police stops, people calling him racial slurs, and people hurling things at him from moving cars.

Gardner came to Milford to make a difference, but left Milford afraid for his life and unemployed.


For the full article, visit New Haven Register online.


Milford Neighborhood Canvasser Recounts Series of Racial Events

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