“Our Kind Is Colorblind”
Marlinton, WV – “Our Kind Is Colorblind”, just one of the slogans from a group of Marlinton Middle School students after hearing about an alleged attack on local pastor Aaron Trigg.
According to Trigg who is African American, he was attacked by two people dressed in full camouflage clothing and ski masks as he prayed in the chapel of Trinity Baptist Church Tuesday morning. He says one of the assailant told him ‘we don’t need your kind messing with our county’ during the attack.
On the day after the attack, staff from the High Rocks Academy joined teachers at MMS to take time to talk to the kids about their feelings and what they would say to the assailants if given the chance. The students expressed shock and sadness that this could happen in Pocahontas. Here are comments from Hailey, Levi and Hunter.
“I was really upset because a man of God can’t even pray in God’s house without getting attacked for it,” says Hailey.
“I thought it was really, really wrong, I can’t imagine anyone doing that to me,” says Levi.
“I think that they must have not liked him, but I think he’s a really nice guy,” says Hunter.
Pastor Trigg is very involved with the youth of the county and is the sponsor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Pocahontas County HS. Some of the kids talked about his influence in their lives.
“He’s taught me a lot of things, and I’ve had a lot of fun with him,” says Marlee.
“Pastor Trigg, he’s taught me a lot of things and most importantly, he always has a positive attitude,” says Chad.
“Pastor Aaron is a great guy who’ll do anything for you; he’ll teach you to do the right thing,” says Logan.
The students used words like nervous, mad, sick, sad, angry, embarrassed, helpless and ashamed to describe their feelings about the attack. Kaitlyn offered these thoughts about the intended target of the attack.
“I think this crime was against everybody because a lot of people in the community knew Pastor Trigg and he helped the whole community; so hurting him was like hurting everybody else,” says Kaitlyn.
Like others in the county, the students are divided as to the reason why Pastor Trigg was attacked. Some say it could be racially motivated, but others don’t see that as a significant factor. They believe there is another reason for the assault, perhaps because of the pastor’s strong anti-drug and alcohol abuse stance. Regardless of the reason, the students want the assailants to know what they think of their actions.
“I’m Hailey and I would like to say that I’m really ashamed of both of you guys that you would do that to a man of God, in God’s house, but we’re not here to judge, only God can,” says Hailey.
“My name’s Levi and I would like to say they don’t represent us; we don’t believe in things that they do,” says Levi. “If you would stop living in hate, then not only in our county, but the world in general could be a better place.”
“My name is Hunter and I can’t believe that you would do this to as such kind of a person,” says Hunter. “I hope they send you to prison; why, why, why?”
“My name is Logan, and I think you too guys should be ashamed of yourself because you beat up a Pastor in a church; it’s just not right.”
“I’m Jacob, and why should it matter what color your skin is,” says Jacob. “By doing this you’re not helping our county, you’re making us all look bad.”
“I’m Hailey and I’d also like to say we don’t need YOUR kind in this county.”
Joanna Burt-Kinderman says she’s moved by the response of the students.
“Our hope is that this story has two parts, and the first part we had no control over,” she says. “The second part we have every bit of control over, and I am inspired to work here with the words these kids have said, and I’ve seen none of our community leaders stand up and say anything half what they children have said at this point. I would like to see the grownups in this community stand up, loudly, proud, safe, and show these kids they have nothing to be scared of, because in numbers these two people don’t matter a speck.”
Lloyd Arbogast confirms that Pastor Trigg did go to a hospital in Charleston for MRI. He says he’s has no broken bones, but is suffering from a pinched nerve, 2 bulging disks, and is still in a substantial amount of pain. A vigil for the pastor and his family will be held at Trinity Baptist Church Friday, March 9th at 7:30pm.