“NO MEXICAN OLYMPIC TEAMS? ALL THE RUNNERS AND SWIMMERS ARE HERE!”
His billboard message does not have all of Lewis County laughing!
Over the years, the outrageous and outspoken owner has used his billboard to air his discontent about everything from politics to homosexuality, now, he is focusing on Race.
Winlock City Council member Eliaci Sanchez who is an American of Mexican descent said he sees the recent missive as a statement on racial discrimination.
“It’s just focusing on those of Mexican descent in our community. This isn´t about illegal immigration as some would have us believe. It is about Mexican Americans in our community. By indicting the Hispanic community this billboard is racial profiling,” Sanchez said.
Hamilton has definitely stirred things up. While residents in the area are well used to the political and pointed messages on the billboard - this time people are speaking up. The message seems to be especially painful for the growing Hispanic community in Lewis County. According to the U.S. Census, the population of Hispanic Citizens has doubled from 3,500 to 7,000 living in the area. Many are not laughing at the message.
"It is very hurtful - I am Hispanic and I'm proud of it and that billboard is really wrong," said Adelina Petersen, resident.
Mike Hamilton, Camas resident and son of the sign’s original keeper Alfred Hamilton, said he should not be criticized for having the gall to take a defined stand on an issue that seems to have no easy solution.
“It DOES target Mexicans because that’s where the humor about immigration is in terms of Lewis County,” Hamilton said. “Am I then racist because I’m willing to speak out against an intense problem we’re having?”
The answer, Mr. Hamilton, is a resounding YES!