Letter to the Editor - The Culture War Comes to Niwot
February 22, 2023
Dear Left Hand Valley Courier,
I am writing in comment on Wandering Jellyfish's Drag Queen Story time, as published in the article "Drag Queen Story Time Comes to Niwot" by Biff Warren. Niwot has long been politically dormant. Due to its lack of mayor and place within the greater Boulder County area, this small country town of just over 4,000 people has managed to keep itself civil and strong in face of growing political division, and besides the odd Trump flag or Biden bumper sticker, this is how it was.
Niwot is also the site of Niwot High School, an important institution that educates over a thousand students between all four classes. This school also is home to several LGBTQ+ students and a GSA.
Myself and other Niwot residents, especially those who are fans of books, were offered a rude awakening on Dec. 2, when a brick was thrown through the window of Inkberry Books, owned by an openly gay couple in Niwot. This event was terrifying to me and those around me, has never before had such a lovely family, such valuable members of our community, been attacked simply because of who they love. And now, with the backdrop of growing debates about LGBTQ issues across our country, anti queer rhetoric and legislation is on the rise. For so long, Niwot had avoided the divisions of left vs right, and had avoided bigotry and hate that was best left in the past.
However, due to Wandering Jellyfish's plans to host a Drag Queen story time on Saturday, hate again has intruded in Niwot. Boulder County Republicans have announced their intention to demonstrate outside, the first political action of this nature in Niwot's recent history. As a member of the LGBTQ+ and Niwot communities, this intimidation and bigoted demonstration deeply scares me. It scares my fellow queer students. It brings a culture of unwelcoming and fear to our hospitable town, infringes on our small business community, and makes walking down these quiet streets I love so much just a little bit scarier. The bullies who seek to bring the Culture Wars to 2nd Avenue do not represent the loving, beautiful village I live in, one where my mum runs a business, one where I eat, work, learn, and play.
Niwot is the greatest small town and home for me and so many others. It's worth protecting. Courage and honor are something I have learned as a Boy Scout and as an American. Kindness is something I've learned as a person. I've resided here for 13 years, a large majority of my life. As a bisexual teen, and speaking on behalf of so many of my peers, friends, and loved ones, I urge your readers to stand up for freedom. To stand up for Niwot. To go and shop at and support our bookshops, and to resist hate.
Wandering Jellyfish will host its Drag Queen Storytime at 11 am, Saturday, Feb 25th. I hope people will come out to peacefully show support and help a flourishing, local book store and community organization.
Oliver Fowler, 17, Niwot High School Junior.