Letters to the Editor

After Silent Sam, let’s work to address racism

A Confederate demonstration, a dance party, and pepper spray on McCorkle Place

Pro-Silent Sam demonstrators were escorted by UNC police on Thursday to a barricaded area near the base of where Silent Sam stood for a vigil. Protesters held a dance party and the two groups taunted each other. Police used pepper spray throughout.
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Pro-Silent Sam demonstrators were escorted by UNC police on Thursday to a barricaded area near the base of where Silent Sam stood for a vigil. Protesters held a dance party and the two groups taunted each other. Police used pepper spray throughout.

The protestors that brought down the Silent Sam statue on UNC’s campus have the right idea. Public monuments to white supremacy must come down if we are ever to move toward a society that embodies justice for all its people – not just the white, wealthy ones.

But symbolic and headline-grabbing actions are not enough. I call on all people who are willing to put in the necessary work so that the United States can transcend its racist beginnings to do the following:

1) Pay attention to how power manifests in your life and the lives of those different – in skin color, economic status, education level, religious background – from you.

2) Use your power to listen to and uplift those who have less of it.

3) Vote for candidates who are also willing to do the work to raise up all of our people .

Abby Olena

Carrboro

Marker questioned

I’m a Carolina alumna and a descendent of a UNC student supposedly commemorated by the Silent Sam statute, and I’m glad to see it go. Its purpose was clearly one of hatred and intimidation, not one of honoring ancestors. Perhaps it can be moved to the historic cemetery on campus, with a marker detailing its history.

That said, I’m wondering why there’s a Jefferson Davis Highway marker on the edge of Franklin Street, mere steps from the Silent Sam pedestal? It’s just outside the campus boundary, on the edge of the street curb.

Perhaps our next step in becoming an inclusive community can be to get rid of that marker.

Susan Prytherch

Chapel Hill

Testing relief

Regarding “Youngest students to get some test relief” (Sept. 4): I applaud the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. I served as test coordinator in Johnston County for 15 years, and as a counselor observed and worked with younger children who were overwhelmed with the stress of being measured so early. They needed to be playing and developing social skills and exercise.

Thank you for returning the right to be a kid and carefree to our children.

Jennifer Flowers

Angier

Stop postal bill

As a member of the federal community who served our country for years, I am concerned with an attempt to force current U.S. Postal Service retirees onto Medicare Part B, after they previously declined this coverage.

While hailed as a way to improve USPS’ finances, this is nothing more than balancing the books on the backs of seniors. Why should retirees, who spent their careers serving this nation, be forced to pay an additional $134 per month or more for health coverage they previously deemed unnecessary?

Mandatory Medicare Part B coverage was never part of the agreement made upon employment, and it should not be forced on any postal retiree, especially retroactively. Congress is currently attempting to fix the Postal Service’s problems by shifting costs to Medicare.

I urge our legislators to reject the current postal reform bill, H.R. 756. Retired postal workers proudly served our community and promises to them should be kept.

Jim Dukeman

Apex

Checks and balances

Regarding “NC poll finds most know little about amendments” (Sept. 7): The “Bipartisan State Board of Ethics and Elections Enforcement” state constitutional amendment should be voted against by every North Carolinian.

As we all learned in school, our government has two very important characteristics. First, there are three branches of government that each have a specific purpose. The legislative branch writes the laws. The executive branch executes the laws. Second, there is a system of checks and balances, to ensure no branch becomes too powerful.

The name of the amendment and vague verbiage within is a deliberate attempt to fool voters. Currently, the governor appoints nominees to fill positions within the executive branch. The legislature provides a check on this power by approving or not approving of a candidate. The amendment will give the power to the legislature to both appoint and approve candidates for positions within the executive branch, an obvious unchecked power.

Whatever their political affiliation, views on various political issues, or even whether they like or dislike a specific person in our government, people should be outraged at the legislature’s attack on our very political structure. Vote against this constitutional amendment. Shame on you legislature.

Chris Davis

Cary

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