The Journal Gazette
Sunday, June 28, 2020 1:00 am

Letters to the editor

Protests are cries to fulfill our ideals

The recent disgusting comment by former Allen County Councilman Larry Brown should prompt all of us to consider the open or closed status of our minds and hearts.

Brown's reaction to calls for a more just society was most revealing for its defensiveness. It is a long-standing mantra within county government that County Council's responsibility is only fiscal, not legislative. Therefore, the mantra follows, with so many county elected officials responsible for a vast array of policy and legislative (law-making) decisions, County Council cannot possibly be a change agent because it can only deal with funding.

Think about that for one minute, and you see the fallacy. Yes, it is difficult to tell judges, the sheriff and experts in everything from criminal justice to land use planning what to do. But to marginalize County Council's role because it “only” has responsibility for the budget is a lame excuse. Indeed, money gets everyone's attention.

The teachable moment here is not about county government structure. It is about leadership.

We have the opportunity as a community to seize for good the current historic level of public outcry for reform to end racism. Each of us can contribute. Any elected and policy-making official in government, any bank official, business owner, CEO, union leader, teacher, neighborhood president, journalist, pastor, parent and voter – anyone can use his/her role to make a positive difference.

Regrettably, some will choose to hunker down and not give up their grip on the status quo. Ideally, the best leaders will listen and consider their own and their system's complicity in racism. Those who are too fragile for that can at least resolve to listen, learn and act to help America finally fulfill the high ideals on which it was founded.

Linda Buskirk

Fort Wayne

Banks' proposal not what's best for schools

Rep. Jim Banks has introduced legislation to end federal funding to schools that fail to open for in-person instruction by Sept. 8 because of the pandemic. I agree 100% with Chip Coldiron's response.

Coldiron is the Democratic challenger to Banks and a science teacher at Norwell High School. As Coldiron said, he wants nothing more than to teach his students in the classroom this fall, “but schools should not have to choose between public health and their own bottom line.” “Coming from the representative who voted against an early emergency response to COVID-19 that could have helped us prepare for this,” he added, “it is unacceptable to hand down this mandate from Washington that schools must disregard expert warnings or face further cuts.”

I also support Coldiron's statement that if Banks “was really interested in helping Hoosier schools prepare for the fall, he would propose emergency legislation to ensure every school system has the resources they need to make the best decision for their own communities.”

Banks was quoted as saying, “Reopening our schools is the linchpin to reopening our economy. Many parents rely on their kids going to school so they can go to work. To get our society up and running again, we need our children back in school.” Teachers are not baby sitters! And, unfortunately, many people are not back to work yet.

I believe teachers, not politicians, should be fully involved in creating how school will “look” in the fall. Politicians have bungled the education system enough already in Indiana and nationwide. We barely know what is happening month to month with the spread of this virus, and its longer-lasting effects, let alone the course of the virus for the 2020-21 school year.

Banks' plan does not have students' or school systems' best interest in mind.

Colleen Hawkins

Fort Wayne

Literature invaluable to Black perspective

A June 16 letter from Christopher Snider bemoans the lack of respect, manners and a good work ethic in our society.

While detailing some past difficulties of George Floyd, he asks, “But what got him there in the first place?”

Good question. I suggest he research Black history in America along with African American literature to try to understand the answers to that question. Books such as “Just Mercy,” “Between the World and Me” and “The Warmth of Other Suns” have whetted my appetite for more.

Other recommendations?

Elizabeth Hague


City must do better to salve open wounds

Can the City of Churches gather the courage to behave like Christ?

What is pious in this life, if it is not the opportunity to love one another without judgment, without fear, without question?

Our country was built on the foundations of exploitation. Our great country abused people for hundreds of years based on the color of their skin. This is indisputable.

This country is suffering from the deeply embedded vestiges of slavery and segregation that will take decades more to understand and combat appropriately.

South Africa established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission after the end of apartheid. They admitted there was an insidious system that forgave, favored and even encouraged white supremacy and violence against people of color.

This commission still did not touch the institutionalized violence – the psychobiological effects of being isolated, shamed and ignored by a dominant society.

This commission was established to skim the surface of an apology, a recognition that, before 1996, a system existed that was heinous, exploitative and – pay attention, Fort Wayne – legal.

Can the City of Churches humble itself enough to admit there's a problem? Can we make the steps to bring peace to everyone? Why, constituents and fellow citizens, can the City of Churches not be the first?

Demand our City Council members limit the police budget and allocate money to mental health and community improvement instead. We must invest in empathy, not punitive and frankly barbaric institutions of policing.

Protesters arrested for obstructing traffic, or even damaging property, are howling from the pain of open wounds. It is our responsibility to heal them.

Bridget Wendy O'Brien

Fort Wayne

Grateful for her 'gift of abundance'

Extreme gratitude for the unknown kind and generous woman who paid for my more than $122 grocery bill at Kroger on St. Joe Road on June 14.

She declined to be identified and said, “Have a blessed day.” I am so grateful for her gift of abundance and will certainly pay it forward.

Joni Weber

Fort Wayne

Hospital visitation unnecessarily harsh

I recently admitted my husband to Parkview Hospital.

They took us to the first place to register, handed my husband an orange piece of paper (no gloves or mask on) that had his name and birthdate.

Another girl came around the corner with a mask, gown and gloves on and took him to ER. I started after them and was told by the girl at the desk to stop. She said, “You can go no further. You go to your car.” I said, “Our daughter brought us; I have no car.” She said, “Start walking, then.” Rude rude.

I needless to say was upset so called our daughter to come and get me.

People are so on edge; that is a problem anywhere you go.

We cannot go in with anyone to the ER; you cannot see them in their room. You have to sit at home and hope for a phone call. COVID-19 is in another building far from the heart pavilion, so why? It does not make sense at all.

I would like an explanation, but there is no explanation. No rights, No liberty for the common folk.

I have nothing against change, but it should be common-sense change.

Betty Stewart

Fort Wayne

Officers need us now like we needed them

One month ago we were praising our medical staff, police officers, firefighters and EMTs for going head on at the coronavirus to protect us from it spreading it to our families.

Speaking just about our officers: We made them appreciation signs, cheered for them, bought them meals and air hugged them. Even the crooks stayed away.

Suddenly, several suspects were killed in other cities by their police officers. Just as suddenly, the appreciation we had for our officers changed as if they were guilty of the crimes other officers committed.

We went from thanking them for their bravery and dedication to trying to eliminate the police.

These are the officers who were right there when we needed them; I think it's time for us to be there for them, when they need us.

Jerry Vandeveer

Fort Wayne

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