Letters to the editor

Nov. 07, 2013 @ 03:07 PM

Thank you, Durham

Three years ago, we moved to Durham.  We were going to give it a year and see how it went.  

Ha! It goes well.  We found a community that celebrated its rich diversity and fostered a sense of belonging, even to new transplants like ourselves.  We found a place where people cared about each other and respected personal perspectives and histories.  We found a place to call home, which was beyond our wildest expectations.

The Five Points fire on Monday has made for a trying week to say the least, but the support we have received has been astounding.  It only strengthens our sense of home. An event like this can be an alienating and isolating experience, but Durham has enveloped us with a quilt of comfort.

There were more offers to help than we could possibly accept, which is a humbling feeling.  Thank you to everyone who reached out.  I want each individual to know how much we appreciate their contribution, but I can’t even begin to list the full extent of help offered.  However, I do I want to publicly thank a few people:

Durham Fire Department, Aaron Averill and Stacy Jasper, Dawn Bland at Center Studio Architecture, Dorian Bolden and Beyu Caffe, Molly Demarest at American Underground, Eric Forslin, Glenn Goldman and Mary Boerman, Bryan and Lindsey Scherich and Tim Neill at Bar Lusconi.

And more generally, but most importantly -- Thank you, Durham.

Todd and Erin Mosier

Durham

Justifying slavery unfortunate

"Twelve Years a Slave" reminds us that slavery is a crime against humanity. It was the powerful being inhumane to those who fell under their power for mainly economic benefit. 

A modern day equivalent  is Ariel Castro's enslavement of his three captives. What he did in Cleveland would had been acceptable in the South about  150 years ago for black humans. The point of the movie is this could happen to anyone based on skin color at the time. The only determining factor was skin color -- not intelligence, not social status and not the ability to contribute to society. 

It is unfortunate and frightening that some such as Frank Hurley try to justify slavery and minimize its effects.  I wonder if he would have the same attitude as stated in his opinion from Nov. 3, if someone in his bloodline had been enslaved.
Gary Ward
Durham

Understand gentrification process

This is in response to Lamont Lilly's column (Nov. 5), “Gentrification rocks N.C.'s historic black community.”  

While I don't disagree gentrification can lead to the displacement of low-income residents, I do have some disagreements about how it happens.  Mr. Lilly states "Gentrification is the process of replacing low-income distressed communities with new commercial and residential districts that cater to the middle and upper class." In fact, gentrification is a long, complex process that typically starts with individuals who cannot afford high rent moving into distressed neighborhoods so they can fix up a home and make it a nice place to live.  Once a few individuals fix up a few homes in a neighborhood, it starts to appeal to more people, businesses notice, and only then do wealthier residents arrive. 

I also question Mr. Lilly's reference to eminent domain.  Mr Lilly states "eminent domain is once again uprooting mostly poor black residents." I read the news every day and have not seen anything about any recent examples of eminent domain.  It would be very surprising if our government is invoking eminent domain to build designer strip malls, as Mr. Lilly implies. 

Intelligent discourse on the topics of gentrification and eminent domain will not happen until we take the time to truly understand the processes those words represent.  Once we have a full understanding of those processes and their effects on communities, we can work to find creative solutions that will help low-income residents feel a vital part of a prospering Durham.

Nancy Hanks

Durham