Opinion

What you’re saying: Mayor Bill Bell, Joan F. Walsh, Becky Roberts and Edward Shoucair

Why I’m supporting Cora Cole-McFadden

It has been my honor to serve as a Durham County commissioner for 26 years, 12 years as chairman of the Board of County Commissioners and as mayor since 2001. As my term as mayor ends Dec. 4, I have some thoughts on the upcoming City Council elections and one candidate specifically who is running for re-election and whom I am supporting: Cora-Cole McFadden.

I have had the privilege of serving with Cora during my 16 years on the council and I appointed her as the mayor protempore. Although Cora is running for re-election from Ward 1, she has been an excellent City Council person/mayor pro tempore for all of the city of Durham. Much of the progress that our city has made these past 16 years has been due to the support and leadership of Cora. As a city that is now the fourth-largest city in the state and is still growing and that has received many local, state and national accolades, we still face challenges.

The challenges of providing more affordable housing for families whose incomes are below the median income, continuing to reduce crime, and reducing poverty are all long-term challenges that Cora understands. She has the experience and knowledge to help overcome those challenges, as well as other city challenges facing our growing city, using realistic and practical methods. She well recognizes and is considerate of the property taxpayers who pay the bills and are also impacted by council decisions. She was born in Durham and has tremendous knowledge of the city its people and its history. She has much needed institutional knowledge of city government and also knowledge as a former city department head.

Finally, my concern about the upcoming City Council elections is that theoretically, it is possible that the city may end up with a council, the majority of whom will have had no prior experience on the council, as well as any experience in setting policy for the city and the city administration. Durham, in my opinion, has come too far to have its council in the hands of a majority void of any city council experience. Cora understands the importance of team work, creating public private and nonprofit partnerships. She knows how it will take a team working together with the city administration, to include, but not limited to the city manager and police chief, to move the city forward. I would respectfully ask for you and others to vote to re-elect Cora-Cole McFadden.

William V. “Bill” Bell

Mayor

Freedom of consumer choice under attack

On reading the guest column by Presbyterian ministers Mark Davidson and Ron Shive (“Blind support of Israel erodes American liberties,” The Herald-Sun, Aug. 26), I was horrified.

House Bill 1697 and Senate Bill 720 would criminalize the free exercise of consumer choice. These bills are intended to squelch the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which uses the same methods that ended the apartheid regime in South Africa in 1991 to bring an end to apartheid in Israel and Palestine.

If anyone disputes the comparison between South Africa and Israel/Palestine, they need only visit the Occupied Territories, or read objective sources. Every settlement, every road, every checkpoint carves up Palestinian land and prevents people from getting to work or school or healthcare, making a two-state solution less feasible. Palestinians inside Israel are treated as second-class citizens at best; Palestinians in the Territories are treated as subhuman, just as blacks were in South Africa. Their homes are destroyed, their olive groves decimated, their water stolen. The goal is obvious: to force them to migrate from their ancestral land so that Israel can claim it all.

How is it possible that conscientious people here in the U.S. could be criminalized for objecting to this grave injustice, and for spending their money accordingly? This is blatantly unconstitutional and will not hold up in court, but why should anyone have to contest it? I cannot believe this can happen in a country that claims to stand for freedom of speech and – perhaps even more – for freedom of consumer choice.

Joan F. Walsh

Durham

When the black man came to the door

In response to the column by Christine Emba (“Why I’m tired of explaining that I matter,” The Herald-Sun, Aug. 22)

I am an 83-year-old white woman, and I agree with you 100 percent when you say people of all colors and races are equally important.

When I was 8 I was with my parents while visiting relatives. My cousins and I were outside playing when a black man came to the front door to see my uncle who was a white business man. My uncle opened the door and told the black man, “If you will go to the back door, I’ll talk to you.” The black man went to the back door.

I stopped in my tracks in disbelief. Even as a child I felt the embarrassment and pain of the black man.

I’ve never forgotten that experience in all the years following. I hope my uncle had a reasonable excuse for asking the man to go to the back door. My brother, Bill, two years older than me, had a black friend whose home was near ours. They played together and saw no difference in skin color. This was a long time before schools were integrated.

Before retiring from real estate management I met people of all races, some to study at Duke, NCCU, or those needing housing for other reasons. I treated all equally and was grateful for their business.

We must educate ourselves and our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. We must learn to be thoughtful, caring, and helpful, even if we are different.

We all matter!

Becky Roberts

Durham

Why bleach American history?

While driving my son to college yesterday, he confessed that he was confused about why people were taking down statues of Confederate generals and politicians. He asked, “Aren’t these statues part of America’s history? If we take them down and pretend they didn’t exist, isn’t that like bleaching history?”

He had an idea. “Why don’t towns and cities keep up the statues somewhere in their communities and display them along with monuments to remember the millions of Americans who were enslaved? And why not add plaques to the bases of the Confederate statues telling the whole story? The monuments and plaques could explain that America didn’t get everything right the first time, that slavery and other old ways that harmed people took time to correct, and American is still trying to improve. Wouldn’t it be more honest to tell how African Americans suffered from slavery, how Americans fought for and against it, how it was eventually abolished and legally today everyone is equal in this country?”

“You know the Confederate statues weren’t just erected to remember the Civil War? Many were put up as statements of white power during the era of Jim Crow segregation between 1890 and 1960,” I noted.

“More of the story to add to the plaques,” he said.

“The idea,” I added, “reminds me of how the Germans have gone out of their way to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive. In many places, there are engraved plaques in front of buildings with the names of the Jewish families who lived there before they were taken away to concentration camps.”

“It’s not so much the existence of the statues that I find troubling,” my son paused. “It’s the lack of memorials that help us learn from the hard parts of American history that concerns me.” He asked, “Don’t you think we’re better off when we say out loud who we were and what we did? Isn’t knowledge what changes us and what helps to keep us from making the same mistakes over again?”

Edward Shoucair

Gloucester, Massachusetts

Editor’s note: The writer was a history student under the late Duke University Professor Harold Parker.

What you’re saying

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