Letters to the Editor

What you’re saying: Michael Thomas Whittingham, Dolly Reaves, Shaun Thomas, Vicki Ryder, Wanda Boone and Douglas Hines

Are the pyramids next?

Can anyone tell me the difference between what happened in Durham Monday night to what ISIS is doing in Iraq? Destroying relics and monuments that do not align with their beliefs.

What’s next? Destroy the pyramids in Egypt?

Michael Thomas Whittingham


Absurd charges

On August 12, 2017, white supremacists held a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in protest of the removal of a Confederate statue. At this event, a right-wing terrorist drove his vehicle into a crowd of anti-racism activists, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.

On August 14, a group of protesters in Durham toppled a statue of a Confederate soldier. They are now being charged with felony vandalism charges, because, in the words of Sheriff Mike Andrews, “the planned demonstration should serve as a sobering example of the price we all pay when civil disobedience is no longer civil.”

This is utterly ridiculous. When civil disobedience is no longer civil, human beings are injured or killed. This happened on August 12, not on August 14. The statute of this Confederate soldier was erected in 1924 as a symbol of racism and white supremacy in the South. I ask Sheriff Andrews, what price have we paid by its removal?

Gov. Roy Cooper says there are better ways to take these statues down. Yet in 2015, the N.C. General Assembly created a law banning local governments from taking down Confederate monuments (as their response to the right-wing terrorist attack killing nine people in Charleston). Confederate statues such as this one were erected to intimidate and oppress, and today there is one less symbol of oppression in Durham.

I urge Sheriff Andrews and the District Attorney’s Office to drop these absurd charges, and focus their energy and resources instead on keeping our community safe from harm.

Shaun Thomas


Reaves prepared to fight

My name is Dolly Reaves, and I am running for City Council, Ward 2. Yep, there are six of us. So what makes me so special? Well, nothing, I guess. I’m not really special, but there are some things about me that make me stand out from the rest.

You see, I’m not your conventional candidate. I don’t have a resume that is perfectly polished full of political experience. You won’t find a long list of committees that I’ve been a part of, and you won’t find a long work history either. In fact, many of my personal experiences are not something one would put on a resume. If they were, it would read something like this: by the age of 22, I have been homeless, jobless, and without a car. I have been a single mom, trapped in poverty.

Statistically, I shouldn’t have graduated high school, college or be running for office.

So who am I? I’m the single parent fighting for her kids. I’m the homeless person who’s searching for affordable housing. I’m that rape victim who didn’t find justice. I’m the person at human services, being judged for being poor. I’m the person looking for a job where I can afford childcare and rent. I’m everyone who has struggled or is struggling. And if elect, I’ll be your voice in politics. We need to focus on building strong communities for a stronger Durham and I’m prepared to fight to make it happen.

Dolly Reaves


Editor’s note: We welcome one letter per month from candidates in this fall’s elections from now until Oct. 15. Send them to letters@heraldsun.com

Nukes ban a must

It’s been 72 years since the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, instantly incinerating tens of thousands of innocent people and bringing unimaginable suffering to many thousands more.

Yet decades later, the U.S. still plans to build and stockpile these weapons of mass destruction, at an estimated cost of more than $1 trillion of our tax dollars over the next 30 years, while North Korea tests its nuclear capabilities, and the White House fires back warnings “not to sleep easily.”

Our Constitution granted Congress sole power to declare war, to ensure that this grave decision not be left to the whims of any one individual. But presidents also have the power to act alone in emergencies, allowing an impetuous president to launch multiple nuclear weapons, enough to destroy the planet many times over, without the consent of Congress, his cabinet, or anyone else!

Frighteningly, the Trump administration has walked away from treaty negotiations currently being held at the United Nations to ban nuclear weapons and to establish an international norm recognizing them as a threat to the entire planet. We must let Congress know that a global ban on nuclear weapons is a must! Only then will we be able to “sleep easily.”

Vicki Ryder


As college students across North Carolina return to school for the fall semester, the N.C. ABC Commission and local partners are increasing their focus on preventing underage drinking and sales to intoxicated customers – both of which are high-liability issues for local businesses.

N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement and local law enforcement departments may intensify enforcement efforts in Durham to ensure that businesses are fully complying with the laws and regulations, specifically those which prohibit underage people from purchasing, possessing, or consuming alcoholic beverages.

Along with Together for Resilient Youth (TRY) and the N.C. DMV License and Theft Bureau, the N.C. ABC Commission is providing free training in Durham for ABC permit holders and an information session for community members. Join us for a free information session at noon Aug. 24 at East Regional Library, 211 Lick Creek Lane. RSVP at http://bit.ly/2id6wpr

It will cover:

▪ Eliminating sales to underage: acceptable IDs, checking IDs, fake IDs, server discretion, criminal consequences, civil liability, employee disqualification

▪ Eliminating sales to intoxicated persons: server discretion, criminal consequences, civil liability, employee disqualification

▪ Other laws and regulations

Wanda Boone

Together for Resilient Youth

Dire threat to Gulf life

The Washington Post reports that the The Gulf of Mexico “dead zone” is now larger than ever – the size of New Jersey, dwarfing the infamous Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010.

Dead zones – where no aquatic life survives, are created by agricultural runoff from Midwestern factory farms, which is dumped into the Gulf by the Mississippi River. Nitrogen and phosphorus from animal waste and animal feed crop fertilizer, cause explosive growth of microscopic algae. Dead algae are consumed by bacteria that suck out all the dissolved oxygen, leading to widespread extinction of all sea life, and destroying fishery operations and recreational activities.

A temporary solution, recommended by agricultural experts, is crop rotation, selective applications of fertilizer, wastewater treatment, and sediment and storm water controls.

The ultimate solution is to convert wasteful production of cows, pigs, chickens, and the corn and soybeans that feed them to more eco-friendly raising of grains, vegetables, and other crops for direct human consumption.

Each of us can accelerate this process by switching our personal consumption of animal flesh, dairy, and eggs into the many delicious, convenient, healthy plant-based meats, cheeses, and ice creams available in our local grocery store.

Douglas Hines


What you’re saying

Please send up to 300 words to letters@heraldsun.com. All submissions, online comments and posts to editor Mark Schultz’s Facebook page may beedited for space and clarity. Thank you.