Letters to the Editor

03/08 What you’re saying: Fenton McGonnell, David Schwartz, Burhan Ghanayem, Ginger Young, Bob Vasile and Tim O’Brien

Has Amazon driven at rush hour?

This morning’s business section stated that Atlanta and Northern Virginia were the favorites for the establishment of the new Amazon headquarters. I would highly recommend that the executives involved in this selection attempt to drive a few miles during the 3:30 to 7 p.m. time frame on a week day. I suspect they might have to re-evaluate the positions. Great airports are wonderful only if you can get to them expeditiously. Short of helicopter rides, this is not possible in these two venues.

Fenton McGonnell

Durham

Wonderful wheelchair campaign

One of the most precious aspects of community is the bonds of empathy and reciprocal obligation that impel individuals to come to the aid of a fellow community member. Recently, a striking outpouring of community support occurred right here in Chapel Hill.

On Jan. 17, Chapel Hill High School graduate Becky Worth-Jones set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to help fellow CHHS alumna Terri Nida purchase a new motorized wheelchair, which Terri’s insurance would not cover. Word of Terri’s need was broadcast over Facebook and through other channels and immediately donations began flowing in from CHHS Tigers near and far.

In just a few weeks, 196 people contributed $28,000. On hitting that milestone, Becky Worth-Jones wrote to the donors: “Terri and all of us would like to THANK each and everyone of you for your Generosity, Kindness and LOVE that you have shared with Terri. We never thought we could raise this much money for Terri and not only did we raise it, but before our deadline and with some extra to pay for Go Fund me fees and such. Y’all are a Wonderful Group of Friends! Terri is well loved!”

To read more about Terri and the fundraising campaign, visit www.gofundme.com/terris-wheelchair-a-better-life.

David Schwartz

Chapel Hill

Nothing more anti-Semitic

In response to Peter Reitzes (“Angela Davis speech at Duke promotes anti-Israel agenda,” Feb. 23), it is imperative to provide some historic background to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

The West Bank and Gaza, including Jerusalem, are Palestinian land occupied by Israel in 1967. U.N. resolutions 242 and 338 called for the end of the occupation in return for peace. Countless agreements affirmed these resolutions including the U.S.-sponsored Madrid conference, and the Road Map. The Palestinians signed the U.S.-sponsored 1993 Oslo agreement and accepted the two-state solution, Unfortunately, since 1993 Israel built hundreds of settlements intended for “Jews only” use and more than 60,0000 Jewish settlers are now living on Israeli-occupied Palestinian land. The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits occupying powers form settling its citizens on occupied land.

More than 4 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza are deprived of “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.” The Israeli occupation is swallowing the land and homes of Palestinians, rendering them homeless in their own country. Few years ago, Israel confiscated my family’streasured farm land.

Israel with unlimited U.S. economic, military, and political support continues to frustrate the hopes of the Palestinians for justice and freedom. Mr. Reitzes and many cheerleaders of Israel are accusing anyone who speaks against these injustices of anti Semitism. There is nothing more anti-Semitic than the support of the continued Israeli occupation of millions of Palestinians and denying them the right to peace with justice and freedom. Accusing Angela Davis and those who speak against the Israeli occupation of Palestinians of being anti-Semitic is depriving this term from its meaning and will on the long run harm Israel and Jews everywhere.

Burhan Ghanayem

Durham

Book Harvest adds position

As we enter our eighth year, Book Harvest has a proven track record of innovation, standing alongside families from the moment their children are born through their school years to ensure they have the books and literacy supports they need for success in school – and in life. At this moment in our organizational trajectory, we are prepared to explore how our core programs may be replicated and scaled, as we embark on a path of sustainable transformation in our community and beyond.

I am so thrilled to share with our wider community that Rachel Stine has been named the organization’s first Program Director. In this newly created position, Rachel will support and provide day-to-day strategic direction to our team that manages the portfolio of Book Harvest programs. As so many people who have met Rachel know, she is the ideal candidate to help lead our grand – and realistic – ambitions.

Rachel has been on staff at Book Harvest since 2015, most recently as Education Partnerships Manager. In this role, she guided the extensive expansion of Book Harvest’s Books on Break program, a partnership with local schools focused on stemming summer learning loss among elementary school students by providing free pop-up bookstores in media centers in school just prior to summer break. This past year, Rachel ensured that students in each of the 30 elementary schools in the Durham Public School system had the opportunity to choose books to take home for summer and keep forever. In addition, under her leadership all elementary schools in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School system participated along with schools in the Orange and Chatham County systems. In total, her work helped to provide 93,827 books to 18,867 students over the 2017 summer break.

Rachel also leads the multi-county Close the Gap initiative, collaborating with Piedmont-centered literacy leaders to support their summer programming. Plus, she has co-led Durham County’s successful enrollment in the network of communities that are participating in the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a widely recognized initiative to move the needle on third grade reading proficiency across the country.

Book Harvest is so fortunate to have a team of talented colleagues with deep connections to the community, the schools, and, especially, to amazing parents -- all of whom are devoted to their children’s lifelong success and flourishing. With Rachel in this newly created position, I know that together we can make an even more enduring difference for the children in our community.

Ginger Young

Founder and executive director

Book Harvest

Ticket pricing unfair

As reported last Thursday in “Alexander Hamilton ‘founded’ the Fed. Do you need your own bank to see his namesake musical?”, DPAC’s pricing policy has come under fire. To add some more fuel, DPAC’s pricing for accessible seating reveals a broader insensitivity to our community.

I recently bought tickets for “The Color Purple” next month. I am legally blind, so I purchased accessibility seats to take advantage of the audio description service. Not only are disabled patrons charged the normal convenience fee, but they are required to pay the more exorbitant prices for the section where DPAC locates its accessible seating. This is unfair. If I could drive to the box office, I would do so to save the extra $18 per ticket. Also, I would not sit up close if I did not need to do so.

Playmakers at UNC hosts Arts Access on an open seating night with a reserved accessibility section. Given that DPAC is owned by the city of Durham, I would have expected a stronger commitment to making the arts accessible to our community.

Tim O'Brien

Durham

Vote in more progressives

Re: Early education programs need results – and good data (March 6)

Our right wing N.C. government has waged war on public education. Our federal government bought and paid for by the NRA has left the kids open to more violence. We have to vote in more progressives in state and federal positions to override the destruction the Deplorables are creating !

Bob Vasile

via www.heraldsun.com

Speak up

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