Letters to the Editor

04/26 What You’re Saying: Nerys Levy, Fran Langstaff

17,000 dinner guests later

Twenty-one years ago saw the first Annual Community Dinner in our community. It was held in February 1997 at McDougle School in Carrboro to celebrate Black History Month and was generated by the Cultural Arts Group, the Carrboro Branch Library and Mildred “Mama Dip” Council. Seventeen thousand dinner guests later, the Annual Community Dinner, with its emphasis on social inclusion, cultural diversity and community building is still a major cultural event in our local social calendar, and it is still held at the McDougle School in Carrboro.

If you haven’t been to a Community Dinner yet this is the year for you to go. It’s at 1 p.m. Sunday April 29, and you will meet many neighbors to whom you have never spoken and will share with them great food prepared by Mama Dip’s Kitchen and other restaurants and organizations. There is also entertainment by the NC Youth Tap Ensemble, Mama Do a Tone duo, the Paperhand Puppet Intervention, Faulkner’s dancers and gymnasts from Hillsborough and St Joseph’s Church Spirit of Praise Choir. Ron Stutts is our MC and Marlyn Henriquez Valeiko is our Spanish Language MC. Volunteers will make you feel welcome and the event will be 96 percent waste free, thanks to Orange County Solid Waste Management. Your dinner will be served by familiar faces-some of them will be your elected representatives, and at the end of the day you will feel even more connected to the people who live in our community. Tickets are $8 for adults and $3 for children 10 and under and are available at many ticket venues locally; go to the website communitydinner.org for more information.

In 2014 the event was awarded a National League of Cities Cultural Diversity Award where people asked “Where is this place where you all eat together? What a great idea! I think we should follow your example!” Today there are many community dinners on the internet. Some have been inspired by our event, and we feel very proud of that.

Nerys Levy


Birkhead well qualified

After reading Virginia Bridges’ article “Durham County Sheriff Race heats up over Birkhead’s record” I felt compelled to write this letter.

Of particular note is the lack of any questioning of the present sheriff’s record of massive failures at the jail and the poor, and at times, illegal behavior of some of his deputies. I sincerely believe that the good residents of Durham County are a lot more interested in the unexplained deaths of six prisoners at the Durham County Jail and a deputy having a sexual relationship with a middle school student, as well as deputies being stopped for driving while intoxicated, than something that happened in Orange County many years ago. Why didn’t Bridges ask the current sheriff to explain these issues. Birkhead was willing to answer questions regarding Orange County and a thorough reading of the reports shows that while the town managerwas certainly doing his best to discredit Birkhead at every turn, the reports don’t live up to his level of criticism.

The article also failed to note that Birkhead has filled out questionnaires and undergone interviews that included this matter and satisfied and received the endorsements of the People’s Alliance, the Committee on the Affairs of Black People, and the Friends of Durham. Birkhead has also received the endorsement of the Independent Weekly in Durham.

It was also interesting that the article did not mention Birkhead’s work as a deputy with the Randolph County Sheriffs Department; his 17 years of service with the Duke University Police Department, where he was chief for the last seven years of his tenure, nor does she mention his educational qualifications: a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a master’s degree in Organizational Management.

Clarence Birkhead is well qualified to serve as Sheriff of Durham County, by experience and education. More importantly, Birkhead has a true belief in criminal justice for ALL people; he possesses compassion, intellect and integrity.

Vote Clarence Birkhead for Sheriff of Durham County.

Fran Langstaff


Editor’s note: Read more about the sheriff’s race in another story, “Will endorsements, jail conditions and immigration devide the Durham County sheriff’s race.” Find the story at bit.ly/2FagjTD

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