Letters to the Editor

05/01 What You’re Saying: Tracie Fellers, Tony Blake, Josh Gurlitz, Richard Cramer, Kathryn Henry, and Thomas Henderson

Coda for Bill Cosby

It’s a sad day for anyone who grew up in the Cosby era.

Anybody who saw themselves – or who they wanted to be – in any member of the affluent, telegenic, fictional but relatable Huxtable family.

Anybody who ever got caught up in the “Different World” of Hillman College and rooted for the unlikely romance between engineer-in-the-making Dwayne Wayne and Whitley Gilbert.

Anybody who can remember the charm of hearing “Hey, hey, hey, it’s Faaat Albert,” and the funky backbeat that opened the groundbreaking cartoon series, inviting kids to join Fat Albert and the gang in one of their inner-city adventures.

Even anybody who can remember Bill Cosby as a trusted face during the commercial breaks, selling Jell-O and Pudding Pops.

Anybody like me.

For the record, I’m not looking at Cosby through rose-colored glasses. That view was snatched away more than three years ago, when detailed accounts of a pattern of predatory behavior became public.

But while I no longer see Cosby as the ultimate father and family man that he played on TV, and believe that the jury in his retrial issued the right verdict, my heart still aches. I’m still unable to reconcile my love and deep appreciation for Cosby’s contributions to global entertainment, education and African-American culture with the revulsion and disappointment I feel about his treatment of women who admired and respected him.

In the wake of the guilty verdict on all three charges – a jolt, even with the groundswell of the #MeToo movement – I’m feeling almost as conflicted as I did back in January 2015, when I urged my mass communication students at NCCU to follow the coverage of accusations against Cosby and wait for the truth to emerge.

On Thursday, a Norristown, Pennsylvania, jury of seven men and five women issued a definitive verdict in Cosby’s case. I’m not sure if I ever will.

Tracie Fellers

The writer is an adjunct instructor at N.C. Central University and writer who lives in Durham.

Stanford for Orange clerk of court

I am endorsing Jamie Stanford for the office of Clerk of Superior Court. Mr. Stanford has worked effectively in the County Clerk's office for 17 years. He brings excellent credentials to this position, almost three decades working in the legal profession. A licensed NC attorney (UNC School of Law), prior to the Clerk of Superior Court position Jamie practiced law in Chapel Hill for 11 years with the law firm of Northern-Blue.

The clerk's duties require the timely filing of accurate court records, organizing voter registration, and scheduling elections. The clerk presides over the probate of wills, the administration of estates and presides over other legal matters including adoptions, incompetency proceedings, condemnation of private lands for public use, and foreclosures.

Jaimie understands the importance of keeping good records and of dealing congenially with the public. He is honest, reliable and willing to work the long hours needed for the position.

I believe Jamie Stanford is the person best qualified to remain our county clerk.

Tony Blake

Orange County

Greene for Orange commissioner

I support Sally Greene for Orange County commissioner because she has shown an unwavering commitment to the nonprofit organizations that provide basic social services. Be it housing, mental health, and many other safety-net services, Sally stands out for her leadership, advocacy, and results. Vote for her and she will bring this commitment to our Orange County community. I will be voting for Sally.

Josh Gurlitz

Chapel Hill

More balance in Mideast debate

I feel the need to respond to my friend Ellie Kinnaird's one-sided letter about Israeli complicity in the on-going sad situation of the Palestinians (“Palestinian Catastrophe,” April 27). I am sympathic to the term Nakba, or Catastrophe, to describe what happened to the Palestinians after Israel declared its independence in 1948. I also agree that Israel's continued occupation of the West Bank and its official support for Jewish settlements in that area is wrong.

But nowhere does Kinnaird recognize that it was concerted Arab military attack on the new state of Israel that had led to periodic subsequent hot wars and expansion of the land that Israel controls. Also, while seldom mentioned, the displacement of Palestinians from their land is matched by a displacement of probably more Jews from Arab and Muslim lands in the Middle East and North Africa. They are no more welcome to return to their former homes than are the Palestinians to return to what is now Israel.

The tragic circumstances of displaced and oppressed Palestinians is real. Acceptance of a two-state solution with elimination of military threats and equitable distribution of resources is the best we can hope for in that troubled area of the world. It must be accompanied by a more balanced view of blame for the Nakba and the reason for Israel to exist as a haven for Jews still feeling the effects of last century's Holocaust.

Richard Cramer

Chapel Hill

No shackles

Imagine being pregnant and being afraid to take a step because your hands and feet are shackled, and one wrong move to could lead to a fall that can put you and your pregnancy in danger. It is a horrific scenario and yet this is what people who are incarcerated face in North Carolina even though there was recently a small win prohibiting shackling during labor.

Advocates are working to expand this not only because it's the right thing to do, but also because shackling during any part of pregnancy and the postpartum period is dangerous. It puts the individual and the child at risk. It also makes it difficult for health professionals to provide care, including in emergency situations when time is of the essence.

Shackling serves no public benefit. Among the states that have restricted shackling of pregnant prisoners, none have documented instances of women in labor escaping or causing harm to themselves, the public, security guards, or medical staff.

As a state, we have talked at length about how people should be treated. We have debated about quality healthcare. But people who are incarcerated are often left out of these discussions. Right now in North Carolina, pregnant people from correctional institutions are still being shackled during pregnancy, postpartum recovery, lactation and breastfeeding. This practice is not only dehumanizing but it is dangerous. The courts and 18 other states agree.

The North Carolina state prison policy on shackling must be brought in line with best practices and recommendations of health professionals and training should be provided to ensure that it is implemented consistently. It is a matter of public health, of dignity, and decency.

Kathryn Henry


Stop sanctuary

Regarding “Honduran mother takes sanctuary from ICE in Chapel Hill church” (Apr. 18):

When churches harbor fugitives from the law they are no longer just churches. They are also criminal enterprises, and should be treated accordingly.

As a minimum, their tax exempt status should be revoked. Perhaps some gutsy legislator will be brave enough to introduce a bill to that effect.

Thomas Henderson


Election letters deadline

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