All students should feel comfortable
I have been reading some of the back and forth discussions concerning the names of some of our schools. If we truly examine our public school systems purpose I believe we will all agree that an educational institution should be a safe place for our youth to go and receive an unbiased education.
Our children spend about 30 hours a week in these buildings absorbing tons of information. Not intimidated by a heritage that doesn’t belong to them.
When they walk the halls of these schools they should feel safe, comfortable and secure. Their environment should be without negative influence.
I would challenge everyone to imagine themselves an African American youth and to take a walk down the halls of these schools. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes and imagine your child walking in those shoes. You will likely see things differently.
As for history, it is history and should remain so, we learn from history. Monuments have their place as well, perhaps in museums of history.
But institutions of learning should be just that, safe places for kids to be educated and to find out who they are and where they are going. To become all that God created them to be.
I leave you with a couple of examples. Would a Jewish kid be comfortable going the Adolf Hitler High School? Would the American Indian child be comfortable at the Colonel Custer Middle School? I would not be comfortable at the Malcom X Primary school either.
I really believe we need to think more about the children and our future and less about holding on to our past.
Party chairman questioned about email
(Editor’s note: The following was submitted as “An open letter to Nick Collette, chairman, Hanover Republican Committee.”)
On Sept. 12, you emailed a letter to Chris Peace threatening to expel him from the Hanover Republican Committee. You stated:
“I am contacting you to publicly renounce the write in (sic) effort that is being waged on your behalf. While you may not be openly advocating for it, and there are questions about that, your most passionate supporters, including your wife, are pushing your nomination in opposition to an official Republican nominee through the form of a write-in campaign ... we will have no choice but to take a vote on your removal from the Committee”.
Let’s understand this -- you’ve already expelled his wife in a letter last week without a vote because of her passionate support for her husband.
Shame on you for using emotionally evocative language in your letter by pulling the man’s wife into your threat.
Also, I understand that party committees at any level are voluntary associations and you think you’re doing what you should be doing. However, the question arises, are you using your best judgment to publicly expel Chris and his wife and indirectly threatening other members of the Committee?
How many members will you expel if they disagree with you or party rules to get your way to elect your candidate? It’s unfortunate you didn’t enforce the party rules and ethics when Scott Wyatt was chasing the nomination. You are showing the people of the 97th [District] how poor your judgment may be as a Republican.
Further, threatening members of your committee because people mention the words “write-in” doesn’t speak volumes for the Republican Party as a whole. You’re asking Del. Peace to “disavow” or “renounce” something that you deem a “campaign” when it’s merely citizens showing their discontent for this committee and party as a whole.
Chris has had nothing to do with my very vocal support of this write-in grassroots effort. It sounds as though you’re not as confident in your chosen nominee.
We have the right to vote for the person we feel will best represent our community and gathering support for that candidate. Since the chosen Republican candidate got his nomination in a way that thousands of us perceive as very unethical from the beginning and gave a 21st definition to the term “dirty politics”, we have the right to write-in Chris Peace.
You cannot tell me how to vote Nov 5. You are showing the people of the 97th how the political committees use bully tactics and you will stop at nothing to get your way.
Perhaps it’s time to clean house of these committees? The voters of the 97th are speaking loud and clear. We will not be bullied by you or your cronies. Thanks for adding fuel to the fire for thousands of voters to make up their minds to choose someone other than the status quo Republican candidate.
We know Chris Peace has been fulfilling his obligation to the Republican Oath he signed, although not necessarily by your application of that Oath.
You went too far when you threatened him and told him what he must do to remain a member in good standing with the Hanover Republican Committee.
Further, as you yourself stated, he has not campaigned and has followed the law as established by the Virginia Department of Elections. Why then do you s-t-r-e-t-c-h your authority to make him do what no one should have to do? For example, campaign for someone who campaigned using “dirty politics” to defeat him? That is “nutty” to think that he would.
Peace’s supporters are voters. We are not some rouge sect the almighty and powerful Committee must squash. Many of us do not like Wyatt; we tried to tell you that; but you forced your agenda.
Peacekeepers have our last opportunity for our voices to be heard by writing in our preferred candidate. You can threaten; you can belittle; you can further alienate; but you will not stop those of us who feel this is the right thing to do.
Write-in Chris Peace.
Responding to letters about Confederates
I can’t help but respond to the two letters in the Sept. 11 edition: Mary Louise Smith who wants the Hanover County School Board to “stand firm” in keeping the names of Confederate “great men”.
Honor does not belong to Jefferson Davis, who was imprisoned for treason, was a white supremacist and pro-slavery fighter who called the black race “inferior, fitted expressly for servitude.” He said all black people are not fit to govern themselves and should be treated in a “manner similar to lunatics, criminals and children.”
Daniel Corso’s letter outlining the biography of the slave-loving Davis reinforces the fact that nothing should be named after him and he deserves no American honor, road, school, highway, statute or otherwise. And then we have Varina down the road named after his wife.
The following is a direct quote from him regarding slaves: “In moral and social condition they had been elevated from brutal savages into docile, intelligent, and civilized agricultural laborers, and supplied not only with bodily comforts but with careful religious instruction.
Under the supervision of a superior race their labor had been so directed as not only to allow a gradual and marked amelioration of their own condition, but to convert hundreds of thousands of square miles of the wilderness into cultivated lands covered with a prosperous people; towns and cities had sprung into existence, and had rapidly increased in wealth and population under the social system of the South; the white population of the Southern slaveholding States had augmented from about 1,250,000 at the date of the adoption of the Constitution to more than 8,500,000 in 1860; and the productions of the South in cotton, rice, sugar, and tobacco, for the full development and continuance of which the labor of African slaves was and is indispensable, had swollen to an amount which formed nearly three-fourths of the exports of the whole United States and had become absolutely necessary to the wants of civilized man”.
What is it going to take to convince people that Davis is a has-been and deserves no recognition other than his infamous place in history and his defense of slavery?
Following Ms. Smith’s letter is one by Dan Johnson telling us that the “School division treats all people special”. Really?
No child should attend a school whose very name offends them based on facts. Just as the KKK is not welcome in Mechanicsville, neither should Jefferson Davis, who was a member.
The two generals were dedicated soldiers following orders under the command of Davis, but the Confederacy was about plantation power and if the Confederate generals offend people, then come up with a nice pleasant name like Pine Tree Middle School. The money spent on a lawsuit can better be used by the schools.
Time to move past the Civil War.
NAACP’s role defended in name changes
I’ve read with utmost interest the letters to The Mechanicsville Local concerning the name change of schools. I’ve read the comments about the lawsuit filed by the Hanover NAACP concerning the changing of the names of schools.
Some, in previous letters, have referred to the NAACP as a racist organization. Some feel we as African Americans need to learn some history so that we can all become a bit more educated on the topics we choose to discuss.
Let me share with you some information about the NAACP. We were created in 1909 during a time when we needed an advocate for people of color; thus, the name A National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. During that time, and, often now, we didn’t have that with police, with courts, or with the schools. There was no equality for people of color.
Today the vision of the Association is, and I quote, “The vision of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights and there is no racial hatred or racial discrimination.”
Please note the terminology “all individuals”. This is who we are and what we do. We protect the rights of all people. Nowhere in that statement do I find a racist tendency.
If a Caucasian, a LGBT person is mistreated, the NAACP would stand with you.
Regarding history, we have learned your history. It is all that is in the books we had to use in Hanover County Public Schools. Yet, our history, which is truly your history as well, is rarely told or even acknowledged. We know your history.
We had to learn about Lee, Jackson and your other Confederate generals, all the Confederate battles. We had to learn it. Hanover is almost the cradle of the Confederate battlefields.
But, did you learn in those same history books about Maggie L. Walker or John Mitchell? What about Lucian Hunter, Elizabeth Keckly or Mary Elizabeth Bowser? I could go on and on. These are all Virginians. Knowing these people would mean you received some understanding of real history.
My children and grandchildren are taught in school, but I have to add to what they are taught to ensure they have a full and truthful understanding of true history. True knowledge comes from having all the facts with which to make informed decisions.
Our history, our African American history, is rich with the struggles and the enduring tales of overcoming intolerance, degradation, the heartache of children being torn from the arms of their mothers, so that we could work for no pay for others, the terror of men being separated from their families and sold off, yet, we overcame it all. Strange how some of this resembles the occurrences of 2019.
And today, we still have to fight for and pray that others, not of color, will listen and understand our plight. That is why we still have an NAACP today.
I wish our organization did not have to exist. That would mean that inequality would no longer exist. That sadly is not the case.
The Hanover County School Board and Hanover County Board of Supervisors could easily save our county a lot of money by changing the names of the schools so that students of color don’t feel embarrassed by being called Confederates and Rebels. It appears that they would rather hire high-priced counsel using the taxpayers’ money -- our money -- to fight this simple change that so many other counties and states have already agreed to do.
One of the supervisors received an email offering to come up with the funds to change the names and as of yet no response. Many have received emails asking them not to waste our tax dollars in this manner with no response. The board of supervisors says, “We can’t make the decision. Dr. [Michael] Gill [superintendent of schools] says he doesn’t make the call.
Our Virginia Statutes state the change of name is the duty of the school board. That works well in counties where the school board is elected and would be accountable to the citizens, to save our tax dollars, but the Hanover school board is appointed by the board of supervisors. They, in essence, work for the supervisors.
We saw recently what happened to the school board member who voted to change the names of the schools. She no longer has a seat on the board.
Changing the names of the schools is simply a “kind” and “empathetic” thing to do! It also is a money saver for our county!