Letters to the editor – April 6th, 2016
Published 6:52 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2016
A culture of tension
Editor, Smithfield Times
I, as a graduate of IWA’s class of 2013, recently wrote an article for an online platform entitled: “An Open Letter To Isle Of Wight Academy.”
Let’s just say many former classmates and faculty from the school did not take too kindly to it.
As evident by social media, and simply just looking at some of my former classmates’ and teachers’ tweets and statuses, many do not see any issue with the incident that recently occurred at Isle of Wight academy. In fact, some seem enraged about the mere idea of some sensitivity training.
As a former student at this school, I am sadly here to call out what I have noticed as an environment of racial discrimination and one where diversity is not viewed kindly. This attitude is not only perpetuated by students, but also by some teachers.
I do not write these words to just gather attention or bring harm upon the girls who partook in the video. In fact, I have many fond memories at IWA. Yet, a culture of racial tension remains to this day and as a Christian I am called to speak out against incorrect views of God’s children and injustices perpetuated against them, even if that means speaking out against the place where I was basically raised.
Isle of Wight Academy, you have provided me with many great lessons, and I love many of you there, but we must grapple with the history of discrimination our institution has exhibited while also learning from this incident. This is not an isolated incident.
Until then, I will sadly have a little bit of shame every time I say that I came from your institution. And that really is a tragedy. Because you have many great loving and caring people there and also provide a great education. Perhaps you lack in diversity and inclusivity, but I hope that will change with the times.”
Brandon L. Ballard
Offended at everything?
After reading the article and letter to the Editor concerning the students putting on makeup at Isle of Wight Academy for a legitimate school project with no intention except to be historically accurate, I must say I too am offended. I am offended at certain people being offended at what seems to be everything. Flags, words, plays, bumper stickers, monuments, police, history they do not like, graves and too many other things to mention in one letter.
I am offended that they demand things like diversity training when they themselves are the ones that need diversity training. Liberals and certain segments of society demand diversity, inclusion and tolerance of what they like and are, but as soon as someone does something they do not agree with, that is the end of their belief in diversity, inclusion and tolerance. They demand to be tolerated but do not want to tolerate anyone or anything else.
I understand this is not a politically correct letter. Political correctness be dammed and everyone that lives by it. The Students did nothing wrong and for them to be disciplined in any way is a travesty and another bow down to the politically correct that should stop.
Upset over business plan
Editor, Smithfield Times
The folks on Days Point Road are facing a challenge that could happen to you — commercialization of a residential/agricultural area. For 60 years we have had three buildings on Monette Parkway ranted for office space. They were built before zoning. Bet you didn’t know they were there. No one did because there were never any problems.
These buildings have been sold and the new owners are trying to rezone the property commercial. There is much speculation as to what they want back there because a business plan has never been asked for or offered. One of the owners suggested to me that a fight was useless because “I have lots of money and besides it is a ‘done deal.’”
A fight is indeed underway. Days Point residents are angry. We have been told not too be emotional, but how would you react if your neighborhood was being invaded with commercialization and your property values could be impacted?
We have been told it is our obligation to h elp the new owners make a living from their property. Really? Isn’t it the new owners who should have done their own “due diligence” before purchasing the property? Wasn’t it their responsibility to check into how the neighborhood might feel about a brewery, a community center open from 7 a.m. to midnight, alcohol served on the premises and people going home on a dark curvey country road? The possibilities are endless.
After listening to my neighbors while collecting signatures on our petitions, I understand the Trump/Sanders phenomena. People are saying that no one listens to us! Here is an opportunity for our elected supervisors to listen. We all think business is a good thing. We understand that revenue is needed. However, not in the middle of a quiet neighborhood. There is much land in the county for business to flourish. We ask the supervisors to show us that they truly support the people who put them in office and the people who live in this county. I hope residents will attend the supervisors’ meeting April 21 at 6 p.m. and show them they don’t like this.
Lynn & William Faulkner
U.S. taken over
Editor, Smithfield Times
The Act of 1871 formed a corporation called the United States. The corporation is owned by foreign interests and moved in, shoving our original Constitution OF1787 into the trash! The Act of 1871 changed our original Constitution for the United States to the Constitution of the United States of America and is the constitution of the incorporated United States of America. It works in an economic capacity and tricks people to think it governs the Republic and it does not!
The Act of 1871 is a constitution for the government of the District of Columbia and does not nor has it ever been, intended to benefit our Republic. It operates completely outside the original Constitution. We should have unalienable rights such as the right to travel, but now that is classed as a “privilege” and you need to be licensed.
Linda Gould Steffey
Little church’s big donors
Editor, Smithfield Times
In January, I challenged the small congregation I serve at Uzzell United Methodist Church to raise a ridiculous amount of money ($6,000) to benefit missions. I listed the missions I had in mind and gave them until Easter Sunday (only 12 weeks away) to do it. To spark interest in accomplishing the goal I promised that if the challenge was met I’d dye my hair pink and kiss a pig.
Not only did those folks raise the requested amount of money, they exceeded it and completed the goal a week early. And now I have many people to thank for the special event that happened this past Saturday. The members of Uzzell UMC who gave so much of their time and effort. They spent many hours in the kitchen preparing food. They baked lasagna and desserts, they made barbecue, they compiled cookbooks, they did chocolate-covered cherries and strawberries, they held a jewelry party, they performed a skit, and they sold tickets — lots of tickets. They put out collection jars. My thanks to all who supported what I called Pastor’s Challenge 2016.
The generosity didn’t stop when the goal was reached. I want to thank The Hairstop for their gift of doing a fantastic job of dying my hair pink! And I’d certainly be remiss if I didn’t thank John Edwards of The Smithfield Times for allowing the use of the stage there at “Times Square.” All those who gathered for the Pig Kissing were grateful for the shelter during Saturday’s rain. Even the pig’s visit was donated to the cause. I had been a bit anxious about the pig, but Teeny Tiny Farms provided Bruno who was absolutely precious!
I’d also like to thank the representatives of several of the Challenge recipients who came to the event — Becky Holland from Pure Water Ministry, Becky Farmer from COPS, Brian Carroll from the Isle of Wight Rescue Squad, and Jim Cofer from Gideons International.
Of course, when you thank people and name names there’s always the chance of missing someone. If you had any part of this challenge and event, know that I appreciate it, but that I’m old and forget stuff!
Pastor Uzzell UMC