May 1, 2008 — Vol. 43, No. 38
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City needs to ‘refocus’ resources on education

The Banner’s recent editorial, “Time to refocus” (April 17, 2008), was right on point. During the last City Council race, I asked each councilor and would-be councilor to prioritize the overflowing plate of issues in need of attention in our city by selecting only one issue. Of those that responded, I discovered that violent crime, revamping the CORI system, the lack of jobs and the disparity in the delivering of city services seem to be the issues of import to our City Council.

While these issues are indeed very important and worthy of our attention, none of the councilors made a critical connection — that properly educating and graduating more people in this city would have a significant impact on helping to correct what they deem to be the vital few issues that need solving. Given our city’s finite resources, we ought to be working on initiatives that can provide the greatest benefit to all the issues we face.

While it is true that black leaders have been distracted by what was achieved during the civil rights era, it is also true that our leaders here in Boston are missing or have forgotten that education is still the prize that makes democracy possible and provides each of us with the opportunity to become whatever we dream.

Rodney Singleton

Black leaders need to bow backs, rebuff Wal-Mart

Regarding Talia Whyte’s recent article, “Wal-Mart raises funds, questions in black Hub” (April 17, 2008): When are our community leaders going to realize that if we are paid fair wages and offered fair benefits by our employers, we can provide for our own communities ourselves — without the assistance and further exploitation of dirty corporations like Wal-Mart?

Wal-Mart’s labor practices have not been a secret — the numerous lawsuits have been written about. Unfortunately, Wal-Mart is “unaware” of the fact that some of us are unwilling to sell out. I will personally refuse to spend my fairly earned wages with a business that accepts practices such as Wal-Mart’s. It is clear to me what Wal-Mart’s intentions are. Target’s prices are higher, but their quality of merchandise is better, and Target treats their employees like human beings, not slaves.

Sharon Akhimienho
Via e-mail

Baldwin’s passion, prose instructive for our times

I am writing to applaud Talia Whyte for the exceptional, heartfelt tribute to James Baldwin she penned during Black History Month (“Baldwin: A literary standard,” Feb. 14, 2008).

As a schoolteacher, mother, writer and citizen challenged by the times in which I have lived — I was a young teen fueled by the tempestuous ‘60s — and continue to live, it is a welcomed fire that Whyte’s article ignites. As Baldwin wrote, “We are responsible for the world in which we find ourselves …”

We need to tell it, and continue to go tell it on the mountain; to use language; to bear witness; to fan the flame of James Baldwin’s magnificent spirit.

The pen is, indeed, a mighty sword. Kudos to Ms. Whyte for her fiery article, and to the Banner for publishing it.

Adele Clements
Via e-mail

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