Letters to the Editor — Aug. 25, 2017

Date Published: 
Aug. 25, 2017

Reader: Monuments affirm racism

Editor:

The Confederate monument on the grounds of the Georgetown Historical Society is a 9-foot obelisk inscribed with the confederate flag and the names of Delawareans who fought with the Southern army; 25-foot flag poles flank it. One pole flies the Delaware flag and the other the Confederate flag, with its 13 stars representing the 11 Southern states that seceded from the United States and border slave states Kentucky and Missouri. The obelisk is also inscribed with a 14th star to represent Delaware — a slave state that did not secede.

At the dedication on May 12, 2007, dirt from each of the Confederate states was spread at the base of the monument to “give it a firm foundation in Southern soil.” Noted Southern patriot H.K. Edgerton led the crowd in singing “Dixie” and performed his rendition of “I am their Flag.” More about the dedication can be found in a May 15, 2007, article in the Southern Heritage News & Views (http://shnv.blogspot.com/2007/05/monument-to-delaware-confederates.html).

In the past 10 years, the Delaware General Assembly has granted a total of $150,532 to the Georgetown Historical Society. I urge our state legislators to publicly state that, in the future, no funds should be granted to this organization if it chooses to allow the Confederate monument and the Confederate flag on its property.

We all know the counterpoints:

• There are more important things the GA should be dealing with.

• It’s part of our heritage and history. It’s how we learn history.

• GA funds other groups whose work some taxpayers find objectionable.

• The Georgetown Historical Society uses state funding for other purposes.

And there are counterpoints to the counterpoints. For me, it comes down to one question:

Is it appropriate for the General Assembly to award tax dollars to a private organization that validates racism by permitting, on its property, a monument glorifying the Delawareans who chose to fight for the South?

I think it is long overdue for white America to stop romanticizing the “Johnny Reb” narrative and the heritage of “Old Dixie.” It was racism in 1860, and it is racism in 2017.

As Bryan Stevenson, Delaware native and executive director of Equal Justice Initiative, said:

“What we do in the [Confederate] memorial spaces says a lot about who we are. … We are celebrating the architects and defenders of slavery. I don’t think we understand what that means for our commitment to equality and fairness and justice. … You can’t create a healthy society when you celebrate and romanticize human rights violations, when you are indifferent to the trauma created by decades of human trafficking and enslavement.”

These totems are made of concrete and steel and bronze, but they have been screaming at African-Americans for decades. They have been there for decades, screaming this history of white supremacy, of the resistance to the end of emancipation, of resistance to integration — of a history worth honoring. And I think that has to change if we’re going to be a country that makes progress in dealing with racial inequality.

That 9-foot obelisk in Georgetown and the Confederate flag flying beside it are honoring racism. Our legislators must let all Delawareans know they will no longer support funding any organization, including the Georgetown Historical Society, that affirms racism.

Joanne Cabry, Chair

Progressive Democrats of Sussex County

Fundraiser a hit, thanks to many

Editor:

Spectators lined the streets in downtown of Bethany Beach. Dozens of volunteers were in place. And at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 6, in the third annual Athletes to End Alzheimer’s 5K Run/Walk, presented by Loftus Wealth Strategies, more than 625 runners took off at the starting line; 17.01 minutes later, the first finisher crossed the finish line on the iconic boardwalk.

Hundreds gathered for one reason: to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter. We hoped to raise $25,000 for treatment, research and support for those affected by Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, and early indicators show we are right on track! If we meet the goal, we will have raised nearly $70,000 in our three-year history.

There are so many to think for helping to support this important charity. We are a great “TEAM” — together everyone achieves more!

Our sponsors are our essential partners. Thank you to 26 Salon & Spa, Anne Powell Group at Keller Williams, Atlantic Shoals Surf Shop, Baja Beach House Grill, Bethany Surf Shop, Coastal Point, County Bank, Creative Resource Group, D.J. Padraig, Fairway Mortgage, Fischer’s Popcorn, Tom and Candace Hickman & Family, Home Instead Senior Care, Law Offices of Scott & Shuman, Law Offices of Susan Pittard Weidman and Tidewater Physical Therapy.

Thank you to the more than 100 volunteers for the gift of time. Thanks to all of the runners and walkers, especially the members of the fundraising teams, including the four standout teams of Studio 26, which raised $2,351, and Team Pappy (Brighid Loftus & Ian Schaubach), which raised $1,656, and Team Tae, which raised $1,555, and Jason Neri, who raised $1,360. Finally, sincere thanks to my family and my staff, especially Michelle Gates, and the Town of Bethany Beach.

We are excited to announce a new fundraiser in the fight against Alzheimer’s — our first annual Cornhole Tournament & Family Fun Day on Sept. 30 at Hooked Up in Millville. Recruit your cornhole team (limited to the first 52 teams who sign up) and register for $50, and join us for this inaugural event. Check out our webpage for more information: www.bagz4alzde.com.

Michael Loftus, Founder

Athletes to End Alzheimer’s 5K Run/Walk

Donation caused by great support

Editor:

On July 30, pickleball players from Delaware and Maryland gathered on the 10 dedicated courts installed by First State Pickleball Club Inc. behind J.M. Clayton Elementary to play in the club’s Paddle for a Cause.

The club is very grateful to the IRSD and J.M. Clayton Elementary school for allowing the abandoned tennis courts to be transformed into public courts for what is the fastest-growing sport in the country — pickleball.

Upon learning of the State cuts to the education budget, we wanted to help our “host” and held a dink challenge fundraiser. Pickleball players stepped up to play, but so did the community. Vickie York…at the Beach Realty sponsored the challenge, and individuals and businesses sponsored courts and/or donated items to the Chinese Auction coordinated by Nan Colella and her volunteer squad of Joanne Bruich, Margie Courtney, Donna Reid, Sara Thoroughgood and Frank Thoroughgood.

I’d like to thank our court sponsors Pickleball Nan, Ocean View CHEER Center, Sen. Gerald Hocker, Darlene Freas Photography, Mind, Body & Sole Wellness Center, Drifting Grounds Coffee House, Law Offices of Steve Parsons, Casapulla’s, Millville by the Sea, and Jefferson, Urian, Doane & Sterner CPAs.

Special thanks to Fishkiller’s Lobster Shack, PurePickleball, Engage Pickleball, Big Fish, Darlene Freas Photography and individuals who donated items for the auction. Thank you also to Rose Hanlon and Barbara Vogel for assisting on the day of the challenge.

We are very grateful for everyone’s support and were able to donate $1,400 to J.M. Clayton Elementary for school programs. There’s nothing dill about this sport or the players!

Cheryl Martin

USA Pickleball Association Ambassador

for Sussex County

Co-founder, First State Pickleball Club Inc.

Dink Challenge Director

Local NAACP against Confederate memorial

Editor’s note: The Lower Sussex County Branch of the NAACP released the following statement on Aug. 16 regarding the Delaware Confederate Monument on the grounds of the Georgetown Historical Society.

As the specter of white nationalist terrorism grows across America — from the Charleston church shooting to the Portland train stabbing to last weekend’s murderous rampage in Charlottesville — it has become increasingly clear that this country’s confederate monuments are no longer testaments to the past, but idols of white nationalist future.

When these structures – and the confederate flag that so often waves alongside them — become a rallying point for Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists, they exist only as a divisive threat to the greatness of America as the most inclusive and diverse country on earth.

While we give credit to the Delaware lawmakers who joined together to denounce the hate and violence of the white supremacists in Charlottesville, we cannot help but feel like more action is required by our local officials to offer the clear delineation between right and wrong that our president seems unable to acknowledge.

Today, we are calling on Sen. Brian Pettyjohn and Rep. Ruth Briggs King, who represent Georgetown in the General Assembly, to immediately call on the Controller General’s Office to halt its payment of $11,500 in Grant-in-Aid money to the Georgetown Historical Society until it removes the Delaware Confederate Monument from its grounds.

We certainly believe in a private organization’s Constitutional right to free speech — even speech that serves to demean and taunt persons of color, many of whom are descendants of the very slaves the Confederacy fought against the United States to keep. But we were shocked and dismayed to learn that taxpayer dollars are in subsidizing that message, and that must end immediately.

Lower Sussex County Branch, NAACP

OTCC offers info on Overbrook

Editor:

The OTCC website (www.know-otc.org) has been updated with very important information regarding the Chancery Court’s decision regarding the proposed Overbrook Town Center.

Although disappointed with the Chancery Courts decision to allow T.D. Rehoboth a resubmittal of an application and a revote, we (OTCC) are committed to work and support the County through this process.

As to what the reapplication process looks like, the County is working with the Court for further clarification. Please count on the OTCC community to stay informed. We will keep you informed as we find out the details and how you can get involved. Stay tuned…

It was through your overwhelming efforts in opposing this inappropriate, out-of-character shopping center that the Council voted against it. Your voice once again needs to be heard. Call or write your County Council representative and tell them to again vote no. When the public meeting for the vote is scheduled, attend and make your voice heard. Only through a concerted effort of residents working together will once again be able to defeat this out-of-character proposed shopping center.

It is extremely important to note that a proposal like the OTC and many others throughout the County could only have even been considered because the 2008 County Comprehensive Plan allowed them.

The 2018 Comprehensive Plan is now being drafted, and if you don’t want projects like this in your neighborhood, or anyone else’s, please get informed and engaged with the new comprehensive plan. It is simple and easy.

The Sussex Alliance for Responsible Growth (SARG) website (www.sarg2018.org) is a one-stop information source for everything concerning the new plan, including an ongoing survey regarding the elements of the plan. Documents, news articles, meeting notices, the survey and much more are all available, 24/7. Help ensure that the next 10 years of growth in Sussex County are better managed and focused on the needs and concerns of the residents of the County.

Overbrook Town Center Coalition (OTCC)

Gap employee gets a tip of the hat

Editor:

Upon entering the Gap Factory Outlet store on Saturday, I was immediately greeted by a cheery young employee, on crutches, no less. And while he failed to charm me into opening a credit account, he made me want to stay and shop longer.

As I, and others, exited, he thanked us and wished us a good day.

Nice!

Kandie Semmelman

Bethany Beach

Reader wants more conversation

Editor:

So, we have this movement to rid us of things that offend us, especially statues of Confederate generals. And past presidents who had slaves.

The questions to ask are, “Where do we stop, how far back do we go, or who should be purged from our history?” Should we burn down Jefferson’s home? Should we close Mount Vernon and tear it down? Forget that they were instrumental in a document that allows us to correct past issues and add amendments to right wrongs. Since we are removing anything to do with Robert E. Lee, should we tear down Arlington House atop of Arlington National Cemetery, Lee’s former home?

Where do we stop? How about FDR, who interned thousands of American Japanese? Let’s remove anything with his name on it! Let’s do away with any Native American images who took slaves from all of the tribes they defeated! Then those Italians, who during the Roman Empire, made slaves of the Jews! Where does it stop? Rev. Al Sharpton does not want any of his tax dollars to pay for museums about history — forget the fact he owes $4 million in back taxes!

How about Woodrow Wilson, who re-segregated the military and would not allow any blacks to work for the federal government? We could go on and on… Teddy Roosevelt with his manifest destiny and how he destroyed a well-functioning government in the Hawaiian Islands. Allowed the Japanese to conquer China, because “They dressed and thought like us”? Read the “Imperial Cruise” by James Bradley. Do a Google search and read the New York Times comments about his book!

So, instead of these vicious confrontations, how about colleges and universities listen to what others have to say and have a dialogue and work out our problems?

I heard a great comment… “Never argue with an idiot; from a distance, you cannot tell the difference!”

Harry Steele

Bethany Beach