General Lee’s greatness; What is Siuslaw News doing to address racism; This aggression will not stand in Florence; Ending racism requires support from local government — Letters to the Editor, June 10, 2020

General Lee’s greatness should not be disposed of

Monuments are important. 

No, not local monuments like the WLAD’s stark deficit. Not a local resident’s blast on our honorable Mayor Joe Henry. 

No, not a publicity conscious Chamber of Commerce.

What I am referring to are monuments of sacred history, such Robert E. Lee and his place in history being disposed of and torn down by a weak Virginia governor, and a weaker  Richmond city council who dont return phone calls. 

Robert E. Lee, one of the greatest of American heroes and generals, is being relegated to the ash heap of history because he signed onto the  Confederacy. 

He was originally recruited by Abraham Lincoln to be an officer for the North but, after a three-hour meeting with old General Winfield Scott, he declined — saying he was “a Virginian first” and that states’ rights were more important than federal authority. 

Lee was principled. But in today’s hyper-emotional state of history, — which represents two minutes ago in in comparison to our entire history — we must destroy all things past. 

Oh that our posterity would learn about America and its great history and founding. We too readily put yesteryear in today’s context, ignorantly and with an uninformed knowledge of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Adams and Boudinot.

I wonder if the wizards of smart in Washington D.C. will take down the Washington Monument and the  Jefferson Memorial? 

Why not? 

They were more imperfect than today’s generation.

God bless America.

—Joel Marks


What is Siuslaw News to doing to address racism? 

As you’re aware, there has been a large and appropriate response to the murder of Black Americans by police officers taking place over the last several days. 

As we mourn and seek justice for the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor (to name but a few), our society is being traumatized by the systemic, institutional racism that pervades the structures that govern and rule our citizenry. 

I, as a concerned member of the Florence community, am disappointed because Siuslaw News has failed to take on the role of a news publication in its entirety. 

As our local news and journalist publication, our community expects you to be leaders and use your public voice, influence and platform to record history and write about public matters and events. 

Our Black community members and visitors need and deserve more from Siuslaw News

You are already aware that communities like Eugene and Portland are protesting through the streets, constantly providing resources and support to others and grieving the loss of innocent lives. 

Many are putting their lives, and careers at risk daily to bravely stand against White Supremacy in the midst of a global pandemic. 

How are you supporting the Black community? What resources have you offered? How are you working with your non-Black colleagues to remind them that these issues run deep and you are each responsible for unlearning racism? 

How are you addressing systemic racism? 

Ignoring it is not an option and you have done a deep disservice to yourselves by turning a blind eye and pretending that these events aren’t impacting all of us. 

—Ali Soden


‘This aggression will not stand’ in Florence

The events of last week on Bay Street were outrageous and unacceptable. In this age of mass shootings, having paramilitary goons posing with enough semi-automatic weapons to wipe out half the town without having to reload had nothing to do with the purported rumors that bus loads of Antifa domestic terrorists were heading to Florence — and everything to do with stirring up conflict and intimidation. 

I find this behavior childish and extreme poor judgement. I hope city officials and leaders of this community  will inform the “Minute men patriots”  in no uncertain terms that their attitude is not needed or welcome in Florence. 

We can take care of imaginary looters ourselves. 

To quote President George H. Bush and Jeff Lebowski, “This aggression will not stand.”

—Edward Gunderson


Ending racism requires support from local government

Today, we are overwhelmed with the national message coming out as a result of police brutality and the death of George Floyd. 

Local residents here in Florence have peacefully rallied in memory of George Floyd and the support of Black Lives Matter. When “trouble” and rumors surfaced, our local police department responded with a public statement by Chief Turner that was sensible and reassuring. 

Thank you.

Addressing racism here, there and everywhere right now is what is needed and we are asking the City of Florence and the Florence Police Department to:

  1. State that they believe Black Lives Matter. 
  2. Initiate a review of use of force policies.
  3. Utilize the resources from for common sense reforms to end police violence in America. 

We recognize and appreciate the Florence Police Department and Chief Turner for their support of our expression of our First Amendment rights, and we will continue to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. But now is the time to recognize that systemic racism is prevalent in our country. We want to live in a world where police don’t kill people in any city, where we have improved our community interactions everywhere, and that we are ensured accountability.

—Ray and Beverly Sherrill



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