Cultural Leadership builds understanding
I was lucky enough to spend the first six years of my life in the inner city of Chicago, in a very diverse neighborhood, where my best friends were first-generation immigrants, Blacks, Jews and people from every race and religion. I lived in this world as a child and it has enriched and informed my life, and I know what is possible and the world that our children can live in. I have hope that there are many good people working to have this world, but it does take work.
Right now, there are many forces, such as the rise in white supremacy, that wish to divide us from each other and divert us from our goals by getting angry with each other. I believe we have to have our eyes and hearts on finding what unites us, and know that we don’t need agreement on everything to work together and understand each other. That is why I have been involved in Cultural Leadership (www.culturalleadership.org) as a board member for the last six years, and now as a co-host of our virtual signature event on Sept. 13.
The mission of Cultural Leadership is to create a more just and equitable community by educating middle, high school and college-aged students to stand up against oppression and injustice though the lens of the Black and Jewish experience.
We need youth leaders that understand racism and anti-Semitism and have built relationships across race and religion and more. At this time in America, the Jewish community needs allies and this organization is building those relationships that remind me of the community of my youth.
For our upcoming event, we have Brittany Packnett, reknowned Black activist, and Yavilah McCoy, pioneer of the Jewish diversity and equity movement and mentor for community of Jews of color. It’s our relationships that enrich us and give us the chance for understanding that leads to real change in the world. Please join me in this fight to have each other across all barriers and unite.
Ryia Ross-Peterson, M.D.
Not that Barry
I was asked if I was the Barry Greenberg who defended Donald Trump in an Aug. 12 letter to the editor. I would like for the record to show that it was definitely not me. Besides his support of Israel, I don’t have anything positive to say about Trump. His strategy of division has the effect of promoting anti-Semitism in the United States. His destabilization of our institutions is especially hostile to any orderly and civil governmental process. His corruption establishes a dangerous precedent for conduct by elected officials. His actions to concentrate wealth with the wealthy is particularly onerous to creating social justice in our country.
My grandparents didn’t migrate from Romania, Ukraine and Israel to live and die in a country that has departed so far from the principles they held dear and risked so much to become part of. My family from Eastern Europe couldn’t hold office where they came from, let alone live a life without constant persecution. That is one reason I ran for public office in Maplewood. It insults my intelligence and ethics to have a president that puts his own personal, narcissistic agenda ahead of the good of his constituents. Maplewood is an example of how a community can prioritize human values over personal motives, and in the process become an accepting, livable and compassionate place to live. We still have work to do, but by embracing a philosophy based on equity, justice and personal responsibility, we can make our city an exemplary place to live. I can’t say the same about Trump’s vision of America.
Mayor City of Maplewood, Mo.
A flawed illiberalism argument
In his Aug. 26 commentary, “The growing illiberalism of liberalism,” author Marty Rochester claims that liberals control the media and “big tech” and this poses a threat to free speech. However, there are major cracks in that claim: The cable news outlet with the biggest audience is Fox News Channel, a staunch promoter of Republicanism, not liberalism.
The author lists Apple, Google, Twitter and Microsoft as examples of “big tech” supposedly controlled by liberals but he conveniently leaves out “Facebook” (which has a bigger audience than all the aforementioned companies combined), the platform that Russia used to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election — hardly a liberal-controlled company.
The author rails about “big tech” and the media but never mentions the two biggest companies in those areas: Fox News Channel and Facebook. Hmmm.