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Letters to the Editor
I just cast my votes for the Vashon Senior Center in the tight race for Unofficial Mayor of Vashon-Maury Island. I did so because I think transportation is one of the biggest issues facing islanders who have mobility constraints. I put my dollars in the Bernie and Hilary for Mayor bucket because these votes go to support two transportation programs designed with our elders' health in mind.
Community Events, July 2016
On the same day The Beachcomber published the 800-word "opinion" piece, "Island schools a very different place from perspective of special needs students," (June 29) Paula Cummings loaded a pickup truck with the office books, files and other artifacts of her multi-decade career as a proud professional in the field of education, culminating over the past five years as the special education director at Vashon Island School District (VISD). Her life's profession has been dedicated to advocating, supporting and caring for special needs students, their families and the teachers.
With the health center in time of crisis, it's tempting to look around at our other community assets — a beautiful new high school; a capacious, modern fire station; a new, expanded library; extensive new athletic fields; a grand new arts center — and wonder how we, as a community, could let the health clinic, probably our most vital facility, sink so low.
As a member of the LGBTQ community here on Vashon I'd like to express my heartfelt thanks for the rainbow flags flying across Vashon over the past weeks. The tragedy in Orlando had a chilling effect on me, as I am sure it had for many. The outpouring of visible love affirms my sense of safety, connection, and attests to the humanity of our community. I feel particular gratitude to the many businesses that hoisted the flags; to Sarah Wright, Kathleen Johnson, and Daphne Purpus who all acted quickly to organize this response of support, and in all the other ways our community expresses love ongoing to each other, not just in the midst of devastation, but daily as we acknowledge and uphold one another.
I agree with the neighbor who writes in a letter to the Beachcomber (June 22) that we need to stop demonizing the families filing suit for trying to put a wedge of light into the blindness and old lenses many of us are looking through. To help, I really encourage people in our community to read "Waking Up White", a book recommended by Vashon Reads. The way many of us continue "othering" people is so deeply engrained in our culture, our bodies, our beliefs, and our language. Is it possible to pause and look at our own fierce reactions, and question the root? If we do not notice or question ourselves about what we automatically believe when situations occur —we may be operating from deeply seated cultural bias and ignorance that control our opinions, attitudes, and actions towards and against each other. White privilege and hetero-normal privilege are real. If we can't see that fact, we are likely numbed by our privilege. Waking up is hard to do, and it is an imperative, humbling and enlivening action in these days of intolerable violence.