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Letters to the Editor: 10-10-2013

VAGABOND IN TROUBLE

Friends and supporters of The Oregon Vagabond street paper should be aware that there is no October issue scheduled for publication. According to Ron, the longtime vendor and artist who is generally to be found stationed at the Kiva parking lot entrance on Olive Street, the editor of The Vagabond and friend of the homeless David Gerber has informed him that the funding has dried up. There is a possibility that funding will be restored in the future, but for now, the vendors will be without this important asset. 

This paper, besides providing a revenue stream for street vendors, which can, in turn, provide an avenue into stability and housing, also provides a very important window into the homeless community in Eugene. The stories and poetry found in these pages, which reflect the experiences, hopes and fears of those scratching out a “living” on the street, must not be allowed to disappear from the dialogue concerning their future well-being, and thus, the future well-being of our entire community.

Ron and some of his fellow vendors intend to continue to publish the paper with the help of the friends and supporters who have previously made the Vagabond a success by generously giving money, advice and supplies. In order to accomplish this, a layout specialist and several other professional services are required.

Please step up, citizens of Eugene, as you always seem to do. You can talk to Ron most weekdays on Olive Street. Oh, and buy another paper, even if you’ve already read the latest.

 Bernard Yandel, Eugene

 

WHITE CANE DAY

Many white cane users have been noticing that many drivers have been choosing to ignore the white cane law. Recently, one of our members of the blind community had his white cane hit very hard by a car while crossing 10th at Olive. The Oregon statute states that cars must stop and remain stopped for anyone crossing a roadway with a white cane or guide dog. The penalty for failure to do so is $300 to $1,000.

Please join us in celebrating White Cane Day Oct. 15 by obeying this law every day of the year. 

Marthana Guglielmo, Eugene

 

MONSANTO LIES

None of the supposed benefits claimed by genetically modified crops have materialized. Quite the opposite, in fact. GMOs have resulted in greater pesticide use and the emergence of herbicide resistant super weeds. Monsanto’s claim that the Bt toxic bacteria (inserted into corn, soybeans, sugar beets, squash and corn to kill insects) is broken down in the human digestive system is another false claim. Blood samples from 93 percent of the pregnant mothers and 80 percent of the fetuses show the presence of active Bt toxin.

The U.N. International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development, The Union of Concerned Scientists’ report, “A Failure to Yield,” and “The GMO Emperor Has No Clothes” — a Global Citizens’ report on the state of GMOs based on field research across the world — also found that genetic engineering has not increased yields. Yet, the propaganda continues that GMOs are the only solution to hunger because GMOs increase yields.

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine called for a moratorium on GM foods and concluded their study with “GM foods pose a serious health risk.” 

Monsanto is lying. Very similar to the “don’t worry, be happy” propaganda of the fossil fuel corporations, the nuclear industry, the asbestos and coal and tobacco companies’ lies throughout the years. They lie about the danger of their products even as people are dying from using them and they shirk all responsibility for their products.

There is a “March Above and Beyond Monsanto for Food Freedom” at 11 am Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Wayne Morse Plaza. Don’t look for information in The Register-Guard. They are complicit with their silence and failure to report. Another example of “news service” as a modern oxymoron.

Sarah Ruth, Eugene 

 

CALI-STYLE CONDOS

I am a River Road resident of 51 years and have lived on McClure Lane for 30 of those years. At the public hearing on Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing Oct. 2 both sides presented their testimony respectfully, until the rebuttal testimony, which was only allowed to OMC. 

OMC project consultant Katherine McCamant from California proceeded to belittle the Oakleigh and McClure Lane neighbors about the hearing held before ours. It was a land use change for 937 Irvington Dr. 

She said she couldn’t understand why no one here protested about agricultural land at the airport being rezoned. If the California consultant were familiar with the River Road and Santa Clara area she would know that the land is in the middle of a neighborhood, and is nowhere near farmland or the airport.

Then Will Dixon, OMC project manager, proceeded to a personal, untruthful attack of one of our neighbors on Oakleigh, who has lived many years in the community. This was uncalled for! If that’s the type of people OMC is affiliated with, this speaks volumes to what type of development it will be. 

We are a close-knit neighborhood that welcomed the idea of the original seven-to-10 unit cohousing. This has now turned into a high-end California condo project with people that are disrespectful and only tell half truths and what they think people want to hear, or no information at all.

Beware potential buyers into OMC: You’re not getting what you think you are.

Jill Buschelman,  Eugene

 

FOR BILL FINNERAN

One of my best friends Bill Finneran, creator of the Eugene Record Convention, passed away Oct. 1. Eugene was so lucky to have Bill, he was a valuable contributor to the music scene and culture of Eugene and Western Oregon for more than 25 years. Folks from around the country and many musicians and stars attended his annual convention, the future of which is uncertain. Hopes and warm thoughts go out to his companion Laurie Penny, his son Ian, and his brothers Bob and Chris, and to all his close friends. 

Bill, you were a hell of a guy, true blue and a shining light until the end.

Marc Time, Eugene

 

OAKLEIGH TAKEOVER

Please consider the following issues regarding the Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing (OMC) development project.

• Size: a 2.7 acre parcel with seven condominium/townhouses, a large common house, a 47-car parking garage and a 300-foot concrete wall. The largest unit is 80-feet wide and 30-feet tall. According to Eugene City Code 9.8320, the proposed development shall be reasonably compatible and harmonious with adjacent and nearby land uses. The plans extend these buildings with their backs to the street, as far to the perimeter as possible, ignoring the standard setbacks. Not compatible or harmonious.

• Habitat: Presently, the meadow is home to several species of plants and animals. OMC will destroy the meadow and encroach into the sensitive riparian area along the Willamette River. Walkers and bicyclists beware; the OMC plans illustrate a takeover of city property, creating the impression that it is part of their compound.

• Construction: EWEB states, “There are no electric facilities adjacent to this proposed development. Underground electric facilities will need to be extended to service this development. The existing water infrastructure within Oakleigh Lane and McClure Lane is inadequate to serve any additional development or provide the necessary fire flows along Oakleigh Lane. Therefore, prior to any development of the site, significant upgrades of the water facilities in Oakleigh and McClure, along with a loop connection between these two streets ... will be required to serve the property.” 

• Floods: The site is located in the Eugene Special Flood Hazard Area. For it to be elevated above the 100-year floodplain, the plan is to bring in 4 feet of fill, increasing the building height to 35 feet above the surrounding public land. 

The neighborhoods of Oakleigh and McClure Lanes are nearly unanimous in our opposition and that we will not accept this proposed development. We could really use your support by contacting the Eugene Planning Department.

Paul and Cecelia Heintz, Eugene 

 

NCU KNOWS BETTER

The “Students on the Street” feature in the Oct. 3 issue featured a student who’s been back to campus for almost six weeks already. Will Jones is a senior math major at Northwest Christian University, not UO. 

One of these days, I dare you to send reporters to NCU. I guarantee you that four out of five of our students will know the name of our president and our basketball coach. They’d know the name of our football coach if we had one, but I brag to my friends all over the country that we don’t have that abomination known as college football on our campus. No Greek system or Aramark, either. Send a reporter; we don’t bite.

Doyle Srader, Eugene

 

SWIM OR SINK

My late father, Charles O. Porter, the first Democrat elected to Oregon’s Fourth District in 75 years, served two terms in the U.S. House (1957-61). Critics dismissed him as a Don Quixote. I once asked how he dealt with the pressures in high political office. He thrived on them, he said. 

The poet Rainer Rilke (1875-1926) said, “We must change our way of life!” Likewise, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel Fifth Assessment Report, “Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis.”

Further, carbon fuel use is so deeply and massively embedded in the infrastructure, investment and way of life we share in the existing social world that it requires a revolution of religious and moral motivation and perspective to identify each person, corporation, nation, etc., with the whole global system to overcome externalizing the costs to another nation, corporation, community, person, and the finite natural environment — including the O&C forests. There is no such other, and we’ll either swim or sink together. So, we must change in part by waking up to the reality we’re socially and ecologically connected.

We need impossible practices to meet ecological Armageddon — and hellhounds of inequality and nuclear proliferation. But, remember, history is about attaining the impossible. We shouldn’t dwell on doom and gloom but on the greatest challenge human beings have ever faced. We should focus on how tremendously exciting it will be to meet it. Rather than Jeremiads and denouncing, we should call on the best in us to rise to the occasion.

Sam Porter, Eugene

 

MARCH HARE POLITICS

From the 1950s to 1980s, the Republican Party prided itself on fiscal responsibility and accountability. They insisted on making sure all government programs had sufficient funds to cover costs. Well, how things have changed. The neo-Republicans toss the country’s credit rating around as if they were playing touch football. The Republicans of yesteryear had a sense of drama and dignity. They disagreed but had a workable alternative to offer the country.

Today Brazil and Germany might criticize the U.S. for bugging their embassies, but the bigger fear is watching the “world’s leader” self destruct. Many in Congress wanted to send missiles to Syria, yet, these same individuals care little about how a U.S. default will rock the entire world economy.

China owns only 7 percent of our debt, yet how embarrassing if that government demanded a piece of the Smithsonian or the Bonneville Power Administration?

Meanwhile the Democrats enjoy looking on, smiling like Cheshire cats instead of mending their own party values and using Howard Dean’s policy of grass-roots activism to realign Tea Party districts.

Today’s Congress has all the perks in its pockets, a hefty salary, multiple adjournments, great health benefits and golden pensions. Meanwhile, state, county and city governments strip away the safety net for their workers.

The media chimes in by attributing a USPS deficit as a threat to our mail system. The deficit arises from Congress insisting that the Postal Carriers Union pay the full amount into their pensions now. Well, Social Security does not require that obligation. Instead of Tea Party should not the media label these actions as Grover Norquist follies?

March Hare politics can only stop when voters speak up and get out the vote. Our representatives get into office with only minority of ballots cast. The majority stay at home watching Monday Night Football. Government by the people can only happen if all eligible voters participate.

Vincenza Scarpaci, Eugene

 

BOLSHEVIK TACTICS

Tea Party-favorite Ted Cruz playing the role of Lenin? While hard to imagine, today’s GOP has embraced the tactics that brought the Bolsheviks — yes, those Bolsheviks, who became the Soviet Communist Party — to power.

From February to October 1917, the Bolsheviks did everything they could to obstruct the nascent democratic government in Russia. The Bolshevik goal was simple: to ensure that post-Tsarist democracy failed. Lenin sought to weaken and discredit liberals and social democrats by creating the impression that government couldn’t deliver basic services to the people. Health care included. Sound familiar? And once the Bolsheviks overthrew the government and assumed power, the country suffered a long and bloody civil war, followed by 70 years of authoritarian rule.

Moreover, Sen. Cruz and the Tea Party have also aped the Leninist tactic of claiming a non-existent majority. When his original party ceased to serve Lenin’s purposes, he labeled its old-guard moderates as Mensheviks (“minority”) and claimed the title Bolshevik (“majority”) for himself — just as the Tea Party grossly exaggerates its support within both the Republican Party and the country as a whole. Ironic? Sure. But the GOP leadership better watch its collective back. As should we all.

Keith A. Eddins, Eugene

 

AVOIDING REAL CHANGE

In response to Jerry Ritter’s letter [10/3] about immigration amnesty vs. SNAP (food stamps): If I listen closely and with compassion to Mr. Ritter, I can see that his intention is to support the well-being of the poor. Unfortunately, he is falling into a trap that the rich have constructed for decades in order to prevent real change. 

Immigrant-bashing is today’s legal and socially acceptable racism. Racism has always been used to separate the poor from each other in order to prevent them from effectively creating real change in an economic system which enriches a few at the expense of the many. 

We do not need to argue over the scraps offered by Big Business and the corporatized government system. We (the presumably white, American poor) are not being harmed by them (the presumably brown, foreign immigrants). We are, however, all being harmed by racism, which stops us from banding together with our natural allies to change the system which keeps us impoverished.

Let’s all think a little deeper about how we can stop blaming people and start creating allies for real change.

Kara Huntermoon, Eugene

 

WAITING FOR MY BANG

Salinger’s angsty protagonist Holden Caulfield said that he really liked his elderly teacher, Mr. Spencer, and his wife because they really “got a bang out of things.” As a recent college graduate entering the (non)working field, I must contend that older folks — and the baby boomer generation in particularly — have gotten bang! after bang! bang! bang! from life, and that my generation is holding its breath in anticipation for just one good bang! That bang is, for me at least, please God, a job that pays enough to cover half the kind of life enjoyed by the previous generation.

I appreciate the standard of living guaranteed to boomers, and I thank the union organizers and activists that made it possible. I appreciate less the sweatshops and Banana Republics of Latin American and elsewhere — which also made such a way of life possible.

As crazy as it may sound, I have a few horse-sense, baseline suggestions for collective consideration: 1) “Two in, two out,” not a top-down China-style government dictate, but what we can do as responsible members of the 21st century, 2) 20th-century realpolitik governments should fight corporations and put the general welfare above private profit, 3) we should re-evaluate whether our tech gadgets are worth propping up corporations that support communist slave labor, and 4) support youth activism in labor organizations and other peaceful, civic organisms who can build international support for a worldwide worker’s Bill of Rights.

In short: individual re-evaluation, community obligation, collective collaboration. 1-2-3-4 — let’s go.

Steve Coatsworth

Eugene

 

WHY GROWL?

As a long term enjoyer of local brews, I remain curious about the prices of growlers at Eugene breweries. Why does it cost more for a growler of beer to go than a six pack of the same beer at a convenience store? Shouldn’t the addition of materials and labor in the form of canning or bottling, as well as the addition of a middleman, make the growler cheaper than the six pack? After all, a six pack (72 oz.) contains more beer than a growler (64 oz.). It seems like this model encourages waste. 

Todd Tucholke, Eugene

 

SAME OLD MADNESS

The extreme right wing of the Republican Party is hell bent on stopping health care to 23 million of Americans who don’t have health insurance. I bet that most of them already have their health insurance, so what do they care about uninsured people, children and those who were denied Social Security benefits who are truly disabled? All the Republicans against Obamacare are sitting pretty with their huge insurance packet. Why not stop their benefits? Its the same old song, still mad at our first black president. Well, you better get ready for the first woman president, cause Hillary is in the wings. Can you imagine the uproar?

Why would anyone want to stop health care for all the uninsured people? Downright meanness.

Diane DeVillers, Eugene

 

SELL LOCAL?

I had a thought while reading that Ninkasi is taking advantage of foreign and domestic trade shows to sell its beer far and wide [Biz Beat, 9/26]. We “consumers” are trying hard to “buy local” whenever possible. Maybe businesses should be urged to “sell local” for the same reasons that we try to buy locally produced goods.

Ed Cooley, Elkton

 

CONTEMPT FOR THE POOR

Republicans show their true colors. Losing some parks and zoos is not so bad; even the well-paid civilian defense workers will suffer through all right. But the WIC program? If even one infant goes one day without milk you will show the world your true contempt for the poor.

Vince Loving, Eugene

 

LIMITS ON FREEDOM

I would like for someone to explain to me how this government shutdown is not:

1) the responsibility of House Republicans who will not allow a "clean funding bill" to even come to the floor to be voted on,

2) a way around the actual democratic process, you know, the process that has, by following its normal policy and procedures, failed to render the results that House Republicans want,

3) the legislative equivalent of hostage-taking,

4) the legislative equivalent of extortion.

That we as a society have gone so far in our pursuit of individual rights and freedoms that we will let people like those who have managed to get a stranglehold on their own party continue to behave in such a destructive manner just disgusts me. This is not people exercising their rights. They are hurting people, real people. 

Our supposed rights are not unlimited either. Speech is free so long as it isn't slander. Assembly is free so long as it is peaceful and causes no damage. The press is free as long as it doesn't publish libelous statements. These are well-established concepts for most Americans. The fact that the First Amendment specifically states: "Congress shall make no law ... abridging ... the right of the people peaceably to assemble" shows that even the Founding Fathers knew that a limit needed to be placed on freedom to prevent public harm. 

So, for anyone to say that these radically out-of-touch people are exercising their rights is, at best, incorrect. The very limits we have placed on our rights and freedoms over the course of this country's history make it very clear that we have the right to do as we please so long as we don't harm our fellow citizens. And, when last I checked (and you can research the history of this), this country has been hurt every time the government has shut down. And we're hurting now.

Paul Vandervort, Eugene

 

COLUMBUS DAY LETTERS

EDITOR’S NOTE: We got more than a dozen letters this past week about the upcoming Columbus Day holiday Oct. 14. Here are excerpts from some of the letters:

 

Columbus Day is ostensibly celebrated in remembrance of Columbus and his arrival to "this land," as stated by President Barack Obama in a proclamation of this national holiday's righteous origin. Surely Obama is aware Columbus never set foot in what is now, or what has ever been considered the U.S.

Researchers know of many so-called "discoveries" of the American continent pre-dating Columbus' journey in 1492. Physical archeological evidence of the Vikings' presence within small settlements on the northern tip of the islands of Newfoundland uncovered in the late 1960s clearly validates this theory.

 Upon his arrival, Columbus' first few thoughts (as openly admitted within his well maintained diaries) were of the enslavement of the indigenous peoples: "They ought to make good and skilled servants," Columbus recorded. Also, "I could conquer the whole of them with 50 men, and govern them as I pleased."

Should we as Americans celebrate the ideals which guided Columbus to this land? How do we then tolerate a nation free of slavery, beholding religious freedom for each and every individual, absolutely intolerant of genocide and torture? 

Shall we continue on, celebrating this approaching national holiday which is exclusively dedicated to that notorious but misrepresented villain, Christopher Columbus?

 Hailey L. Kocian, Eugene

 

I believe that it is important to know your history and how you got to be where you are today. I think it is an essential part of who we are as a person, and as a country. That is one of the main reasons that we celebrate Columbus Day in the U.S. However, I also believe that it is important to know the full story of how we got here, not just the story that we want to believe, or were led to believe. We should celebrate and acknowledge all of the indigenous people hurt and used in the process as well as Christopher Columbus.

While Columbus accomplished and began many endeavors important to our society today, such as the Columbian Exchange and the beginning of an entirely new society, he also began and accomplished many destructive and horrific deeds. Columbus and his men enslaved and eventually killed off an entire tribe of people, the Arawaks, as well as started the African slave trade and created the basis for years of racism and inequality to justify his deeds.

Instead of glorifying Columbus for discovering America, can we also celebrate the lives of the people he hurt and ruined? 

Camille Morgenstern, Eugene

 

On Oct. 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail in search of a westward route to Asia. Instead he came across land then unknown to Europe and changed the course of history. Unfortunately it is a history that our textbooks have failed to fully capture today. The children of America grow up told that Columbus was a true hero who found the Americas. Sadly it is not until high school that many discover the full story of Columbus' voyage and are able to create their own opinion. We have failed to embrace the harsh realities of history.

Columbus’ ambition, determination and motivation to seek a greater discovery is admirable and worth praising, however his merciless actions are not. By having a holiday named after him, are we celebrating his heroic discovery or are we celebrating the enslavement of innocent indigenous people and how he stripped them of their land?

Luz Fandino, Eugene

 

Many historical records say that Christopher Columbus and his men were welcomed as “gods” upon arriving in what he thought was the Indies. In Columbus’ letters to the king and queen of Spain, he tells them that the “Indians” are very giving, kind and extremely loyal people. Columbus proceeded to take ownership and capture as many native people as he wanted. He proceeded to enslave many of natives, then eventually decided to take slaves from Africa, thus starting the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

In class we read a letter from the king and queen of Spain to the governor of Hispaniola saying that they felt that the Native people should live alongside the Spaniards in harmony and be treated no differently than anyone else, except for the ones who did not convert to Christianity — they were to be treated worse than all others but still civilly. Apparently their message was not understood by the governor. Hundreds of thousands of Native American people were murdered or worked to death by the Spanish and other European settlers. 

Dane Stapley, Eugene

 

Columbus Day should not be the celebration of Christopher Columbus himself, for that is like having a holiday celebrating Hitler. However, Columbus Day should be a holiday that reminds people of what had happened and in honor of the people who had lost their lives during the European exploration in the Americas. 

No matter where you go to find information about Columbus you’re only going to be able to get extremes of both sides of the story. I believe that Columbus Day should be about remembering how we got to be where we are and honoring the indigenous people who died.

Elle Belfatto, Eugene

 

An article by Howard Zinn shows us the side of history that our textbooks in school seem to leave out. I was very interested to learn about the side of Columbus which was filled with greed. While I was reading A People’s History of the United States, I found a great amount of information that really stood out. For example, Zinn wrote, “1495, they went on a great slave raid, rounded up 1,500 Arawak men, women and children,” and “Indians found without a copper token had their hands cut off and bled to death,” and even, “When we read the history books given to children in the U.S., it all starts with heroic adventure — there is no bloodshed — and Columbus Day is a celebration.”

To me this information is preposterous to even begin to comprehend. 

Amanda Fry, Eugene

 

When going to a new place you have no rights to take over when someone already lives there. Columbus did just that. From the beginning of his voyage he wanted to colonize there. He also wanted to find gold. If he came back to Spain with good news then the king and queen would be pleased and give him more men and boats for the next voyage. Columbus was greedy so he would do whatever it took to find gold and start new life in America. However he did plan for peaceful interactions. 

 Columbus did a great job putting on a show for the Natives. They did really start to trust him. Eventually Columbus became more cruel like his men. The more gold he found the more greedy he became. Columbus had an idea of using the Natives as slaves. He basically came to their land, took their gold, then captured the people as slaves.

A hero does not kill and steal. Columbus Day should not be a holiday. Maybe we could just call it Explorers Day and celebrate the discovery of America. But we should not teach our coming generations that Columbus is a hero.

Michell Lacy, Eugene

 

 If schools want students to learn about Christopher Columbus they should actually have the right story because all of the textbooks are different there is one textbook that is hardly used that has the real story in it.

I feel like Columbus Day should be canceled out and not celebrated, and it shouldn’t be a federal holiday.

Billy Brosowske, Eugene

 

National holidays should honor people who positively affected our society. For example Martin Luther King Jr. Also, veterans deserve to be honored with a national holiday. They put their lives in great danger for the freedom that we have in this country. 

Christopher Columbus should not have a National holiday, because he is not honorable. His dishonorable actions in North America are polar opposite of Martin Luther King Jr. who worked to improve everyone's lives. 

Eli Miller, Eugene

 

Columbus put the thought into people’s minds that they could enslave natives and take their land. By the 1700s slavery was flourishing in the middle and lower colonies of British America, in the West Indies and on the mainland of South America. So, because Columbus introduced slavery, it became a big part of our history, and caused a lot of issues in our country.

Think about this, what if Columbus talked to the natives and maybe tried to be civil with them? What if he didn’t take hundreds of natives and just left them be? Would our world be different than it is today? Here is a quote from the African-American Resistance article that I read,

“While Columbus deserves condemnation for many of his actions, we should also remember to criticize the political and economic forces which he both represented and encouraged.” 

Breezy Burns, Eugene

 

Not only did Columbus begin the enslavement of Native Americans, he also began the trans-Atlantic African slave trade. It resulted in three centuries of forced, violent and cruel slave labor, along with the bloodiest war in American history, which led to an estimated 750,000 U.S. deaths.

We are not the country we are today because of Columbus’ discovery. It is because of what we have accomplished as a nation that we are where we are today. We stood up against slavery, we fought for racial equality, and we fought to be an independent and strong nation. Not Columbus. We should not celebrate Columbus himself, but the discovery he made; the discovery that we as a nation built ourselves from, without the help of Columbus.

We may just be a small part of a nation, but if we act locally and think nationally, it can amount to more. We must put a stop to the celebration of oppression and genocide; we must get rid of Columbus Day.

 Carson Frost, Eugene

 

The part of Columbus Day we celebrate is the sense of adventure, and not all the terrible things Columbus and his crew took part in. I believe children shouldn’t learn about murderers until a later age, high school seems appropriate, and at the very least, along with correcting the textbooks, fill in the missing information.

His voyage was elongated to make him seem like a braver person; the trip took only half the time the books say it took, along with many other incorrect details or lies that made Columbus seem like more of a hero than he really was.

 Andreu Hardisty, Eugene

 

When I was younger, Columbus was presented in our textbooks as a hero. Our textbooks always told us how Columbus was ordered by the king and queen of Spain to find the Americas in 1492. When he came to Americas he found many Natives and made peace with them and help him settle the Americas. Now I find out that my whole childhood history education was a lie! 

I feel that we should not really honor him as a hero but instead honor all the fallen Natives who died during his time of reign in America.

Shenae Freeman, Eugene

 

One of the reasons Americans even know about Columbus is because of the technology that progressed at the time he discovered America. The news of him spread even more rapidly than it would have in the years previous because of the technology available to let people know about what Columbus had done. America celebrates Columbus because he was the first white man to discover America, not because he was the first man to discover America. He was not the first to discover America. People can only assume that the first person to reach the Americas was an indigenous person who is unknown.

 Victoria Carroll, Eugene

 

In place of Columbus Day I would like to present the idea of a new holiday. A day that, while still placing importance on Columbus and his men's journey, commemorates the bravery of the Taino people and the diversity of the Americas. This day would celebrate the ties between America and Italy, the courageous fight of the Native Americans, the intrepid stance and endurance of the African Americans and the acceptance of every type of person into our society. There is no use in celebrating a man who took innocent and unsuspecting lives when we could celebrate the people who breathe life into our day to day existence, the people who make up the fabric of our society. We should be celebrating anybody who makes America what it is today.

Alexandra M. Vlasschaert, Eugene