Letters To The Publisher

Letters To The Publisher


Dear Mr. Hurst,

Thank you so much for responding to my inquiry. I’m excited to continue this conversation with you. I’d like to assume that I misunderstood your point, and would love to hear you elaborate on it. The thing that is most clear, we both have an undying love for Ms. Price.

Sincerely,
Antonio C. Cuyler, Ph.D. (3/11/2017)


Dear Dr. Cuyler,

I was pleased to read your reaction to my article on Leontyne Price. I hope you don’t mind if we publish it in our April issue. I must say, however, that you and I were addressing two different issues. I happen to agree with both. Either you misunderstood my point or I didn’t express it as well as I thought I had. Or both.

Frederick A. Hurst, Esq.
Publisher (3/11/2017)


Dear Police Commissioner Barbieri:

It is with true regret, heartbreak and sadness that I even have to compose this email. Yesterday, my family attended what was a championship meet at the Springfield Jewish Community Center. We represented the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven located in Woodbridge, CT and were one of four teams in attendance. It was a great event and our family even patronized their concession stand, as we have done in the past. However, after spending over FIVE hours at the Springfield JCC cheering on our team from Greater New Haven, laughing, and spending time with all the children and parents, we walked to our vehicle and just a mere few blocks away were pulled over by a group of FIVE Springfield police officers. Apparently, there was a bomb threat TWO DAYS PRIOR, and someone reported us as suspicious. Never mind the fact that as parents (and a family) we arrived, congregated, and left with other parents all at the same time – someone reported us (two adults and one child) as suspicious individuals. We are both educated, tax-paying, law-abiding citizens and my boyfriend who was driving is a Veteran, which his license clearly marks.
Our family was racially profiled and I was quite verbal and outspoken with the officer as to the reason behind us getting pulled over as opposed to the hundreds and hundreds of other people present at this event. However, the officer could not offer ANY legitimate information. Who called? Why we were singled out? Were other people who left the event being pulled over as well? What exactly did we do wrong? What was suspicious about us? I was honestly horrified, afraid for my family, and disgusted all at the same time.
Our ride home was not filled with the excitement and recaps of the wonderful swim meet, but instead a NECESSARY conversation of expectancy to my son regarding what WILL happen to him as a young black man and how to handle himself accordingly. This nation is in a terrible state of intolerance and hatred. The world that we think is getting better is unfortunately slowly moving in reverse. If my son had any further swim meets at the Springfield JCC, we would NOT be in attendance. We will NEVER walk into that facility again.
Last, it has come to my recent attention (through my own investigation) that an officer was on site and called in the complaint. I cannot provide any further details. However, I need to know what kind of recourse and training Springfield police officers will receive to prevent these events from continuing to occur?

Regrettably,
Nicole Evans (3/6/2017)


Dear AfAm Point of View,

I recently read the article, “Revisiting Leontyne Price.” Initially, I was excited to read this piece as when I discovered Ms. Price in high school, she became a motivating factor for why I wanted to become an opera singer, and later an opera administrator. Although I agree 110% with the author’s point of view about why Black people do not attend and appreciate classical music, I take issue with two assertions made by the author.
Mr. Hurst discussed the idea that Ms. Price was “discovered” by a rich White lady. I believe a more accurate rendering of the account is that a prominent White family provided the financial means for Ms. Price to study at Julliard. This to me seems an accurate portrayal of what happened even re-told by Ms. Price herself. So it seems that Mr. Hurst’s interpretation of what he read is more the problem, than the fact of how Ms. Price’s career was assisted by a wealthy White family. Furthermore, what is so wrong with people with loads of privilege sharing their privilege? We do not know, but without their financial support, how likely is it that Ms. Price would have attended Julliard where she received the education and networking that ensured her meteoric rise in opera? Is it possible that a Black family with the same wealth would have supported her? If so, why didn’t they, and if they did, why has Ms. Price not told us that story?
In addition, I really am disturbed by Mr. Hurst’s notion that by diverting Ms. Price from classical music that Black people could have made better use of her voice. I’m curious to know by having her sing what? Mr. Hurst seems completely remiss of that fact that Ms. Price’s mother influenced her singing. Some Black churches, especially in the AME tradition and some Baptist traditions, sing with an operatic sound. Hence, we get Ms. Price’s voice, where her natural talent was cultivated through study at Julliard. Ms. Price is who she is because she carved out a space in an art form that was unlikely to let her in by being extraordinarily gifted. Being Black was the icing on the cake. Mr. Hurst has the right to see things through his eyes. However, I’d like to encourage Mr. Hurst to consider a different take on the facts.

Sincerely,

Dr. Antonio C. Cuyler (3/4/2017)


The League of Women Voters throughout its nearly one hundred year history in the United States has always maintained a primary focus on Voter Service. The League has particularly worked to ensure that every eligible citizen is supported in exercising the right to vote which is the foundation of our democracy. It has, therefore, been particularly troubling to hear #45 and his administration speaking since his inauguration about supposed voter fraud in U.S. elections.
Members of the local League of Women Voters agree with the recent statement by Chris Carson, President of the National League of Women Voters, in response to the unsubstantiated claim from the White House that millions of illegal votes were cast in the past election. Ms. Carson states:

“President Trump is calling for a major investigation into voter fraud – in an election that he won! We know that wide-spread voter fraud is a myth perpetuated to push election laws that restrict voting. We cannot allow false claims to drive policies that will limit participation in our election process. There is no need for an investigation into a non-existent problem. The issue has been studied and put to rest.”

As a member of the Northampton Area League of Women Voters, I invite everyone to join us in speaking out against this attack on voting rights.

Zaida Govan (2/10/2017)
Board Member, League of Women Voters of the Northampton Area


What Next?

In hearing the issues of the legislators wanting a pay raise from $30-$45 thousand dollars, it caused me some concerns so that is why I am writing this letter.
I have been working in the Human Service field for years and you see what goes on and what is needed by individuals and their families, such as housing, support systems, programs for children, health issues, mental health issues, residential housing, sober homes, and financial issues. Some of this money could be geared to these areas because there is never enough. The minimum wage just went up to $11.00 an hour and these are the people who need it but most small businesses cannot afford it. A friend once stated: “The legislators forgot that they are there to service the people and this is not the ‘Private Sector’.” There are a lot of programs that can benefit from the $15 million dollars as well as some cities that could use the money for some of their projects.
We all have employment that requires a lot from us and we have to pay some of our own expenses. If you find out that you need such a big pay increase then maybe it is time to move on; after all, you ran for this office knowing what it required. I am not trying to step on anyone’s toes but this is my opinion because I have to pay my taxes like everyone else and I do not want people getting large pay raises just because they can.
The legislators may need a pay raise but not that amount just because they have seen the budget and they can ask for it. The voters put them in office and they should have a say about their raise. These raises equal some families’ yearly income and others are struggling with less.

Corrina Houston (2/1/2017)


 

A Shout Out to Leontyne Price
By William Florescu, General Director of the Milwaukee Florentine Opera
comment posted on POV website – January 31st 2017

Great article. (POV, February 1, 2017) Opera has changed so much – not just in the composition of the audience that attends, but also those that perform it. Any number of African American, African, and many other ethnicities, are now a rich part of the fabric of professional opera. Of course, opera always needs to expand its audience base, but the myth of it being only expensive is just that – a myth. In Milwaukee, where I run the Florentine Opera, our top ticket price is much less than the top ticket to a professional sporting event, or pop music concert.

This is in no way a self satisfied post with where we have come in the opera world, but we are certainly trying. There are other pioneers in the opera world – sadly, one – Mattwilda Dobbs, just passed away. A lot of her professional career was in Europe in the 50s and 60s, because of limited opportunities here. There is no doubt, however, that Leontyne Price, is the beacon – a hero to all opera fans of all races.


You published an article this month (POV, January 1, 2017) about how HCC and the Sheriff’s Pre-Release received a grant for about $78,000 for inmates in Pre-Release (so they) can get into the culinary arts program at HCC. Maybe you should do a follow up on how many detainees are actually ALLOWED to do this program. You might be surprised to find out that they only ALLOWED about 2 detainees. But many minority men have applied but got denied for whatever reason the Sheriff’s Dept. could find. But they are suppose to be helping former inmates reintegrate back into the community??? Are they really trying to help our Black Males stop going through this revolving door of prison. Or are we (Black Males) just a Number.

Sincerely,
Jason Johnson (1/9/2017)


Dear Frederick & Marjorie,

I cannot begin to express my happiness when I saw Bob’s picture in your paper (POV, January 1, 2017). I expected the poem and I thank you so much. But seeing his picture really put a double line under happiness.
Thank you so much.

Sincerely,
Mary E. Bogert (1/2/2017)


Mr. Hurst,

Thank you for all you have done for myself and my family. Your sense of kindness and positivity have given me more confidence and closure with myself than I thought was possible after everything that has gone on. I hope you and your family have a happy Thanksgiving and Holiday season to come.

Best,
Hanna Strong (11/22/2016)


Dear Ms. Allentuck,

I am a non-white suburban Dad who has read and re-read your article titled “What Concerns Me” in the November edition of POV with interest and appreciation, for what I perceive as your honesty. While I do not hold you responsible for the egregious atrocities committed by your ancestors against my ancestors and those of Native Americans, I pause to inquire. Do you believe that you have in anyway benefited from it, and if you did, are your reflections a measure of reciprocity or was it an autobiography in the making?
Unlike you, I will not judge the actions of Colin Kaepernick. He is, I am sure, aware of the fact that there are consequences for one’s actions. And in the prevailing climate, I admire his courage. There is a place for symbolism as there is for everything else but quite often, the vantage point can create a persuasive argument that negates that which is of greater importance, which is life itself. Meanwhile, we continue to defer the conversation on race to our own peril.

Respectfully,
Errol F. Hosein (11/21/16)


Hello Marjorie,

I just received the November edition of Point of View and wanted to thank you for the article (“MassMutual Foundation Launches Free Digital Financial Ed Curriculum for Middle Schoolers Nationwide”) and photos you included on the new FutureSmart middle school digital curriculum launch – we really appreciate your help in getting the word out about this free resource available to schools!

Thanks again,
Laura B. Crisco (11/1/2016)
Media Relations and Communications
MassMutual Financial Group


Dear Mrs. Hurst,

It was a pleasure meeting you at the Dunbar Meet & Greet. I just want to take a moment and thank you and your husband for the wonderful publicity you gave us for “Broadway Comes To Springfield.” Through the Point of View, your readers stayed informed of our event and all the happenings in Springfield.
I appreciate all you did for the Fundraiser and all you continue to do for the community.

Sincerely,
Mamie Duncan-Gibbs (10/15/16)


Dear Marjorie:

I was pleased to see September, 2016 AFAM POV feature on the NMAAHC (National Museum of African American History & Culture) and your invitation to Springfield Charter Members to make themselves known. I have been a charter member since 2012.

Sincerely,
Neel Abdul-Hameed (8/27/16)


Jeanette Hurst 11/28/1923 - 8/31/2016

Jeanette Hurst
11/28/1923 – 8/31/2016

 

The family of Jeanette Hurst would like to thank all of you who expressed your condolences upon her passing by way of your prayers, thoughts, kind words, cards, presence, contributions and deeds. She was a beloved woman whose memory will be cherished by everyone who knew her.

 

 

 


Rick, Marge and Family,

Just wanted to drop you a note of “Congratulations on your 50th Wedding Anniversary!” In this day and age, when couples are lucky to last 50 months, let alone 50 years, it’s a testament to you and your family’s love, patience and understanding. Wishing you and yours good health, luck and continued success in all your future endeavors. Take care and God Bless.

Respectfully,
Domenic J. Sarno (8/2/16)
Mayor, City of Springfield

Thank you, Mayor. We also send out our thanks to the many individuals who have expressed their Congratulations and Best Wishes to us. And we would like to extend a special note of gratitude to The Republican for their “Golden Greetings” and acknowledgement in the Sunday Republican on August 14th.

Sincerely,
Rick and Marjorie Hurst


A Bustling Weekend in Downtown Springfield

Sunday, August 10, 2016

Having just finished my walk this Sunday morning in our beautiful Forest Park, I wanted to put down my thoughts on the positive excitement in our downtown Springfield las night. Downtown Springfield was packed and busting with well over a combined 11,000 in attendance for both the Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival in historic Court Square, and a sold-out MassMutual Center with famous comedian , Louis C.K. Springfield’s own multi-award winning Grammy music artist, the legendary Taj Mahal “rocked” Court Square long into the evening. Special thanks goes out to Evan Plotkin and Kristen Neville and our generous corporate and business sponsors for their continued belief and investment in our Springfield. There was such a beautiful, diverse mosaic and eclectic vibe downtown. I met many people from all over Western Mass, Boston, New York, Washington D.C., Florida, Hartford, Amherst, Northampton, Shelburne Falls, etc. who stated what a great time they had and that they would spread the good word around about our Springfield. With all that foot and event traffic, there were two- hour waits in our restaurants – “a good problem to have” – and you know what, we didn’t have one problem either. This is what our Springfield can be and will be as we continue to pursue and create economic development and arts and cultural initiatives. To those who question and “nay say,” please, it’s time to take not only a second look, but a real look at our Springfield.

Signed,

Domenic J. Sarno
Mayor, City of Springfield


Dear Rick,

I was deeply moved to read the commentaries on race and ethnicity by the 9th graders at the Baystate Academy Charter School (POV, July 1, 2016, pg. 33). Out of the mouths of babes!
I believe their sentiments capture true wisdom on the issue and perhaps a way forward in the current polarized climate in our country. They gave me hope.
Thanks for publishing them.

Mark (7/6/16)
Mark A. Keroack, MD, MPH
President & Chief Executive Officer
Baystate Health


Greetings

The following may not be your normal Letter to the Editor but the subject affects all of us – favoritism in property valuations for a select few that is costing the City an estimated $2,000,000 in tax revenue that the assessors are leaving on the table for unknown motivations.
This favoritism is nothing new. I first saw it just over ten years ago while doing a volunteer stint in the Building Department when the Finance Control Board was in charge. It was an eye opener. A number of billboards and cell towers not even on the tax roll, not that they were hidden from view but that the assessors were not doing their job of valuing all real property at 100% of fair cash value.
Do the assessors value your property at 100% of fair cash value?

Russell Seelig (7/11/16)


Thank you!
Sean Parent (5/2/2016)
9th Grade Social Studies Teacher
BACPS SGA Advisor.
Baystate Academy Charter Public School

Fred and Marge,
Thanks for the kind words and support of the students at Baystate Academy in this month’s POV (May 1, 2016). I know Fred doesn’t offer his endorsements lightly and we hope to live up to those expectations. This was a wonderful experience for our students and we hope to continue creating exemplar work.

Again….thanks!

Tim (5/3/2016)
Timothy L. Sneed
Executive Director
Baystate Academy Charter Public School


Mr. Hurst,
It is with great pleasure that I pen this email. Congratulations on a successful magazine that has maintained its integrity with addressing issues that are relevant, honest, and necessary. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed perusing your magazine. I especially enjoyed … Visionary Black Leadership from your February issue in honor of Black History Month. The introduction provided a refreshing review of our issues candidly and sincerely. Even addressing the uncomfortableness of even approaching the subject without scrutiny or a feeling of supporting the white status quo of America.
I understand that fundamentally you are asking a question that is zeroing (in) on a specific population: Black leadership, but I would like to go further in on the word leadership. Or rather look at leadership from a spiritual point of view. Does it matter, Mr. Hurst, who we as a people envision when we think of GOD our spiritual leader? Can who we rely on for spiritual alignment, who we envision, who many of us consciously or unconsciously perceive of when we think of our SPIRITUAL savior (as a white Anglo Saxon male with recessive characteristics) affect our idea of a good self? When the image of our father GOD principle has the phenotype of our oppressor, does that have an effect on our understanding, our perception of SELF?
Consciousness is needed in order to identify truth. An acceptance of white Jesus some may argue has allowed us to easily accept and assimilate with white supremacy. If we are busy assimilating how can we ascend? It’s movement in two different directions: horizontal vs. vertical. I reflect on the doll test that was first performed by Kenneth and Mamie Clark in the 1940s to study the psychological effects of segregation and to test racial perceptions. How is this conditioning manifested in perception of self? Are we fundamentally, spiritually, psychologically deserving? What are we deserving of? How does this glaring perception of self that is planted in our subconscious at a tender developmental age affect our mental health?
In this present day and time with all the discussion of alignment and consciousness on virtually every other channel, where do we fit? The science daily reports on the original man involves discussions of Africa. The attack on indigenous people is well documented. Melanated people all over the Diaspora have faced some sort of reduction in their population size. They have even gone so far as creating evidence of their use of their psychological weapon with their depiction of Gods of Egypt that depicts all of our ancestors as Anglo Saxon white men. Egypt? Why? In this day and age of forensic genetic molecular biology….really? What are they afraid of? What do they understand about the power of that psychology? It is powerful! Because it is applied science of psychology and this perpetuates a psyche of self destruction. It is deeply embedded in the psyche and thus our DNA. We are unconsciously perpetrating a LIE.
So how can we be selfless and make sacrifices if when we think of right, we get the vision of white. It’s a conditioning. Yes, I know we as a people have deep ties to the church, but even back then our church grounds were ground zero for planning and organizing a quest for change. Now it’s questionable. Nonetheless, I am not questioning the word, or validity of the bibles’, but questioning the visual image that we have been given to represent our spirituality, our consciousness. What would be the psychological benefit if the entire cast for Gods of Egypt reflected Melanated black Nubian people. I believe Michael Jackson is the only person who has provided that full visual stimulation in his video titled “Remember the Time…” Thanks, Waco Jacko!
I would like to thank you in advance for the opportunity to have the conversation; and I am very grateful for the time that will be taken to skim this email. It was absolutely refreshing to read such an honest conversation it seemed with one’s self. I appreciate the questions posed and the opportunity and platform you have created for the conversations to occur. It is necessary. It is time.

Thank you for your time.
Lecelle Quamina (3/2/2016)


Kudos to the Point of View for its Visionary Black Leadership editorial (POV, February 1, 2016) . While reading the editorial, I first came to the statement, “…it has always been my opinion that White ignorance and White comfort-level have been the biggest obstacles to resolving race problems in America,” my experiential DNA acumen immediately reacted in the negative. It is only after I overcame my kneejerk reaction that I was elated to see that the editor and hopefully many of our people have begun to see that this is a problem that can only be solved today essentially by our resolving a longstanding internal contradiction with the help of others when possible.
When people have knowledge they use it to build institutions that further their interest, values and perspectives. Everyone else in America has done or is doing this except for African-Americans who are celebrating away our new found freedoms without using our resources to build much of anything that is worth preserving our inherited ethnic brilliance. Financial, educational, social structures for Black people have to be built by us to preserve those institutions we hold dear and will guarantee the preservation of our legacy for our youth. This will only come from work and honest, heartfelt dialogue between our “visionary leadership” with the black community that seem to have lost our way. Does the Point of View have a plan for continuing beyond the Hurst Family?
Again thank you Rick Hurst and the Point of View for posing the question and seeing above the status quo which is never good enough. Those who have a concern and seriously think about our peoples’ growth and evolution have no choice but to commit to the call for and furthering this dialogue.

C. Mujahid Aleem (2/19/2016)
Springfield Educator


Hello, I’m writing to share my view on Visionary Black Leadership (POV, February 1, 2016). You raise important, challenging questions, “Where did that sense of selflessness and sacrifice go?” and “How do we get it back?” I think part of the answer regarding a lack of selflessness in our leadership is American society as a whole has become more selfish: I-pads, I-phones, parents not exemplifying hard work and selflessness. Our community has seemingly turned away from Christian values which characterized and underlied the success of our civil rights movement.
How do we get it back? One family member, one community leader at a time, reflecting decency and goodness to one another even when we disagree; stepping up within our own families to save young people we can readily see are in trouble; removing that plank in our eye before broadcasting the splinter in someone else’s; identifying and working together on policies which strengthen families; education and service to others may help us to get back to where we’ve come from.

Betsy Williams (2/11/16)


 

Thank you for this amazing article (“Raymond Berry: Renaissance Man,” POV, February 1, 2016) with so much insight into who are leaders are in the community – storytelling is the best tool when highlighting our struggle! Loved it!

Waleska Lugo-DeJesús (2/2/16)

Dear Ray,

On behalf of the Healing Racism Steering Committee we want to congratulate you on your award of 100 Men of Color in CT! Witnessing the work that you do in the community, through your personal life and with your UWPV family, it’s amazing to learn that one of our own members of the Healing Racism Institutes’ Steering Committee members was honored!
I was moved by your life’s story along with the picture of your mom, Karen J. Beder in the Point of View’s article this month.  Proud to call you a colleague and friend… much continued success brother!

Waleska Lugo-DeJesús (2/2/16)


 

 

Dear Mr. Hurst:

We share your concern about how things will go in future dealings with MGM. For example, we find it hard to believe they will really spend $9.25 million in a market the size of Springfield. The fact that they became secretive when the Massachusetts Gaming Commission requested more details only added to our concern. (POV, December 1, 2015 Af-Am Newsbit)
Keeping in mind the MGM operates world-wide and is experienced in handling “us locals,” we have made a request of the City Council and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to do the following. If you agree, please do whatever you can to promote the idea:

WHAT WE ASK:
That you (City Council or Gaming Commission) seek financial advice to help you determine the accuracy of MGM’s claims. We need a person or firm that understands large corporations and how money can be run through that world-wide corporation and shifted around in order to deceive. That advice must come from outside Massachusetts to be sure those doing the analysis are not in any way benefitting from the short-term money or prestige that comes with any of the Massachusetts gaming projects.

Respectfully,
Eileen & David Pratt (12/14/15)


 

Good morning Marjorie,

You and Rick have been very supportive during (my) whole medical situation. You watched me go from cane to walker, to wheelchair, always encouraging me.
I would like to congratulate Rick on his appointment by Gov. Baker. This is a great reflection on Rick, you and the POV.

Kind Regards,
Jay Griffin (2/18/16)


 

Dear Mr. Hurst,

My name is Peter C. DeLuce. I, in the past, have been involved in neighborhood politics being from the North End. I also enjoy history a great deal and wish to help set the record right. President Lincoln was a Democrat. The Republican Party was formed before the Civil War. The name is a misnomer. It is (was) known as the Party of the Republic, the form of government chosen by the founding fathers. Hence the name Republicans.
(Then) in the South, the Separatists became known as Dixiecrats or Democrats. After the bitterness of the War, the Southerners became known as the G.O.P. (Grand Ole Party). Some time afterward, the titles and definitions were switched. The Republicans became known as the G.O.P. and the Democrats as Northerners. I have read the articles and books by Doris Kearns Goodwin and she provides some enlightenment on President Lincoln’s work.

Thank you,
Peter C. DeLuce (12/4/2015)

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