Your letters: Bus ads, FASD, voter ID and helping the homeless

August 30, 2013 

Still hoping for Mideast peace

One year ago the Salaam Shalom Support Group of the Church of Reconciliation placed an ad in the Chapel Hill Transit bus system.

The ad said “Build Peace and Justice” and “ End U.S. Military Aid to Israel.” We hoped this would enable dialogue and discussion.

I attended four packed Town Council meetings on bus ad policy and was sobered by what the Chapel Hill News editorialized as a real “kurfuffle.” I heard a lot of comments about freedom of speech, which I experienced mostly as people attacking our Salaam Committee and the Church of Reconciliation with minimal interest in a sharing of concerns and why we paid for this bus ad.

Now comes the new ad which promises compromise and also peace for Israel and Palestine without recognizing what oppression is and with deliberate attacks against the Church of Reconciliation as we seek peace and justice through sharing of points of view.

How can Israel truly expect peace without recognizing that if you want peace you must work for justice? Israel is controlling Palestine’s electricity, water, building barrier walls and claiming to meet for peace while committing to continue building settlements which will continue the oppression.

As the civil rights struggle highlighted, deliberate acts of oppression must be addressed in democracies such as the USA and Israel.

A still hopeful active member of the Salaam Shalom Support Group of the Church of Reconciliation,

Wes Hare

Chapel Hill

FASD awareness

My daughter was born with brain damage due to her biological mother drinking while she was in utero. On Monday, Sept. 9, throughout the world, those of us who care about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders will raise awareness of this lifelong invisible disability that robs individuals of their potential.

For the first time in North Carolina, there will be a walk starting at 9:30 a.m. at Halifax Mall in front of the Legislative Building in Raleigh. Please register by going to fafasd.org/fasd-awareness-day/. Both my daughter and I will be speaking about our lives with FASD. I know that she is nervous and it will help her to know that there are friends in the crowd. And introduce yourself to her afterward so she knows you are there in support.

If you cannot get to an awareness activity, please reflect on what we take for granted everyday that those with FASD cannot – we can plan, we can understand cause and effect, we can anticipate what will happen if we do something, we have the opportunity to live our lives as fully as we choose, we grow up, go to college, and find a career that pleases us, and so much more. We are able to live “typical” lives that we grow up expecting from an early age. Those with FASD have anything but a typical life. And in your own way, whatever that may be, let others know about the dangers of drinking while pregnant.

Thank you so much for supporting our family and those 2 percent to 7 percent born in the U.S. who are exposed to alcohol in utero – to say nothing of the children worldwide who have the same unfortunate first environment within which they are bathed in alcohol. It is a long journey.

Kathy Hotelling

Pittsboro

Challenging Voter ID

The League of Women Voters of Orange, Durham and Chatham Counties challenges the legality of the newly-enacted voter ID law, which reduces early voting, does not allow provisional ballots for those voting out of precinct, eliminates high school preregistrations and, overall, and impedes access to voting.

The League, which was founded in 1920, is not affiliated with any political party. We don’t care who you vote for; we just want all citizens to exercise their right to vote.

Our foremothers understood that voting provides citizens the ability to have an impact on the critical issues facing their communities. We know that it all begins with getting registered.

On Sept. 24, National Voter Registration Day, League members will be registering voters at community colleges in Pittsboro, Siler City, Orange County and Durham as well as the Durham South Regional Library.

This fall we will be holding candidates’ forums for local elections in Durham, Chapel Hill and Carrboro. We urge citizens to attend and learn more about the candidates. In addition to voter registrations and candidates’ forums, the League provides educational programs to inform citizens about local, state and national issues. A calendar of upcoming events is available on the website at www.lwvodc.org.

Brenda Rogers

President

League of Women Voters of Orange, Durham and Chatham Counties

Why ID for all else?

Why am I asked to bring my driver’s license along with my insurance card when visiting my physician, my dentist, my surgeon, my druggist?

Why am I asked for proof of identification along with a Social Security card before starting a new job, and how do I obtain a Social Security number? The answer is having a birth certificate.

Furthermore I need proof of who I am in order to join my local library, receive a driver’s permit, driver’s license, enter a government facility, open a savings or checking account, cash a check, use my credit card, enter an airport terminal, buy cigarettes or alcoholic beverages.

I need identification to enroll my child into the school system as well as permission to enter a school. Proof of age is needed to enjoy a senior citizen discount or to enlist in the military.

Identification is needed if seeking assistance from the government such as unemployment benefits, food stamps, welfare.

I cannot register to vote, rent an apartment, open an account with a utility company let alone buy a weapon without ID.

Why then is it OK to take a person’s word as proof of who they are in order to vote and for all of the above I must be a liar?

M. Wylly

Chapel Hill

Help the homeless

Project Connect is a one-day, one-stop center that connects people who are experiencing or are at-risk of homelessness with a broad range of services.

These services include housing, employment, health and dental care, mental health care, veterans’ and social services, legal services and more.

This year, over 50 service providers and 300 volunteers will serve an expected 300 guests. Since 2007, the event has served over 900 people in Orange County. The event is a key strategy of the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness.

Through a unique community-wide partnership, Project Connect involves dozens of businesses, hundreds of volunteers, local governments, faith-based communities and service providers all in an effort to end homelessness in Orange County.

Volunteer positions are available to fit all schedules, abilities, and interests. You can volunteer on the day of the event or the evening before for set-up. Spanish speakers are especially needed.

Project Connect is possible because of the generosity of the community. Monetary donations are tax deductible, gratefully accepted and will go toward event costs such as equipment rentals, service providers’ supplies and food.

For more information, please visit projectconnectorange.org or contact me at 919-245-2496 or jrohe@orangecountync.gov.

Jamie Rohe

Orange County homeless programs coordinator

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