Your letters, May 14

May 13, 2014 

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    Please send letters of up to 300 words and guest columns of up to 600 words to editor@newsobserver.com. All submissions may be edted for space and clarity.

Thanks for dinner

Thanks to everyone who played a part in making the 17th Annual Community Dinner a resounding success.

Close to 600 people gathered to eat food prepared by Mama Dip’s Kitchen, The Carolina Inn,The Chapel Hill Restaurant Group,Vimala's Curry Blossom Cafe, Med Deli, Rasa, K&W Cafeteria, Tres Amigos, Bread and Butter Cafe and other local restaurants who, together with many businesses and organizations, provided supplementary entrees and desserts.

We would particularly like to thank Mama Dip’s Kitchen for cooking the lion’s share of 17 Community Dinners. All who attended enjoyed entertainment by clown/magician Matthew Wright, singer Jennifer Evans,The Chapel Hill Karen Youth Dance Group, the Blame It On My Youth Jazz Orchestra, Terrell's Creek Church Mass Choir and Con Acento Latin acoustic duo. Sound was by Erich Lieth, and Ron Stutts of WCHL1360 and Marlyn Valeiko, from Orange County’s Department of Housing, Human Rights and Community Development, were the emcees.

This year’s dinner reflected even more concerted efforts to include locally sourced foods on the menu and to be a zero waste event (95 percent composted or recycled) thanks to Blair Pollock of Orange County’s Waste Management Department.

Without your help and donations, we would not have been able to offer such an exceptional dinner for so modest a ticket price. By keeping the event truly affordable (and by underwriting an unprecedented number of tickets), we were able to host citizens from every income level, and every ethnic, special needs and age group. In this way the dinner enhances the spirit of diversity in the community. To those of you who attended this year’s event, we are sure no explanation is needed regarding the benefit of such happenings as the Community Dinner. Our shared understanding and pride in community is, as we know, even stronger as a result of this year’s event, and we look forward to seeing you daily in the community and at the dinner next year.

Mildred Council (Mama Dip)

Nerys Levy

Co-chairs

Seen the signs?

You may have seen signs for Bootstraps throughout Durham that are partially written in Japanese or Russian. Their English translation is “65 percent of Durham students failed the reading test.” If you grew frustrated trying to read the signs, you have a small understanding of what it is like to be part of those 65 percent of students who can’t read their classroom materials.

Bootstraps is a Triangle wide, all-volunteer, nonpartisan political action committee seeking to shed light on the thousands of children in our schools who can’t read. Our hope is to get them resources so they can learn to read. Bootstraps began with a group of Moms from Durham, Wake and Chapel Hill-Carrboro school districts who had to go outside the school system in order for our children to learn to read. We sent our children to tutors and to the six private schools for reading instruction throughout the Triangle. We had volunteered in our sons’ and daughters’ classrooms and knew there were so many other students struggling with reading. Tutors and private schools were not options for these students.

We know illiteracy has correlations with teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, the dropout rate, unemployment and crime. Please consider giving an hour a week of your time to help solve the illiteracy problem in our community. You can change a child’s life by volunteering with The Augustine Project or donating books to Book Harvest. You can help an adult by volunteering at The Durham Literacy Center. Please go to our “Needs” page at bootstrapspac.org to learn about these, and other organizations working to help all of Durham learn to read.

Mary Carey

Bootstraps

Research Triangle Park

In a recent article in the News and Observer (”Deborah Crowder’s story could bring NCAA Investigators to UNC”), reporter Dan Kane gave the impression that I had written that I suspected Crowder had overstepped her authority to help athletes in ways that should have been called out by athletic officials. My views were mis-characterized.

Mr. Kane was referring to an essay I wrote over a year ago in an attempt to make sense of the findings of the investigation that was conducted by Deans Hartlyn and Andrews in the spring of 2012. I hope that I would never make charges based merely on something I suspected. Further, I do not believe that officials of the athletic entertainment industry have any business calling out anyone about problems that their money and influence help create. I could care less about the NCAA. I do care about the integrity of a community of learning, and I did make some observations about what tends to happen when a university tries to run a minor league franchise on the side. Mr. Kane knows all this.

The eighth official investigation of this matter is now in progress. At some point, this particular saga must come to a meaningful conclusion .... and end. Then, perhaps, a fresh and courageous attempt to deal with the underlying issues and principles can begin.

Reginald F. Hildebrand

Associate professor

African, African American and Diaspora Studies

Editor’s note: The N&O story did not intend to leave the impression that professor Hildebrand suspected prior to the discovery of an academic scandal that Crowder, the now-retired manager of UNC's African and Afro-American Studies department, was improperly helping athletes.

Taekwondo is an ancient martial art from South Korea. Taekwondo is based of the principles of body, eye and mind focus. I have been studying Taekwondo at Kim’s White Tiger in Chapel Hill for four years. Taekwondo is a huge part of my day-to-day life. I am at the doe-jahng five or six days a week.

Taekwondo has taught me to be punctual by enforcing that students get to class 10 minutes early. Iit has also taught me to be prepared because for classes you need your uniform and belt and be ready to learn. It teaches you how to show respect to the masters and higher-ranked classes by having you shake hands and bow to them at the beginning and end of every class. The instructors even have you do the same for parents – you have to bow then thank them for taking you to class. At Kim’s White Tiger I am also on the demo team, which has taught me how to work with a team and coordinate and synchronize all our movements during our performances. Taekwondo also includes sparring, or simulated fighting against an opponent. When you spar during taekwondo they teach you mercy by making you stop when you have a significant amount of more points than your partner and to be merciful to your partner if they are younger or a lower rank than you.

My doe-jahng Kim’s White Tiger, also rewards kids with student of the month awards if they get A’s and B’s. This reinforces my efforts to apply myself and makes me try harder in school. Taekwondo itself helps you work your brain by making you memorize forms (which are a bunch of kicking, punching and blocking put into a movement) and self-defense. I feel as if Taekwondo has really helped me become the person I am today by reinforcing these principles on me and teaching me to treat people with kindness and respect.

Nicole Davis, 13

Chapel Hill

Editor’s note: The writer is a candidate for a black belt in Taekwondo in May 2014. Part of the Blackbelt initiation process is finding a way to share her experience.

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