News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor - 6/17/20

To the Editor:

I’m a “Pandemic” 2020 Graduate of Sisters High.

More than a week ago I drove up to my house and not only did I smile at the grad sign that someone mysteriously put in my yard a while back, BUT there was also a card now taped to that sign.

I hopped out of my car and excitedly opened the card: “From a Neighbor” and a $25 gift card to a book store! How thoughtful was that?

In addition, another 2020 graduate that lives about three miles from me in a different neighborhood asked my own mom yesterday if she put a card on her sister’s sign. Nope. “From a Neighbor” struck their house, too!

I’m not sure who this kind and generous neighbor is so this is the only way I know to properly thank them. While I’m at it — aren’t we all neighbors in the end?

Love your neighbor. I know I do!

Thank you, neighbor!

Josie Aylor

To the Editor:

Police reform, parental reform or both?

God gave us both emotions and a brain to reason. Like road rage, emotions come before reasoning. Ideas about raising children have changed a lot! If I refused to obey my parents my father would remove his belt and strike me on my backside.

What did I learn from this? Well, it taught me about authority and what the word no meant.

When it comes to authority such as the police, I would never think of running or using violence against them. So many people today seem to think “Stop!” and “No!” are meaningless until apprehended. So in these circumstances are we not doing our children a disservice by not forcefully instilling boundaries that they must follow? And yes, we should expect that from our authorities also.

There will always be bad decisions made by all persons but accountability and reasonable rules should be understood and followed by all of us.

Is it not said there are usually two sides to every story?

Byron Blake

To the Editor:

It’s all about lives these days; everybody is arguing about whose life matters more.

This life, that life, your life, my life, black life, brown life, all combined and mixed up with a bunch of different colors, together equal “All lives presented in one predominant color.”

Race should not be a partisan issue, issues like abortion, gun control, immigration, LGBTQ issues, etc. These are issues that affect particular segments of society, where, unfortunately, politicians are required — hence making it a partisan issue.

Race, on the other hand, affects each and every one of us and each and every one of us has a life. This racial thing has gone on for nearly 300 years in America, Politicians can’t fix it. The root cause is piss-poor parenting by white lives, brown lives, black lives and all lives. Yes, all lives matter and all lives need to fix this.

Terry Coultas

To the Editor:

Hats off to the nature and art people of the Sisters Country! Really! You wonderful people have made Sisters into a pollinator and art lover’s paradise!

Coming into town from the east, it’s a wonder there aren’t traffic pile-ups daily. The route is so attractive with the cyclone fence holding Sisters Elementary School kids’ incredible art work that is so beautiful. Now, with the coming on of summer, we add the magnificent job the Sisters gardening and ODOT crews have done with the wildflower plantings and we end up with a Pollinator’s Paradise.

I stepped out of my vehicle to go in and get a haircut last Saturday morning and was greeted by (at least) four species of native bumblebees all spaced out on the beautiful wildflower plantings in the lovely flower-laden intersections.

As a person worrying about the disappearances of all too many species of insects world wide, I am so grateful to the Sisters public works staff for doing all they do to help our world of nature to heal.

Jim Anderson

To the Editor:

I was born in Alabama and raised in Georgia, in the Jim Crow South. I was taught that the Civil War was “The War of Northern Aggression.” I grew up “whistling Dixie.” The Confederate battle flag was on the “Dixie Crystals” packets of sugar on restaurant tables.

It was only later that I learned that this language and symbolism were not just wrong but were intentionally used to injure and oppress black people. The Ku Klux Klan has used the Confederate battle flag to intimidate the black community for a hundred years. That flag was added to the Georgia state flag in 1956 because it was seen as a symbol of segregationist resistance to the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Now, it is the symbol of racial oppression and white supremacy adopted by avowed racists and murderers like Dylan Roof, who killed nine black people at a prayer meeting in Charleston, South Carolina.

It is past time that we as a society stop publicly displaying the Confederate battle flag, the flag flown by those who waged treasonous warfare against the United States to preserve the depraved and evil institution of slavery. The lasting effects of slavery and Jim Crow are cruelly shown by the murder of George Floyd during the course of 8 minutes and 46 seconds of public torture at the hands of the police. Black people still face unimaginable burdens of racism in America.

While Americans have the right under the First Amendment to utter hateful speech or display hateful symbols, it is generally considered to be socially unacceptable to, say, display the Nazi swastika. Please join me in vowing never again to tolerate the Confederate flag, which symbolizes racism. Instead, let’s unify around the goal of healing the wounds of our past and present.

Mary Chaffin

To the Editor:

Try and stop me with tear gas,

It won’t work, I’m already crying.

Try and stop me with rubber bullets,

It won’t work, I’m already hurting.

Try and stop me with armor,

Locking arms, I’ve got mine too.

Call me a rioter, a criminal, an anarchist —I’ll still call for peace and justice.

Try and stop with force, and I’ll force you

To see people, not police, keep Humanity.

Casey Glick

To the Editor:

Dearest Grad Dream Team and staff — A HUGE shout out from the Aylor clan!

Graduation on a normal year is a huge undertaking. I can’t begin to imagine the number of hours and sleepless nights thinking through all the nitty-gritty details from securing the big screen to picking the type of ribbon on the flowers — keeping in mind that rules could change at any moment.

Josie and the rest of the individual 2020 graduates were honored, recognized, and celebrated more so than they or anyone else could have imagined. Some of you may have raised an 18-year-old daughter or were one once yourself and for sure all of you have them in your classrooms and halls — it’s often monumental to get a lick of motivation or gratitude out of many of them. She was chompin’ at the bit to get there (on time), and has chattered many a conversation about how “dope” her grad was. I can truly say that Josie embodied what JOY to the core looks like — throughout the entire ceremony. Thank you.

I know everyone says Sisters is a special place — because it is. Josie commented on every photo of every student — knew everyone’s name (except for the Italian-BLT-extra-mayo-guy who frequents Subway but transferred here two days before the C-19), and honked her horn for staff members (more than the instructed two quick beeps) and yelled congratulatory quips out her window as grads walked by her Baja to head to the grad stage. She’s missed her classmates AND their families.

I’m so grateful that she is an Outlaw grad and had the influence of you fine folks — who had a slant on who she continues to become. She can be a turkey AND she’s come so far — her future is bright. She didn’t miss “learning” and loved not having to attend class, but she did miss the staff and the conversations that didn’t happen after school closed. Thank you for investing yourselves in Josie! She is headed to COCC in the fall and will head to University of Hawaii at Monoa down the road. I’m sure bikinis and barefoot in class are on the menu. Egads.

I so appreciate all of the work and executing a seemingly flawless “pandemic” graduation.

I miss you guys and hope you have a relaxing well-deserved summer break.

Becky Aylor

To the Editor:

I just want to thank everyone at Sisters High School for working so hard to provide the amazing drive-in graduation ceremony. SHS took a really discouraging situation for the Class of 2020 and turned it into a joyful, fun, meaningful memory. It was evident that, in the weeks leading to the ceremony and at the Rodeo Grounds on June 12, teachers and administrators came together to help the seniors graduate with the encouragement that has lasting positive meaning in young people’s lives.

I am truly grateful for all that was done on behalf of the students and families. Special thanks to the local businesses, groups and citizens who contributed in so many ways. The banners of the students also are so uplifting. Thanks to all those who organized, volunteered and donated.

It was a bright moment during a difficult time. Thanks again for the love, Sisters.

Elly Shelswell-White

To The Editor,

On Saturday, June 13, about 90 Sisters residents held a second vigil/demonstration for justice in memory of George Floyd and all those who preceded him in death at the hands of police and vigilantes, named and unnamed.

The day was windy and cold with occasional light rain, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of those participating. The demonstrators included all ages from children to seniors. There were participants on all four corners of Spruce and Hwy. 20. Being Saturday, the traffic on Hwy. 20 was heavy. Response of those passing by was very positive in support although there were a few detractors hand signaling their disagreement or shouting words out of their windows that cannot be repeated here. This only reinforced the sense of need for such vigils.

After arriving home from the vigil, we were greeted with the images of the shooting death of another unarmed, young African American in Atlanta, Georgia. His name, Rayshard Brooks. His crime, falling asleep in a Wendy’s drive-through line. He was shot in the back after breaking away from the two police officers and fleeing. In today’s climate of killings, I can only imagine his fear. After the shooting, they were filmed altering the crime scene before investigators arrived, by picking up all of their shell casings.

This morning, Sunday, we were greeted by two new stories of African American men being found hung from trees in Southern California. One, Robert Fuller, was in Palmdale, near the city hall and the other, Malcolm Harsch, in Victorville near the library. The police called them suicides but the coroner in Palmdale refused to call that death a suicide. Only then was an investigation opened. The other in Victorville has not even had an autopsy yet. These are stark examples of institutional racism. This is what our demonstrations are about.

W. Joe Weick


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