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The Newberg Graphic's readers weigh in on important local issues of the day and more

We need only one flag to show our pride

To the editor:

OK, people of Newberg. Oh, heck, all you people. Now is the time to come forward and get your flag displayed. All you Latinos out there let's get the Caesar Chavez flag out. Native Americans let your voices be heard. Asian Americans, Hawaiian Islanders, European descendants -- let's go. We need to get these flags out there because we also matter. Don't we?

Oh, wait. We already have a flag that honors all of us. It's the red, white and blue flag of the United States of America. It's the flag that has endured and has served us well.

Some of you probably remember starting your school day off with the Pledge of Alligance: "One nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all."

Let's get it together and realize all lives matter, period. If you have the chance to go to YouTube and watch Mr. Red Skeleton tell you about the American flag and explain the Pledge of Alligance, you'll be pleased.

Don Meyers, Newberg

Friendliness, compassion and joy

To the editor:

This is how we should meet others. For thousands of years, the time-tested philosophy of yoga has counseled people to practice this simple kindness, not only to benefit the world, but to uplift the practitioner.

The recent decision of the Newberg school board to ban signs of support for vulnerable students violates this ancient advice. Why? Support for one group does not detract from others. Love and support is in endless supply should we decide to offer it freely.

Of course, not everyone can practice friendliness. Some people are angry. They may be in pain. But they should not ban others from freely expressing friendliness, compassion and joy. If heterosexual white students are feeling pain, we hope they will talk about their troubles. We would like to understand and to help them in any way we can. But banning compassion and support for others is an act against wisdom. It is an act against love.

Let's work together to bring our community back to a healthy path: simply friendliness, compassion and joy.

Newberg Community Yoga

Board displays symptoms of white supremacy

To the editor:

Local news has me thinking a lot about white supremacy. White supremacy can be defined as structures and strategies those in power use to define who gets to have fully recognized rights and who does not. It also works to reinforce other forms of oppression, such as homophobia. Here are just a few traits of white supremacy (and homophobia) that I see in the proposed "Ensuring Safe Environments to Learn" policy being supported by four school board members: • Denial: Denying the experiences of people who have experienced racism and homophobia in our community and refusing to acknowledge that it even exists. • Right to Comfort: The belief that whites/heterosexuals have a right to emotional and psychological comfort and targeting those whose very presence causes their discomfort. • Objectivity: The belief that there is such a thing as objectivity and that it is possible for a policy to be truly neutral. • Fear: Fear underlies all of the above — fear of those who are different from the dominant culture or who challenge dominant culture thinking. There are many more traits that can be applied to current events in Newberg. For more information—and for solutions to these traits — please go to www.whitesupremacyculture.info/.

Gennie VanBeek, Newberg

Newberg student's 'Slave Trade' is why we need Black Lives Matter 

To the editor:

Hey Newberg school board, you want to know another reason why Black Lives Matter symbols should be allowed in Newberg schools? To help prevent atrocious racial acts.

What's that you keep insisting? Racism is not an issue in our town?

Washington Post just reported in a Sept. 21 front-page story that a Newberg student alledgedly participated in a racist Snapchat group called "Slave Trade," where students reportedly joked about how much they'd pay to own Black classmates.

This is sinful. And by doing absolutely nothing, oh esteemed and pious board, you are complicit. 

Same goes with the LGBTQ+ community. You may not agree personally with LGBTQ+ lifestyles, but as community representatives your job is to stand up for any group that is treated horrendously. By doing nothing to prevent horrendous acts, you support horrendous acts. 

It is a matter of preventing despair. It is even a matter of life and death. Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ symbols should be allowed in schools. 

Janice Allen, Newberg

Serve the kids and end this controversy

(Editor's note: This letter was addressed to the Newberg school board)

First, thank you for providing students, parents and staff with an opportunity to speak. Though I was not selected, I pray that you not only hear what is being said but also listen. My name is Gabi Hinoveanu and I am the parent of two children in the school district. I want to ask you all to consider why you are on this board. I think, because I have heard all of you say this in some form, that the reason is to do your best for kids. With that in mind I respectfully ask you to stop. Just stop going, continuing, down this path right now is wrong. The focus should be on what is critcial and this is not it. I would like to remind you that we are still in the middle of a pandemic. Recently many kids (at least 30 is my guess, but I am sure that Dr. Morelock can give you actual numbers) were sent home from school to quarantine. They are required to be home for two weeks, even if they test negative and have no symptoms. And if they do test positive, they must stay home much longer and if they have a sibling that child needs to stay home as well.

Even if we don't agree with this we can't change it and must follow the state mandates. This is just the second full week of school. This pattern of COVID exposure and quarantine will continue to repeat over and over during this school year. The last month has brought Newberg to the limelight as a little community in Oregon that has a school board that is fighting, a kid playing slave trade and an assistant teacher in Black face. Is that the way we want to be known? Instead of spending precious resources of energy, time and money defending a stance that is tearing us all down with divisiveness, frustration and anger on all sides, I ask that you focus on what has brought you here - helping kids. I challenge you instead to give them something to talk about. Don't spend $300 an hour on attorney fees, spend it on a dedicated teacher that can support elementary students that are quarantined and may have no one else available to support them to learn. Then spend the next amount of money to support middle school students. Spend some money on technology that can be turned on in a classroom by an assistant, allowing kids to be part of the class from home and still attend virtually. Again this cycle of exposure/quarantine will continue. Being sent home with worksheets and a computer is no way to learn. We tried that last year in early March. Maybe you remember? So how will kids manage? They won't, especially with working parents. How long will it take those parents to just leave the district because they are tired of watching/hearing a board fight about the wrong things. Please have the courage to be the ones that change this trajectory, solve the problems and become what you joined this group for -- a person that supports kids.

Gabi Hinoveanu, Dundee


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