In a recent editorial (“Stick with Dianne,” Oct. 16, 2008), the Banner asked the question, “Who is Sonia Chang-Díaz?” She is a woman of color who has spent her entire adult life fighting for the needs of people who live right here in our community — the family displaced from their home, the child lacking adequate classroom resources, the elderly couple unsure how to pay for medications.
Ms. Chang-Díaz is a former middle school teacher who will be a strong advocate for the educational needs of our children. She has knocked on the doors of neighbors in Roxbury, Dorchester and throughout the district to listen to the concerns of all the people she intends to represent. At the State House, Ms. Chang-Díaz will demonstrate the compassion, focus and, most importantly, discipline required in a leader.
I understand the conflict that some Bay State Banner readers may feel about Ms. Chang-Díaz’s candidacy. I can only encourage each and every community member to do what I did — stop by Sonia Chang-Díaz’s headquarters on Washington Street and give her an opportunity to answer directly to you. I truly believe that you will walk away from that conversation feeling very comfortable with the vision that Ms. Chang-Díaz has for our neighborhoods and the city at large.
Charlene D. Palmer
As I read the Banner’s recent editorial (“A return to old school values,” Sept. 25) and story about the tribute to the late Kevin W. Fitzgerald (“Late Hub pol’s youth work to be honored,” Sept. 25), I too wished that the values of my youth would make a comeback.
Fitzgerald grew up working-class poor in Roxbury’s Mission Hill. I grew up working-class poor in Lower Roxbury. Most of my friends, regardless of ethnicity or race, lived under similar circumstances.
Our parents worked hard to raise us right. They gave us strong values to live by. They taught us to learn as much as we could. I ended up a police officer after graduating from Boston State College. My late brother went on to graduate from New England Law School. Fitzgerald ended up serving on Beacon Hill as a state representative for 28 years.
Not all my friends went to college. That had little to do with race and more to do with our parents’ motivations for us.
My parents never went to college — my mother never went to high school. However, they both knew education was the key to our future.
I don’t know why African American students lag behind whites and Asians. Why is there such a serious academic disparity in Boston? Is it the school system? Is it the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests? Is it parents? The important issue is not what’s causing the disparity, but how we close the gap. Respect for academic achievement must be returned to urban communities, where struggling to survive seems more important than getting an education.
The only way to move up is through learning. Too many of today’s kids disappear into video games or end up involved in street violence. Too many waste away their lives. Others lose theirs.
I want to see today’s generation of kids grow up and prosper. This is a difficult task for urban families, but it always has been. When we give up and surrender our futures, we have no one to blame but ourselves.