Stand against hate, bigotry

NAACP members’ hearts are heavy and saddened by the hatred and bigotry on display this past weekend in Charlottesville, Va. We pause to remember the lives of Heather Heyer, Lt. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke Bates. We also remember the many individuals injured in the attack.

As we reflect and remember important and peaceful civil rights protests, including the March on Washington, Montgomery Bus Boycott, sit-ins, Selma-to-Montgomery march, other nonviolent peaceful protests, and important civil rights legislation, we are deeply disappointed that in this day and age, in the United States of America, we continue to struggle with hatred and bigotry.

We strongly denounce the rhetoric that has helped to fuel a climate of hatred, the rise in hate groups, and oppression and division reminiscent of slavery, lynching, the Klu Klux Klan, neo-Nazism, anti-Semitism, racial segregation and discrimination, and the civil rights movement.

We call on all Americans to denounce and reject the rhetoric that has helped to fuel this climate of hatred, division and oppression.

As we continue to stand in the face of adversity, hatred and bigotry, let the fight for equality and justice for all not be in vain.

The NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization founded in 1909, is dedicated to ensuring the social, political, educational and economic equality of all citizens by removing barriers of racial discrimination and hatred through the democratic processes, and enactment and enforcement of federal, state and local laws to guarantee that the civil rights of all people of color remain secure.

Lawanda Lyons-Pruitt

President

Santa Maria/Lompoc NAACP

Critical thinking, honest discussion needed

As a daily reader of the Times, I am familiar with the frequent letters to the editor from the small, but regular arch-conservative contributors. These writers typically filter their view of social and political events through preconceived perceptions, rather than facts, so I tend to read them and move on to the truth.

However, a recent letter regarding the events in Charlottesville was so abhorrent I feel it necessary to respond. Placing the blame for the violence on counter-protest "mobs" against "legal" white nationalists is willfully ignorant. Defending racists speaks for itself. Worse, to state that the driver who deliberately drove into a crowd protesting white supremacists was "seemingly accidental" is simply disgusting and deeply disrespectful to the victim and her family.

Equally absurd is to equate the terrorism of fringe, racist groups such as the Klan and neo-nazis with the 1.4 billion people on earth who identify themselves as Muslims. I support the right to free speech, even hateful speech, and it is heartening to see so many people stand up and challenge the hate. Critical thinking and an honest public discussion of race and racism is what our society needs, not more factually blind and ugly letters to the editor.

Roger Hall

Santa Maria

Hats off to county dispatchers

I read with interest the report and the July 30 editorial describing the discussion at the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meeting regarding emergency services dispatching. The speakers, representing the sheriff's department, fire departments, and emergency medical services, presented their views on the current system and how it could be improved. A number of structural and process improvements were considered.

What was not mentioned in the articles, and I want to clarify now, is that none of the speakers at any time were critical of the performance of our superb dispatchers. All of us in emergency services work with them closely and there cannot be a more talented and professional group anywhere. In fact, it's the challenges of the existing systems that make their work even more extraordinary.

Issues of limited staffing, forced overtime and excessive workload are system concerns that must be addressed. Everything that was proposed was to support the very challenging job our dispatchers do all day every day. It is important in the deliberations, now and going forward, that we keep in mind that we have a dedicated and high-performing crew of dispatchers - that should be acknowledged and congratulated while we make the system work better for everyone.

Angelo Salvucci, MD

Medical Director

Santa Barbara County Emergency Medical Services

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