Wednesday, February 6, 2008
I wrote this in response to Dr. Lynn Kelley's letter to the editor (Jan. 27 Steamboat Pilot & Today).
We live in Denver and were made aware that your schools did not observe the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. We were shocked, incredulous and, in all honesty, angry to learn this, especially considering what your community had experienced with and through Randall Nelson's ordeal.
We were "introduced" to Randall by the Denver Post a few weeks ago, and out of support and solidarity, have forged an electronic friendship with Randall's family and ours, as we too have a 15-year-old son who struggles with understanding race, prejudice and racism as a white child who has friends of all races. A day of inaction is the antithesis of what Rev. King taught, and while laudable and commendable that Black History Month is observed and used as a learning opportunity, ignoring the Rev. King's legacy through non-observance of the holiday is not just a missed opportunity but is an insult to all of those who have worked themselves to their bones and beyond for human rights, human dignity and mutual respect - all the things we are supposed to be teaching our children.
In keeping with the spirit of opportunity, what if next year Steamboat Springs students undertake similar acts of service that the Vail students undertake. Please read about what Vail students - even the elementary schoolers - have undertaken in honor of MLK Day. Additionally, I am sure that Randall and his friends, family and allies will be encouraging their fellow students, friends and teachers to study the Web site www.mlkday.gov for ideas for your students.
Perhaps our son and his interracial student body at Denver East High could join forces with your students on Jan. 19, 2009, to create acts of service that would truly make Rev. King - and all of us - proud.
Betty Wytias and Robert Sobel