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Letter to the Editor about the CRT Vote

August 7, 2021
To the Editor:
In late July, the Sun Journal reported the County Commission was supporting a proposal to ban CRT and other educational tools in schools. This was surprising! It seemed to be a response to a non-existent problem.  The local Democratic Party decided we need to participate in this debate.  We agreed to reach out beyond our usual circle and ask more friends and neighbors to voice their opinions.
In one week, we collected over 1000 petitions and emails opposing the intended action of the five White Commissioners.  In contrast, there were fewer than 400 petitions and emails in support of the Commission’s proposal.
Citizens were concerned that the proposed action was outside the purview of the Commission’s job description.  Citizens were concerned that the focus of CRT was a red herring, since no one has credibly demonstrated that CRT has been promoted or taught.  Citizens were concerned that banning “ selected educational tools” for exploring racism may be an indirect way to intimidate educators from ALL meaningful, age-appropriate discussion of racism in our history.
After the meeting on August 2, the Vice-Chair of the Commission expressed doubt that our petitions were authentic.  We want to reassure him that those petitions were real.
The Commissioners’ proposal spoke repeatedly about divisiveness in our community.  I share their concern.  The level of hyperbolic and hostile communication is troubling.  But I believe the action of the Commission is fueling divisiveness.  Certainly the name calling among supporters of the proposal was divisive.  In observing supporters of the proposal in the room, there was hardly any diversity in terms of race or age.  Catering to the hopes and fears of only some White citizens does not help promote unity.  Real reconciliation and unity grow from open, mutually respectful discussion among all citizens. Sweeping unpleasant facts under the rug does not promote unity.
A growing number of folks in our community are concerned about the Commission’s continuing drift to the fringes.  Here in Craven County, we need a Commission that cares about all citizens and devotes its attention to real county business.
Helen Robinson
CCDP 2nd vice-chair