Erase the TapesMany of us who have worked so long in...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 28, 1995

Erase the Tapes

Many of us who have worked so long in Baltimore City's racially integrating neighborhoods are intrigued by Baltimore County's current efforts to understand and respond to the challenges of its own older communities, especially those also experiencing racial integration.

After struggling for almost 30 years with these very complicated issues, I offer two major suggestions to our good friends and neighbors in Baltimore County.

First, you must "erase the tapes" of the 1960s that still play in the minds particularly of your elderly residents and also handed down to their children and grandchildren.

Those tapes say that neighborhoods that integrate will undergo physical deterioration and suffer a decline in property values. The 1970s and 1980s debunked that myth; consider Northwood, Lochearn and Randallstown.

But many, perhaps most, Marylanders still believe it. Whether or not we as a society can achieve true racial integration will be the challenge of the 21st century, but the era of neighborhood deterioration blamed on racial change is gone. Let us turn off the tapes and rejoice.

Second, what has worked to keep healthy the neighborhoods in Baltimore City's northeast quadrant, with which I am most familiar, were the small things that never made the headlines: housing inspectors who worked closely with neighborhood associations, banks and savings and loans that developed creative mortgage instruments to save homeownership, small grants and deferred loans to elderly homeowners to make repairs they could not afford and block parties where residents old and new came together and discovered how much they had in common.

Send your planners into the Northwoods and the Belair-Edisons to talk with our residents and community leaders. Much knowledge and wisdom have been learned and gained these past 30 years.

In the 21st century, I have no doubt that we will achieve true racial integration, but we must continue to work at it and remember with gratitude those who long ago "erased the tapes" of the past and dreamed of a future that is almost here.

Vincent P. Quayle

Baltimore

The writer is the director of the St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center.

Joys of Adoption

We are very happy for Patrick Ercolano's special addition to his family (June 10 column on adoption). We wish the new family well and hope their lives are joyous.

We would like to point out that should there be readers who may be considering adoption who cannot afford to explore foreign options, there are children in Baltimore available for adoption.

We recently held an indoor carnival at the Clarence "Du" Burns Soccer Arena.

This annual event brought together our beautiful children who have a plan for adoption with prospective adoptive parents.

The bright faces of our children were a joy to see as they played games, ate cotton candy and watched a clown and a magician perform. The faces of the prospective parents were also joyful as they met the children and played games with them.

Adoption is a beautiful way to "build" a new family. Children are waiting for you to open your hearts and your homes and welcome them home.

L Please call us at 361-5509 to explore your adoption options.

Yvonne Gillchrist

Baltimore

The writer is the acting director of the Baltimore Department of Social Services.

Narrow-Minded

I was very angered by the June 10 article on the Rev. John K. Mount, the Episcopal priest who was stripped of his title because he blessed the union of two gay men.

I grew up in the Episcopal Church but now must wonder if I want to raise my own children in a church which encourages narrow-mindedness.

Love is a scarce commodity in this world. Broken families abound, hate crimes are on the rise and homicide rates have soared.

Our children are growing up unable even to value each other's lives, let alone to trust or feel compassion for other people.

It is almost against all odds that anyone still forms a loving, lifelong bond with another person.

While we decry this violent, "dehumanized" society, many of our religious leaders perpetrate intolerance, unable to see the connection between their own self-righteousness and their failure to communicate to more people the basic command of loving one's neighbor.

Any two people who can commit to love and respect each other should be applauded and, yes, formally blessed if that is their choice.

What sex they are, or what they do in the privacy of their own bedroom, is trivial compared to their capacity to love.

Carrie Armstrong Montague

Owings Mills

Facts about the Banneker Scholarships

Factually your May 23 articles and editorial on the Supreme Court action scuttling the Benjamin Banneker Scholarships were correct.

However, you left out a lot that is important to the understanding and the conclusions you draw. These omissions leave your conclusions off base. (I headed the minority undergraduate recruitment program from 1973 to 1979 and helped to found the Benjamin Banneker Scholarship.)

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