NAACP isn't asking hotels for 'quotas'The Oct. 16 column...

Letters

November 02, 1997

NAACP isn't asking hotels for 'quotas'

The Oct. 16 column by Roger Clegg, ''More room at the inns,'' wrongly characterizes the Economic Reciprocity Hotel Initiative of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People as ''aimed at coercing hotels into establishing and meeting racial quotas in every area in which they do business.'' Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, it is ironic that in an effort to portray the initiative as advocating quotas, Mr. Clegg has managed to attack one of the most fundamental principles supporting a free-market economy -- the right of consumers to demand value and attention for their dollar.

The NAACP hotel initiative is a long-term investment strategy designed to encourage consumers to make informed choices about where to invest their dollars. Industry sources report African-American consumers spend nearly $35 billion per year in travel and tourism, and close to $5 billion on hotel accommodations alone.

These expenditures represent an incredible flow of capital-related expenditures out of the community. The NAACP initiative seeks a return on that investment by attempting to spur a reciprocal flow of capital back into the community.

It is hard to imagine that anyone could argue with the results. When corporations reinvest in the community by affording business and job opportunities, a healthy economic environment is created for all segments of the community, including the businesses that operate in that environment.

Since the start of our initiative eight months ago, executives of 15 major hotel chains have engaged in pro-active dialogue with the NAACP because they recognized that market reinvestment is smart business and, in this case, long overdue.

Mr. Clegg's assertions to the contrary, African Americans have expressed interest in having the hotel industry's doors of opportunity opened to them. The NAACP will continue to fight discrimination and the illegal barriers to opportunity. We are first, and foremost, a civil rights organization.

But, yes, times have changed and today's NAACP is responding to that change by moving more aggressively to advocate economic empowerment, by increasing economic opportunities.

Kweisi Mfume

Baltimore

The writer is president and CEO of the NAACP.

Art party was fun; reason for it serious

Your Oct. 20 article, ''A vision in pajamas,'' seemed to trivialize the serious aspect of the recent fund-raising event at the American Visionary Art Museum. The evening was a gathering of women from numerous professions and sectors of Baltimore, and consisted of substantive discussions as well as light-hearted fun.

The informative evening underscored the need for support from the city and state for this worthwhile institution that Rebecca Hoffberger has miraculously developed and given to our area. This is truly one of the gems of the Inner Harbor and should be promoted as such.

Marcy M. Engelbrecht

Cockeysville

Domestic violence isn't about money

In response to Sara Engram's Oct. 19 column, ''Domestic violence costs everyone,'' the severity of the issue is not the monetary toll on the community, but rather the emotional and physical abuses facing the victim and his or her family.

I am deeply concerned by the growing numbers of women whose lives and families are destroyed each year by varying magnitudes of verbal and corporal maltreatment within their homes.

However, it is even more disturbing that materialistic perspectives currently rival those of morality and ethics.

If a woman is brutally beaten by her husband, the most difficult and enduring recovery she faces is to regain her self-esteem and to recuperate from emotional disturbances.

It is not the immediate consequences of absences from work or increased medical examinations that render the act appalling, but rather the unwarranted violation of the person's integrity or physical welfare.

Domestic violence accounts for a large percentage of problems facing America's families and cannot be addressed quietly. Strong moral examples and more frequent exposure would initiate a keener awareness of the tragic results of the issue and hopefully instill sentiments of sympathy and compassion in the public.

Erica M. Zilioli

Towson

Local veterinarians helping African zoo

Reporter Dennis O'Brien wrote a terrific article Oct. 19 about the journey of several Maryland veterinarians to Africa to help a zoo in Niamey, Niger, improve the living conditions of its animals.

He neglected, however, to include two of the team's major contributors, veterinarians Jean Walsh of the Falls Road Animal Hospital and Gina Johnson of the Baltimore Zoo, as well as the efforts of over 20 Peace Corps volunteers.

Everyone gave 150 percent during the often grueling, 130-degree conditions, working 15-hour days to ensure success.

It is only because of the work of the entire team that the Niamey Zoo has been stabilized and the veterinarians and zoo staff outfitted with medical equipment and proper training.

They all deserve commendation for their noble efforts.

Andrea J. Keller

Baltimore

The writer is a spokeswoman for the Baltimore Zoo.

Pub Date: 11/02/97

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