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Letters to the Editor, June 14

Ashland reacts

50 people were tragically gunned down in a gay nightclub in Orlando and 53 others were wounded.

My friend, Julie Akins, who writes for the Daily Tidings and was an adjunct instructor at SOU, recognized that there was an immediate need for action, what to do with the sorrow so many of us were feeling — how to channel that into something positive. So, she bought some chalk and put out messages on social media that she would be in the Plaza and all were invited to join her.

Over several hours, hundreds of people walked by and many stopped to take pictures, draw hearts and other messages. It transitioned into a beautiful memorial and something that demonstrated the power of words, inclusion and processing grief in a rainbow of temporary color over gray sidewalk pavers. It was Ashland at its best.

I wish I could tell you that everyone got it, that for one single afternoon we were all united in sharing our sorrow and our love, but as it so often happens in this world, some people complained. Seeing chalk in the free speech zone in our public Plaza merited calls to the police.

If all you saw was chalk, you missed the message that we have to take better care of one another — that violence does not get to define us, that love wins! I’m sorry you didn’t see it. Perhaps out of everyone who walked through the Plaza on Sunday, you needed that message most of all.

Vanessa Houk


Name the enemy

The most important responsibility of President Obama is to defend the American people. How can he do that when he refuses to tell us who the enemy is?

Maynard Telpner