False reports of racial incidents are harmful
Justice has many definitions, but the one I use is “the quality of being morally right, or equitable.”
The events of last weekend at SUNY Albany and the uproar that followed were focused on calls for justice. Now that the facts of this case are being called into question by some, the silence is deafening. The report harmed countless people in the Albany community, resulted in campuswide discord, forced a student to leave campus and even resulted in a physical threat.
The very same community leaders who called for justice last weekend should be doing so now, but they are silent. Justice is not (and has not been) color-blind in America, and that is shameful. If this incident turns out to be false, ignoring it will not change or make up for past wrongs. It will simply make the public less likely to believe the next story about racism, sexism or ethnically charged violence.
Local news outlets that usually cover news as it is happening have strangely shied away from this story. Why? What if three Muslim women made up a story that 10 Christian men held them down and beat them and called them names? What if three white women accused black men of the same and were later found out to be lying? What would the reaction be then?
The harm done to a community from false reports of racial incidents can’t easily be undone. Those who make such reports need to be held accountable for their actions. Only then will there be real justice.
Don’t limit legislation to those with autism
We read with interest the Feb. 5 column [“Now is the time for action on autism”] submitted by Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara.
In his remarks, Assemblyman Santabarbara indicates that he has introduced legislation that will hopefully increase job opportunities, provide independent housing options and improve communication for individuals with autism.
While we agree that individuals with autism should receive these types of support, we would also submit that persons with all types of developmental disabilities should receive the same types of support. We are parents of a 27-year-old with Down syndrome. We have advocated for years that he, and others like him, should have independent housing options and job opportunities made available.
In addition, what about individuals with spina bifada, cerebral palsy and all other forms of disabilities? Shouldn’t they have the same opportunities and chances as persons with autism?
For too long, in our opinion, the New York State Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities has chosen to not recognize the needs, desires and goals of all persons with developmental disabilities in so far as establishing, improving and maintaining these vital types of programs and services.
We would hope that Assemblyman Santabarbara would consider amending his legislative package to include all persons with disabilities, not only those with autism.
Bill Van Evera
Terry Van Evera