Why I love Homer
I was raised in Moose Pass and after 27 years in Anchorage I moved to Homer in 95. The Tuesday after Memorial Day reminded me why I love small towns.
In the morning I met with First National Bank Alaska and they are working with me to save my property during this collapse of tourism.
Then, soon after returning to the office, I received a phone call from Homer Electric Association. The lady said she had noticed the Kannery Grill was not open and that we could switch from the expensive “demand meter” rate to a less-expensive meter rate. I brought her flowers the next day.
Being somewhat down in the dumps yesterday, I decided to walk the streets of Homer. On went my mask — not nearly as beautiful as what the other walkers used.
There was no way to show our smiles, but we shared waves, nods and thumbs up.
Then there was the downtown road work. A kind road-crossing guard helped me across Pioneer Avenue both ways — another essential worker we should all celebrate.
Below my apartment window a sandhill crane taller than I called desperately for a mate. In one of Homer’s urban woods a moose settled her twin cubs for a nap.
Meanwhile, a family of preschoolers wearing bright, long-sleedved T-shirts worked off their energy.
“I can’t see your hands,” I said.
Giggles from the kids. “We don’t have hands.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
Not they began to flap their long neon sleeves. “We’re butterflies.”
And so they flew happily away while I flew to the outdoor story walk at the Homer Public Library, where beautifully illustrated, joyful children’s books can lift anyone’s mood.
Diana Conway, Halibut Cove
No place for civil discourse
I watched the video of George Floyd’s brutal killing and was horrified. When I learned the police officers responsible had been arrested and charged with murder, I felt that his family would find justice for Mr. Floyd’s death. Then chaos reigned. Cities are on fire. Innocent bystanders are killed. Stores are looted. Communities of color have been destroyed. Our country is being torn apart. At times, the mob has taken over cities. Unless an individual agrees with the mob’s view and affirms America’s inherent racism, they are condemned as a racist. There is no place for civil discourse, it is now mob rule.
The first amendment guarantees the right of all citizens to gather together and peaceably protest, but it does not offer that protection to rioters. There is nothing more ludicrous than burning down a black man’s business while chanting black lives matter. Does burning black neighborhoods make their lives better? No, divisions become even greater. I see many people carrying signs. I would ask them, where are the signs and tears for the innocent that have been beaten and killed by the mob?
David Dorn, a 77-year-old black man was gunned down by rioters in St. Louis, trying to protect his friend’s store. I haven’t seen signs supporting him. Thousands of innocent black people have had their livelihoods, homes and neighborhoods destroyed by the rioters. There are no signs for them. The police are trying to protect neighborhoods and enable peaceful protest, while at the same time being physically attacked and killed by the rioters. Multiple innocent policemen, black and white have been shot by the mob. Where are the signs supporting them? This is madness. There are now calls to eliminate the police. If that happens, you will not like the society it will bring.
The importance of language
Last Sunday, I joined our local protest in light of the recent killings of black men and women across the country, at the hands of police officers and predominantly white Americans. Most recently, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, Tony McDade and Manuel Ellis. My sign and I are now in our local paper. It read: “White people, what can you do better to support POC in our community?” Normally this would be great. The problem is that I used the term “POC” instead of “BIPOC.”
I also ask: “What CAN you do better? “instead of “What WILL you do better?”
“Can” is a statement of capability but it’s not the same thing as “will.”
Each of us need to be actively doing something every day if we want to eradicate racism. Listen to Black people. Believe Black people. Stop justifying and normalizing traumatic, oppressive, racist behavior and systems. Read books by Black authors. Learn a new word.
In a digital age when words are often limited to a small word count, the solution has been acronyms and they’re often used by marginalized peoples to signify identity and personal power. Simply put, “POC” means “People of Color.” I thought at the time that this was the proper application of the term.
The acronym POC doesn’t centralize black people. If we’re going to be standing up with black people we cannot erase them under a term as broad as POC. The proper terminology is BIPOC which means “Black, Indigenous, People of Color.”
I am writing to you today in an effort to help better equip those who are fighting against racism.
I am writing to you today to ask the people Homer, Alaska once more: “White people, what will you do better to support BIPOC in our community?”
A letter to Rep. Vance
Dear Rep. Sarah Vance,
I have many questions, and I hope you will respectfully answer as many as you can.
I was in Ulmer’s today waiting in line at the checkstand, 6 feet back from the lady in front of me. I saw you in the other line, definitely not 6-feet distant from the person in front of you. As well, neither you nor the little girl with you, were wearing masks.
I have to ask you, and politely, Why not? As our Representative, I have to ask if you really care for your constituents as you say you do, especially the vulnerable older people who make up a large part of the demographics. Do you not believe there is a pandemic in our country?
I wonder why people who visit our beautiful Spit from Anchorage, Wasilla, and other communities, do not wear masks? They enjoy our beach, our scenery, our fishing waters, our businesses, but do not respect our community enough to wear a mask?
Do not our State Medical Officer and Homer physicians/hospital advise that we must wear masks to protect ourselves and others? To prevent the spread of this virus?
I await your reply, and please feel free to do so publicly. You represent us. Certainly you travel a lot, and see a lot of people as you communicate what your leadership represents. Therefore, I would imagine you are exposed in large degree to the COVID-19 infection potential symptomatically or asymptomatically.
Thanks for Epperson Day support
Thank you to all who joined us to celebrate Mary Epperson Day on June 6. Special thanks to our volunteers and community partners: KBBI, Pier One Theatre and performers, Pratt Museum, gallery artist Jay Wright, Pioneer Avenue businesses, mural contributors, and musical performers.
A variety of guests spoke on KBBI about Mary’s positive impact on Homer—as a teacher, mentor, cheerleader, and advocate of the arts and education. Mary certainly helped establish Homer as the arts capital of Alaska. The enthusiasm of participating artists and audiences (both live and virtual) are a testament to the value and importance of art in our community. Especially during this time of social distancing and social discourse, art helps us cope, fosters dialogue, and continues to bring joy. Mary would be proud.
Scott Bartlett, Executive Director, Homer Council on the Arts