Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor
April 16
12:02 2020

Why didn’t Union Baptist receive a larger portion of the COVID-19 Response Fund?

To The Editor:

As far back as I can remember, I have always been encouraged to tell the truth. Apparently, that has not been the case for some people based on the number of untruths that were stated in an article that was published recently in The Chronicle about Union Baptist Church (UBC). I have been a member of UBC for the past 17 years. Most of that time I have also been a member of its Executive Board.

Two community-based individuals, McDaniels and Miles, indicated in that article that UBC “did not deserve to receive $50,000 from the COVID-19 Response Fund.” They claimed that “many people are questioning” that decision. It is hard to understand why the author of the article did not question these individuals as to how they arrived at “many people.” Did they conduct some type of scientific survey, question members of UBC, or was this over exaggerated statement simply the uninformed opinions of McDaniels and Miles?

These individuals go on to say that UBC “has a reputation of only taking care of its tithe paying members.” It is extremely unclear to me as to how McDaniels and Miles could make such unsupported statements about a church for which they are not members. I have been a member of UBC for over 17 years and I have absolutely no idea who is a tither in the church. Therefore, it blows my mind how McDaniels and Miles could make such an outlandish statement when they are not privy to such information either? 

These two individuals went on to say that they have “seen UBC turn people away because they were not members.” Again, these individuals simply presented their unsubstantiated opinions. If they have such a low opinion of UBC, why are they mysteriously “attending” events sponsored by UBC to simply see if it turns “someone away” from events? There is not enough space in this publication to list all the activities and events that UBC has sponsored for both members and nonmembers.

However, just to name a few, as recent as the Martin Luther King holiday, UBC, as it has done for several years, partnered with the Phi Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and provided meals to over 200 homeless individuals as well as hundreds of others who attended the MLK Day program which was held at UBC. This type of activity is conducted on a regular basis at UBC.

In addition, for years UBC has operated a youth character football league. The major purpose of this league is for all youth, not just children of UBC, to have the option of being able to play in a football league that focuses on character building, weight management, and sportsmanship. Hundreds of children have played in this league, most of them were not members of UBC.

Furthermore, for more than 10 years UBC has conducted a Drug Dealers Conference. Most of the participants in this conference have been involved in past activities that most of us would not support. Yet, many of the past conference participants have become members of UBC because all of them were encouraged to do so.

McDaniels and Miles are certainly entitled to have opinions. However, in the future I pray that they would base their opinions on facts. In the future, I would also pray that The Chronicle would not publish such unsubstantiated, unsupported, and fact-challenged opinions.

Unequivocally, UBC deserved the funds. UBC will be a good steward of the $50,000 it received for the COVID-19 Response Fund by continuing to be an active member for its members and the general community. My concern isn’t some misguided opinions that UBC did not deserve the funds. My concern is why didn’t UBC receive a larger portion of the COVID-19 Response Fund?

Joanette Pete McClain

Executive Board Member

Union Baptist Church

Winston-Salem, NC

Funding vote-by-mail option

To the Editor:

Voting rights experts agree: Americans must be able to cast a ballot by mail to ensure that they can safely and securely vote this year. 

Congress has already passed some funding for states to implement vote-by-mail, but the amount is a fraction of what’s needed to prevent COVID-19 from disrupting the 2020 election. In this election, perhaps more than any other, voters deserve the chance to elect leaders who will protect their health and safety, governing with their interests in mind. 

While no voting system is perfect, the fact that multiple states already conduct their elections almost entirely by mail demonstrates vote-by-mail as an option can be successfully adopted around the country. We also know that vote-by-mail increases voter turnout across the board. According to the New York Times, in the 2018 midterms, states that allowed voting by mail had, on average, a 15.5 percentage point higher turnout than states that did not. 

We also need other options for registering to vote and casting a ballot, like online voter registration and early voting, in states that don’t already have them. Election experts have calculated that states will need an additional $4 billion to implement these voting reforms to hold a safe and secure election in November. 

I commend lawmakers for allocating some funds to expand vote-by-mail and other election assistance, but I am counting on Congress to recognize the magnitude of the threat that COVID-19 poses to our elections and provide the full $4 billion in funding that states need. 

We must expand vote-by-mail before it’s too late.

Joanne Heckel

Winston-Salem, NC

Our lives depend on the poorest wage earners

To The Editor:

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Heroic janitors are risking their lives, without protective gear, frantically cleaning schools, homes, corporate offices and government institutions for an average pay of $13 per hour. Many waitresses, cooks, cashiers, retail employees, food service workers and laborers struggle with less than $10 hourly. 

Brazenly and with arrogance, some of the most powerful billionaire corporate institutions as well as politicians continue to shamelessly debate whether America’s lowest paid workers need raises up to $15. 

They know scantly paid earners (especially immigrants) can’t afford to strike, stay home or miss a day’s paycheck. “Some money is better than no money.”

The United States is in a partisan virus governmental leadership crisis potentially more potent than the COVID-19 disease. Our merciless “pandemic” and perilous lethal threat may be arrogance, poisonous attitudes, prejudice, fear, lies, tweets, social media and the partisan blame game.

Poor people can’t afford to quarantine from food, housing, rent, lights, gas, childcare or essential medical needs. When poverty-stricken individuals hit rock bottom, hell is the next inescapable lake of fire destination.

(“Compassionately, give stimulus money to the homeless and poor. Big business and corporations will get their billions.”)

It is a humanely mandatory necessity to give all front-line responders the money and resources necessary to keep them and us alive. Without them, we could perish within the blink of an eye. They are risking their lives to save ours. Safeguarding human existence is worth more than $15 per hour.

Henry J. Pankey

Durham, NC

Safely celebrating faith traditions

To the Editor:

As humanity faces one of the greatest challenges in modern history, at least three faith communities are searching how to safely celebrate sacred holidays in April.

These Abrahamic faith communities usually gather around family to honor and express their traditions. To do so now endangers the core of society that is the family. One wonders what would Abraham, Christ or Prophet Muhammad do?

Preserve these sacred holidays by advancing and helping humanity see the value of faith in these trying times. Demonstrate your convictions by helping our common families see a better future than our present condition. Share the lessons of faith with actions of genuine concern for each other regardless of individual traditions. Allow science, safe health precautions and the love principle to guide our actions to honor the human family. A better day is here if we see the intrinsic human value of each other and act accordingly. Have a Blessed Passover, Easter and Ramadan.

Fleming El-Amin

Winston-Salem, NC

Support for elimination of WSTA two-bag rule

To The Editor:

I want to send a big “thank you” to Ms. Woodson, the entire staff of the Winston-Salem Transit Authority (WSTA), and the WSTA board for suspending “the 2 bag rule.” As a result, passengers can carry on more than 2 grocery bags on our buses, as long as they can maintain their bags safely while riding. 

This change is deeply welcomed for all the people trying to feed their families, since previously multiple trips or expensive taxis were required to grocery shop like people with vehicles.

This is especially applauded during a time when WSTA staff are working extra hard to constantly keep our buses immaculately clean and safe, planning changes in routes, and changing the way buses are traditionally boarded and exited. 

This simple change that comes at no cost to Winston-Salem’s budget will positively impact the lives of many people in our community.

Ms. Woodson, her staff and the WSTA board deserve to hear a thank you from those of us who welcome this change. You may reach her at 

I hope the suspension of the two-bag rule goes smoothly, so that one day, the two-bag rule can be eliminated. 

Sarina Jarrahi Horner, Forsyth Country Day Lewisville, NC

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