The News’ conspicuous lack of coverage for Black History Month

To the Editor:

We are disheartened that the Yale Daily News chose to ignore so thoroughly the recent Black History Month Dinner and Program, organized annually by the Afro-American Cultural Center and Calhoun College.

Although you printed a photograph of Danny Glover and one of us, you gave no information about the context of his visit, together with Bill Fletcher Jr., to Yale last Friday. Mr. Glover and Mr. Fletcher appeared as the keynote speakers of the Black History Month Dinner and Program and as leaders and spokespersons for the TransAfrica Forum, a 20-year-old advocacy organization. In three different settings that day, they met students and discussed their ideas about race relations in America, the imminent war in Iraq, globalization, and how these issues connect students to all communities in the world.

Furthermore, you ignored the wonderful contributions of your fellow students, who performed a cappella singing, spoken-word poetry, and jazz music during the dinner portion of the program. You gave readers no indication that the Yale African Students Association honored Mr. Fletcher and Mr. Glover with an award for their advocacy of African causes. The Black History Month Dinner and Program is an annual event that brings together academic administrators, faculty, students, and community leaders for celebration, reflection, and critical discussion. Is this not newsworthy for the Yale campus?

William Sledge

Tavia Nyong’o

February 22, 2003

Sledge is master of Calhoun College and a professor of psychiatry at the School of Medicine. Nyong’o is a Calhoun graduate fellow.

An answer to why locals 34 and 35 are striking

To the Editor:

As students, workers and the community are being besieged by letters and ads from Yale administration, I am sure that everyone is wondering why locals 34 and 35 haven’t accepted their “proposed contracts.”

First, the Yale bargaining team has made no offer of a contract, especially with any raises even close to what they are claiming. Everyone should be aware that they don’t want to give us retroactive pay for this past year, meaning no one will have had any increase in their pay in well over two years. Plus, we are not holding out for GESO and Yale New Haven to get contracts first as President Levin has stated; that is absolutely untrue. These letters and ads are falling in the territory of outright lies. Most of the workers are now beginning to question the “morals” of the bargaining team. Are they patting themselves on the backs for saving Yale millions at the absolute suffering of the very people who are loyally running this university?

I am very sad with the way we workers are being treated by this bargaining team and Yale Administration. One consolation to us is that the majority of our management is backing the unions and being very supportive of us, in their own ways.

Pamela Clifford

February 27, 2003

The writer is a financial assistant at the Lillian Goldman Law Library.

An altogether different kind of picket line

To the Editor:

I would like to suggest an alternative to the upcoming strike. I am writing to students, colleagues and union members to suggest that in a week when our nation is getting ready to launch an essentially unilateral war that will almost certainly result in the deaths of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent men, women and children, this is the worst possible time for us to act out a struggle over issues like employment conditions at a great university.

Instead, we have a chance to make a difference in a matter of life and death: We should call on the union leadership and the administration to stop the clock on this strike, and instead join together to raise a loud and influential protest against a unilateral action against Iraq. I would like to see everyone join hands on a new picket line, one against a fatal attack on innocent children; as Senator Byrd has reminded us, 50 percent of the population of Iraq is under the age of 15. What are we doing? Why are we rushing to war? People all over the world are asking these questions most urgently; I believe that we here at Yale need to make sure that we aren’t distracted from asking them also, while we can still affect the outcome.

Let us do our duty as citizens first, and then return to the bargaining table. And I predict that if we did that, we would have gained a larger perspective on first principles, and that that perspective would enable us to reach a fair agreement on working conditions.

Kevin Egan

March 1, 2003

The writer is a lecturer in the English Department.