Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
Dating back to the early 1940s when the Steamship Authority’s ferry would leave from New Bedford, it has been a tradition for my family to vacation in the summer on Martha’s Vineyard. Therefore, when my grandsons were born, this tradition continued.
Routinely in the morning, the boys (now 11 and 13) and I would have our breakfast and then read a few chapters from our respective books. After reading at least three chapters, we would have a discussion.
On the morning of July 13, as part of my discussion of The Presumption of Guilt, I was explaining to my grandsons that unfortunately, no matter how educated you are, how hard you work, sometimes you will be faced with very ignorant people who will hurt you because of your skin color. This is a lesson parents and grandparents have to teach their young black children, as was proven by the unfortunate reality a few hours later.
It hurts me deeply in my heart and the feeling I still get in the pit of my stomach from that day in Vineyard Haven. The day sickens me because I want to believe and hope that by the time Bishop and Roman are old enough to bring their children here, racism will be something that we refer to as “back in the day.”
The weather was great as we headed over to Vineyard Haven to buy the boys their Black Dog sweatshirts, an annual tradition for them for back to school. As I drove up to the front of the building I started to take a right into the driveway. Immediately, two fiftyish white males, dressed in faded three-button navy blue shirts with company logos on the left top side (not the Black Dog), yelled, “One way!” Apologetically, I stopped, yelled back, “Oh, right, okay thanks!” Immediately, my grandson said to me “Grandmother Zindzi, did you hear what those men said?” I asked him what did he hear them say and he responded, “They said really nigger?” I asked him again, “Bishop are you sure that’s what they said?” And he replied, “Yes, Grandmother Zindzi, that’s what they said.”
I turned the car around and found the nearest parking spot and raced down the street with the boys in tow to find and confront these individuals. When I finally found them I approached them and asked them what did they say to me and their response was, “Oh . . . oh . . . nothing. Why? What did you think we said? We’re sorry if you thought we said something else.” I decided not to give them the satisfaction of repeating what my grandson heard so I just glared at them and looked back at my grandsons showing them how cowardly ignorant people can really be under certain circumstances. We walked away. This was another lesson.
Why did those two white men find it necessary to say anything hurtful? What would prompt them to utter that racial epithet to us? What pleasure was derived from saying that to me just because I was going to turn onto a one-way drive, even after displaying my obvious embarrassment? I even thanked them and smiled in appreciation for pointing out that it was a one-way.
My grandsons and I went back to Oak Bluffs and discussed what had happened. I listened to how they felt about the incident and I hugged them and told them how much I loved them and made it clear we were not going to let two very ignorant men spoil our traditional vacation on the Vineyard. I also assured them that I would further address this situation by writing a letter to the newspaper to make people aware of the ignorance that still exists in the midst of all the other goodness that Martha’s Vineyard has to offer.
and Oak Bluffs
Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
Final report on the Chappy Musketeers: On August 8 the last of the three Chappy ospreys fledged from The World of Reptiles and Bird Park. Thanks to the Edgartown Seafood Market and Coop’s Tackle shop for the nutrition that allowed them to do so.
Gus Ben David
KEEP LOBSTER FISHERY
Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
The following letter was sent to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The commission later agreed with the concerns expressed in the letter and rejected the proposal of a four-month closed season.
We have read through the draft of Addendum XVII and again we have to object to the option proposing a four-month closed season (June through September) for lobster management area number two. This is just the worst option available as far as the lobstermen from Martha’s Vineyard are concerned.
We have a summer fishery that corresponds with the very active tourist season on our Island. Every pound of lobster that we land in the summer is consumed on our Island — sold in restaurants, fish markets, and at our farmers’ market. This local market allows us to get a top price for our product and eliminates our cost of shipping to off-Island markets. Our buy-local movement is very strong and our program of identifying lobster as Vineyard Wild Caught is a great program for us. Telling Island lobstermen that they can’t fish in the summer months just guarantees that all the restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard will be serving Canadian and Maine lobster.
We can support an increase in the minimum size to three and a half inches and we already have a maximum size restriction of five and a quarter inches. We could be open to other well-conceived conservation measures, but the four-month closed season would put all our lobstermen out of business. This would be a very sad thing for the harbor of Menemsha where lobstering has been a part of the culture for 100 years.
Our local lobster fleet includes the following boats and captains: F/V -Solitude, Pat Jenkinson; F/V - Royal, Scott Stephens; F/V - Summer Dawn, John Larsen; F/V - Esther’s Pride, Steven Larsen; F/V - Kathie C., Emmett Carroll; F/V - Sherry Lynn, Carl Flanders; F/V - Endurance, Robert Sloan; F/V - Freedom, Wayne Iacono; F/V - Merlin, Chris Stien; F/V - Martha Elizabeth, Wesley Brighton; F/V - Cachalot, Daniel Broderick; F/V - Shearwater, Paul McDonald.
Please respect our right to keep a strong lobster fishery on Martha’s Vineyard.
Warren M. Doty
The writer is president of the Martha’s Vineyard, Dukes County Fishermen’s Association and a Chilmark selectman.
Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
So you thought the roundabout issue was over and done with and we could continue our lives as before. Not so. It’s a 75 per cent done deal, we found out at the Martha’s Vineyard Commission public hearing on August 4.
We (the public) gathered for the purpose of presenting evidence to the MVC as to why this should be reviewed as a development of regional impact (DRI), not to discuss the merits of the proposal. But we had to wait for about one hour while the merits, including an abbreviated video show of the project, were explained to the commission. We later heard that the commission staff had worked very closely, all through the preliminaries of the project, with the Oak Bluffs selectmen.
As we were there for the DRI, some of us had assumed that it was the MVC’s responsibility to initiate the procedure as stated in their standards and criteria checklist, but not so. So 10 years later we find out that the Oak Bluffs selectmen probably should have realized this project was a DRI (you think?) and presented this to the commission for review.
They never did? We’re aghast! Now the commission begins to defend itself. Their staff never mentioned a DRI review to anyone? At the April 20 meeting at the Oak Bluffs Library (with Mark London present) we read in full from the above checklist and the project presenters became a little nervous. It wasn’t enough for the selectmen.
Fast forward three-plus months and applaud the West Tisbury selectmen, and some West Tisbury residents supporting them, for the suggestion of a DRI review.
Oak Bluffs selectman Greg Coogan stood to speak on the merits and to suggest no need for a DRI review.
There were questions about the TIP money and Mr. London told us that if we didn’t proceed quickly there was no other project on this Island that this money could go toward.
What about the West Tisbury project at the State and County Road fork where several accidents have occurred?
Also, if safety is such a concern why can’t funds be directed to Barnes Road to build a much-needed bike path?
We heard about how we must look to the future, 20 to 30 years from now, etc. Well, I’ve lived here for 30 years, and with land available for building becoming less and less, why are we catering to cars? The VTA is most valuable and more bike paths would be terrific.
I’ve just heard that the MVC did accept this project as a DRI, but I don’t hold much hope.
Why am I writing? Because I don’t think that three people (Oak Bluffs selectmen years ago) should decide the future for 15,000-plus people. I’ve repeatedly suggested a nonbinding referendum on each town’s ballot. Let the people decide.
I’m tired of hearing the crash statistics, which we all know can be manipulated to achieve a desired result. I’m tired of people being blatantly ignored, including those presenting two different petitions with a total of at least 2,500 signatures.
I’m tired of the apples-and-oranges comparison between the Vineyard and Nantucket (“They love their roundabout”). They’re a different place.
I’m tired of being told we’re afraid of change; that’s why we’re questioning the project.
If it weren’t for Trip Barnes pointing out the difficulties and dangers of the first-design project, we might not have a newly-designed project. And what about signs and lighting? What about the buildup of traffic more quickly at either end of the road?
Let the people who live here decide in a democratic manner.
A LIBRARY TO LOVE
Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
Many thanks go out to the generous patrons and all who attended the Edgartown Library Foundation’s third annual Legacy of Learning event, held recently at the Boathouse Field Club in Katama. The Edgartown Library Foundation’s mission is to raise funds for library programs and services, to raise awareness of all that the library offers, and to encourage the participation of the community in the various activities of our town’s library. Monies raised at this event add to the annual fund, which underwrites library programs such as this summer’s popular music series. The wish list, shared with all attendees at the event, outlined specific materials, supplies, programs and improvements that the staff of the library know would enhance the experience of all patrons and which are not included in the library’s annual budget. A number of these wishes will come true, thanks to the generosity of the patrons, friends and guests at the event.
This year’s honoree, Edo Potter, was recognized for her years of dedicated service to the Island and its people and we were delighted that so many of her family and friends were on hand to acknowledge her as a great citizen, conservationist, former Edgartown selectman and friend. We thank her, as well, for being a strong supporter of the Edgartown Library.
Additional thanks to the Edgartown elementary school participants in this year’s essay contest. Grand prize winner Joseph Pinto read his essay (on display at the library) to the audience and was presented with a Netbook computer. The winner in grades four to six was Alexis Condon, and the winner in grades one to three was Marjorie Pendergraft. We applaud them for their thoughtful efforts; some of their ideas may be part of the new library that Edgartown is hoping to build in the near future!
Legacy of Learning would not be possible without the generous support of our patrons, the Boathouse Field Club, the hard work of the members of the Edgartown Library Foundation and its event coordinator Danielle Pendergraft and the many generous donors of the silent auction and raffle items. Our sincere thanks to you all.
Next on our calendar is the annual Frankly We Love the Library event. This popular fun time is held at the Katama Airport on Labor Day and is jointly hosted by the Edgartown Library Foundation, the Edgartown Friends and the Trustees of the Edgartown Library. Mark your calendar and join us for this laid-back, end-of-summer celebration because frankly, we love the library!
Susan L. Cahoon
The writer is chairman of the Edgartown Library Foundation.
The Vineyard Gazette welcomes letters to the editor on any subject concerning Martha’s Vineyard. The newspaper strives to publish all letters as space allows, although the editor reserves the right to reject letters that in her judgment are inappropriate. Letters must be signed, and should include a place of residence and contact telephone number. The Gazette does not publish anonymous letters.