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Letter: Editorial was an unfair shot at Heggins

I am writing to take issue with the Salisbury Post’s Thursday editorial, penned by editor Josh Bergeron, taking Mayor Pro Tem Al Heggins to task for a comment she made at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

At the urging of Heggins, Council agreed to work harder at ensuring more people of color are represented on boards and commissions to better reflect the city’s diverse demographics. That representation is currently overwhelmingly and disproportionately white.

When Mayor Karen Alexander suggested a certain Jewish person be reappointed to one of the boards as an example of diversity — a reappointment Heggins joined her colleagues in unanimously approving — Heggins simply added, “Please take it in the spirit in which I say it: people who are Jewish are a minority by, many times, their religion, but they are not a minority by race.”

I believe Bergeron wrongly interpreted this comment as Heggins suggesting Jewish people are less of a minority than people of color, thereby disparaging this person’s minority status. Huh? Heggins only respectfully stated the obvious: Jewish people are white. And the goal is seeking out people of color. It is no more complicated than that, and there is nothing disparaging to Judaism in pointing that out. If Council is interested in religious diversity, then seek out Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, or Zoroastrianists! But the issue is race, not religion, period.

I have long sensed a bias against Heggins on the part of the Salisbury Post ever since she entered the political arena, a bias that causes a hair trigger reaction to almost anything she says or does. Calling her out like this in a three-columned editorial over one simple comment that reflects only the truth is both unfair and misguided, and does an injustice not only to her but to the very real and sincere effort to make our boards and commissions more inclusive.

— Mary James

Salisbury

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