Friday, June 20, 2008
IS THE COURANT PROMOTING RACISM?
This afternoon, our beloved Mayor conducted a "press conference" accusing the Courant of promoting hate speech by allowing readers to post on courant.com. Like most of us who slow to look at accidents on the highway, I couldn't avoid the chance to view this trainwreck first hand. I wasn't supposed to know about the event, as Sarah Barr has still refused to add me to media notifications. Fortunately, over the years I have built relationships with other media people who are more than willing to forward me the notifications.
Anyway, let me get back to my point. What I saw at the "rally" was something I totally did not expect. I saw a man who was able to see the best in people at a time of crisis, a man that exhibited true leadership at a time that it is sorely needed, a man that refused to use a terrible string of events for his own personal gain, a man that spoke from the heart and not a prepared script. Before anyone thinks that I have lost my mind, no that man was not Eddie Perez. As I was videoing the event for my program, I looked behind me and saw a man standing down the street by himself under the shade of a tree. The man was Angel Arce, who's father was struck and left for dead in the street almost 2 weeks earlier. I approached Angel, who I have known and respected for several years, and asked how his dad was doing. In an emotional voice he said both he and his family were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, and the comments being made by Perez were way off base. Angel stated that they have been inundated by cards and showings of support from across the country wishing his father well. Black, white, hispanic, every ethnicity you could think of, nothing racist about it at all. And when you would expect him to agree with Perez and be bitter after all that his family has been put through, a promising ray of leadership shines through. Angel stated that he's not about embarrassing people, or name-calling, but rather this is a time for the city and its people to come together. Instead of blaming the Courant, blame the individuals who ran his Dad down. Angel said that rather than grandstanding, people should be working to identify the persons who have shown the worst of what Hartford can be if we don't unite and move our city forward. I'm not sure that I could show the same forgiveness and civility that Angel showed if that was a family member of mine lying in a bed paralyzed. In a time when everyone wants to focus on what is wrong with Hartford, Angel Arce, without saying a word, shows what is great about Hartford.
Angel, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Keep being an inspiration to me and others.
And to answer the question, is the Courant promting racism?
my vote is no, they are promoting free speech. No one is forcing any of us to log on, and it seems as though there are more pressing issues for us to focus on.