September 28, 2022

Letter to the Editor: Candidates Endorsed by Old Lyme Democrats for Region 18 BOE Are Impartial, Consider All Sides, Bring a Wealth of Experience

To the Editor:

As a former member for 11 years of the Salem Board of Education (BOE), I can attest to the importance of BOE members being impartial and willing to look at all sides in any discussion or debate.  They must be prepared to ignore any ideological differences among their members and make a careful, thoughtful and considered decision after a full examination of the matter at hand.

The four candidates endorsed by the Old Lyme DTC offer these attributes.  Additionally, they all have considerable experience in the education or child advocacy fields:  Martha Shoemaker, currently on the Region 18 BOE and a retired teacher with 35 years experience; Alexander Lowry, presently a middle school science educator with two young children in the Region 18 school system; Jason Kemp, armed with a law degree, now a family counselor with the Family Services division of the Connecticut court system; and Marisa Calvi-Rogers, with a doctorate in Educational Leadership, retired after 25 years as an educator, ending as a high school principal.

I have no doubt that these individuals will not only come to the BOE with a deep understanding of the needs of our children and the issues confronting Region 18, they will be prepared to consider all points of view as they make the decisions required to best prepare our students for the future.   Please give them your vote on November 2nd.

 Sincerely,

Christine Gianquinto,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is the Chair of the Old Lyme Democratic Town Committee.

Letter to the Editor: Resolution on Racism Does Not Say Old Lyme is Racist; Approval Will Enable Town to Focus on Process, Not Apportion Blame

To the Editor:

Although I am the current chair of the Old Lyme Democratic Town Committee, I write today regarding the Resolution on Racism as a Public Health Crisis as a resident.

The resolution reflects the growing body of academic work that confirms that centuries of racism in the US has had a profound and negative impact on communities of color. COVID-19 and police brutality, both of which disproportionately affect people of color, have spurred a recent movement to address racism as a public health crisis.

This belief, racism as a public health crisis, was recently supported by the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.]  Their statement said “To build a healthier America for all, we must confront the systems and policies that have resulted in the generational injustice that has given rise to racial and ethnic health inequities.”

The resolution in no way condemns the Town of Old Lyme or its residents.  No one of us caused these uneven living conditions and opportunities for health, but we are all responsible and must act if we want our communities to achieve their potential.

The resolution is an important first step – it would allow us to focus on the process and not blame any individuals.  Briefly, the resolution as originally presented, suggests that Old Lyme try to:

  • enhance diversity through leadership, staffing and contracting
  • promote equity through policy
  • improve the quality of data collected
  • advocate locally and work with other partners to support relevant policies to improve health in communities of color and confront racism
  • support the efforts of others in the community to do the same
  • identify goals and objectives to assess progress and identify opportunities to advance racial equity.

After one of her constituent Zoom meetings was disrupted with racist remarks, Jahana Hayes, congressional representative for the CT 5th District said “The only way we can cut the cancer of racism out of our community is by calling it out when we see it and raising our collective voices to get rid of it.  In the words of Edmund Burke, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good people to do nothing.”  

I’d like to see the Board of Selectmen and the people of Old Lyme do something.  I ask the Board of Selectmen to pass the resolution.

Sincerely,

Christine Gianquinto,
Old Lyme.