Letters to the editor for week of Aug. 10

League supports creation of Human Rights Commission

To the editor:

The League of Women Voters Brown County strongly supports the development of a Human Rights Commission by the Nashville Town Council. The ordinance as proposed emphasizes the importance of developing a local system to address issues of discrimination that occur in Nashville.

A commission to support human rights would help strengthen community relations and visitor experiences in Nashville and Brown County – an important consideration in a community that relies heavily on tourism.

The proposed ordinance states the intent of the commission is to recognize and support civil and human rights. Existing state and federal resources would be used to resolve complaints of discrimination. Education would emphasize prevention of discrimination in the first place. The commission would provide a professional, confidential system to report and resolve discrimination that would protect the individual subjected to discrimination as well as the accused offender.

The need for a local Human Rights Commission was clearly supported by data presented by the volunteer Human Rights Advisory Commission.

A commission would provide a confidential system to report and address discrimination issues. There currently is no confidential system locally for the general population or visitors to report an incident, no system to address violations, no accountability and no central report. Multiple agencies accept discrimination complaints, but without confidentiality, without resolution, accountability or reporting. A commission could collect data to quantify the problem and determine strategic improvements to benefit Nashville and Brown County.

A number of discriminatory incidents have been reported. The first step toward reducing discriminatory practices is gathering data to assess the problems and guide action. Without a central system encouraging people to report, much of it is anecdotal and hard to evaluate let alone resolve. Anecdotal reports from Nashville and Brown County shared at the Nashville Town Hall meeting on July 7 include:

Offensive comments by a vendor to a customer something to the effect of “Tell them to stop eating dog in your country.”

A retailer to a potential customer: “We don’t serve people with your skin color.”

Derogatory slurs, bottles thrown and threats made.

The commission could work locally to address issues and implement the shared mission and values of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, including:

To support the Indiana civil rights laws and provide education and services to the public in an effort to ensure equal opportunity for all Hoosiers and visitors to the state of Indiana.

To value and respect the dignity of each individual and the differences among all people.

To value the ability to treat others the way they want to be treated.

By embracing these values we believe will provide the highest quality service to the public.

We sincerely hope the Nashville Town Council will move forward to approve the development and implementation of the Human Rights Commission, embracing the mission and values of individual dignity and equal opportunity.

At a recent Nashville Town Hall Roundtable, a question was asked about how much support there is for developing a Human Rights Commission. If you believe it is important to develop a local system that could work to understand and resolve the problems we have with discrimination in our community, please let the Nashville Town Council know you support a Human Rights Commission.

If you think we can do more to ensure residents and visitors can live and work in our community without fear of discrimination or threat:

  • Consider writing a note to Nashville Town Council supporting a Human Rights Commission to help uncover, prevent and address discrimination in our community. Email [email protected]
  • Consider attending the Nashville Town Hall Roundtable on Aug. 4 at 6:30 p.m. in person or via zoom. Check details on the Nashville website: https://www.townofnashville.org/ The Zoom link will be on the calendar.
  • Consider writing a letter to the editor of the Democrat newspaper: [email protected]

A Human Rights Commission would offer a system to support core social policy values of the League of Women Voters: Secure equal rights and equal opportunity for all; promote social and economic justice and the health and safety of all Americans.

Sincerely,

LWVBC Board of Directors (submitted by Cathy Rountree)

Human Rights Commission ‘very bad idea’

To the editor:

I am writing today to explain why the establishment of a Human Rights Commission in Nashville is a very bad idea.

Part of the joy, but also the challenge, of living together in a community is encountering people with very different ideas and attitudes from your own. Some folks just don’t see things the way you do and bless their hearts. We still need to live together regardless and the American system allows free speech to everyone. That especially means speech that challenges the majority attitudes and preferences.

When the heavy hand of government gets involved in policing what people think and say, no matter how offensive, then we have crossed the line into dangerous territory. We already have laws that protect people from aggressive behavior and that includes aggressive speech in cases such as libel. I fear that a new government body that polices human rights outside of the normal and regular legal channels could be used as a cudgel against political opponents of the current regime whether of the left or the right.

If you agree then please make your voice heard and work to oppose the establishment of a Human Rights Commission in Nashville. Remember, freedom of speech is a human right too.

Sincerely,

Daniel Huston, Brown County

ChamberFest organizers thankful for open houses, receptions

To the editor:

We at ChamberFest Brown County are so appreciative of the community support for the festival this year! We’d especially like to point out the concert-related events offered by the Brown County visual artists community.

There will be an open house at the Brown County Art Gallery on Artist Drive from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 15 before the baroque concert at St. Agnes. All are invited.

There is also an open house at the Hoosier Artist Gallery, at 45 S. Jefferson St., from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 19 before the piano trio concert at the Nashville United Methodist Church that evening. All are invited.

The Brown County Art Guild, at 48 S. Van Buren St., is hosting a reception after the Saturday, Aug. 20 concert at the Brown County Playhouse. Please plan to join in after the concert!

There is no charge for the open houses or reception. The concerts are free as well, but donations are welcome and encouraged. Also premium concert seats can be reserved at www.chamberfestbrowncounty.com.

Annie Hawk, president, ChamberFest Brown County

Thanks from Bohbrink family for ‘amazing’ fair

To the editor:

Dear Purdue Extension educators and staff, Brown County 4-H Council, Brown County 4-H Fair Board, Brown County 4-H volunteers and 4-H families,

THANK YOU for an amazing 2022 Brown County 4-H Fair. As a first year 4-H family, we had the most amazing week. We all built friendships, worked hard, played a little, got dirty, sweated A LOT, smiled, laughed and loved every moment.

We know that none of this would have been possible without all the hours and dedication you all put into making sure the 4-H fair happened, so thank you to each and every one of you.

Thank you to all of the sponsors, spectators and Brown County community for supporting and attending the Brown County Fair. We are already planning for 2023. See you there June 31- Aug. 5, 2023!

Regards,

Jenise, Brent, Averi and Owen Bohbrink

Send letters to [email protected] by noon Thursday before the date of intended publication (noon Wednesday on holiday weeks). Letters are the opinions of the writer. Letters must be signed by the author and include the writer’s town of residence and a contact number in case of questions. Only one letter every two weeks, per writer, to allow for diversity of voices in the opinions section. Please be considerate of sharing space with other letter-writers and keep your comments concise and to the point. Avoid name-calling, accusations of criminal activity and second- and third-hand statements of “fact.”