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LETTER

Letter: Thanksgiving and Native Americans

To the Editor,

Thanksgiving, like most holidays, is marked by a frenetic pace of commercialism. Indeed, it is a prelude in this country to Black Friday and the insane push by corporate America to buy and consume.

Like Christmas, its original meaning has been lost and perverted with this deluge of consumption and indulgence that was exemplified by the death of someone at a Walmart several years ago who was trampled by other patrons in this rush to purchase. However, little has been said or written about the true origins of this holiday that is predicated on a lie and actually had a genesis of mayhem and murder.

The first Thanksgiving was in 1620 when the Pilgrims, in what is now Groton, Conn., were supposed to be engaged in prayer and celebrating the Native Americans’ period of harvest, which had saved the Pilgrims from starvation during the winter of 1619–1620 when they landed on Plymouth Rock. The Native Americans fed them maize, potatoes and other types of agricultural crops. They were repaid by the Pilgrims when 700 Pequot men, women and children were murdered and burned alive by the Pilgrims and their harvest was destroyed.

This atrocity was replicated over and over by the Pilgrims and the Puritans in their treatment of Native Americans. Thanksgiving was defined by the “Churches of Manhattan” as a “celebration of victory over the heathen Indian savages.” These savage and barbaric acts continued for the next two centuries by the English, Dutch and their progeny, the Americans. It continued when President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving on two days, the first being the anniversary of the victory at Gettysburg in August 1863 and the second being the last Thursday of November.

The Algonquian native tribes who lived throughout New England and resided in what is now Larchmont and Mamaroneck have declared—like their fellow Native American tribes—Thanksgiving as “an official day of mourning.” That was declared in a proclamation in 1970.

Unfortunately, today and on Nov. 26, the indulgence of food, alcohol and the ongoing perversion of the meaning of this holiday continues. The celebration of Thanksgiving to Native Americans is like for those who are Jewish: Germans celebrating the Holocaust.

 

Clifford Jackson,

Larchmont

One eager participant in the pumpkin roll and broomstick race takes her turn on the obstacle course at the elementary school’s Halloween festival.

Daniel Warren has some Halloween fun

A demonstration by Jean Claude Lanchais, executive director of the Hive Living Room + Bar restaurant at The Renaissance Hotel.

CPW holds annual fundraising event

On Monday, Nov. 9, Cerebral Palsy of Westchester held its annual Taste of Westchester food and wine tasting event at The Renaissance Hotel in Harrison. The event showcased more than 20 of the area’s finest restaurants and chefs. The evening also included a cooking demonstration from Hive Living Room + Bar as well as a wine and food pairing by Aries Wines & Spirits. All of the proceeds benefit CPW’s mission to ensure that children and adults with disabilities receive needed services and enjoy activities regardless of the level of their abilities.

LETTER

Letter: Re: Latona’s open letter to library board of trustees

 

 

To the Editor,

Last week, you printed an open letter to the Mamaroneck library Board of Trustees that asked questions I would like to respond to on behalf of the Mamaroneck Public Library Board of Trustees.

First, the library has always welcomed community input and involvement. In fact, these very values are what drove each of our trustees to serve the library in the first place.

Our meeting on Oct. 28 followed the printed agenda that caused the board to go into executive session to discuss legal matters immediately after opening the meeting. As with all boards, these executive sessions are confidential and closed to the public. However, the board informed the audience that they were welcome to stay and that the board would soon be returning to continue and complete the rest of the meeting.

At that point, a member of the audience stood up and asked to be heard by the board before it moved into the scheduled executive session. This individual indicated that she was an employee and that she was selected by others present to make a statement to the board regarding unionization. A letter was also handed out to the trustees. The board welcomed the comments and provided the speaker with a full opportunity to be heard. When the designated speaker concluded her comments, she thanked the board, and no one else requested to speak. The board then continued into executive session as originally planned. Nobody else asked to speak to the board that night, and certainly, no person was refused an opportunity to speak.

Second, the letter you printed stated that the staff voted to join a union and asked if we would support their vote. In fact, even though a union has filed a Petition for Certification at the N.Y.S. Public Employment Relations Board, PERB, no union election has taken place. No union has yet been certified as a bargaining representative for any library employee.

The board’s response to the union petition has been simple and straightforward. The board supports the employees’ legal rights to organize and seek union representation; however, the board wants to make sure that each and every affected employee is afforded another fundamental right: the right to participate in a proper and fair election administered by PERB. Ensuring that each affected staff member has a full opportunity to understand all of the issues and to vote in a union election is an essential right that we are committed to upholding on our employees’ behalf. The board would, of course, respect the outcome of any such union election.

I have been a lifelong resident of Mamaroneck, and together with my wife, our three children and their families, we have a deep connection and appreciation for all that the library does.

As trustees, we are charged to act in the best interests of the entire Mamaroneck Public Library community. Please be assured that we continue to do so.

 

Len Tallevi,

President of the Mamaroneck Public Library Board of Trustees

LETTER

Letter: Gramatan Village and The Community Fund

 

 

To the Editor,

With the holiday season quickly approaching, our thoughts turn to family, friends and giving thanks for all we have. It is also the time when we consider the needs of others and how we can help.

The Community Fund of Bronxville, Eastchester and Tuckahoe has been meeting the community’s needs for more than 95 years. Gramatan Village is a grateful beneficiary of the fund’s support. Gramatan supports aging in the community with a network of volunteers, experts, professional referrals and peer connections that enable our members to remain in the community they love.

Nearly half of our services are provided to individuals of moderate means. Our experience has shown that these members often live alone and have little or no support or family members nearby. The Community Fund ensures that Gramatan Village helps our elderly neighbors access the services they need.

I encourage members of the community to contribute generously to The Community Fund’s Annual Appeal. Contributions can be made on The Community Fund website, thecommunityfund.org, or by phone at 337-8808.

 

Julie Dalton,

Executive Director of Gramatan Village, Bronxville

 

From left, Kiera, 13, Declan 7, Henry, 11, and Patrick, 10, present their final masterpieces on the window display of Candy Rox: a ghost and a minion from the recent 3-D animated film “Minions.”

Rye paints Purchase Street for Halloween

Violet Mallory, left, and Pauline Plummer attempt to scare the crowd at New Rochelle’s Hugh Doyle Senior Center during the Halloween Luncheon on the afternoon of Oct. 30.

Senior center enjoys Halloween festivities

On Friday, Oct. 30 members of the community met on the Hugh Doyle Senior Center for a Halloween Luncheon and parade. Seniors from New Rochelle took the opportunity to dress up in their best Halloween-themed costumes.

Mara Rupners

Column: The legend lives on: Dizzie Gillespie

 

 

By MARA RUPNERS
Musicians may pass away, in the physical sense, but they never really leave us. Their legacy lives on in the music they wrote, in their recordings, and in the musicians they played with, trained and inspired.

Such is the case with Dizzie Gillespie, who would have celebrated his 98th birthday on Oct. 21. At the age of 12, Gillespie, the youngest of nine children, taught himself how to play trombone and trumpet, and the rest, as they say, is history. He traveled the world, jammed with all the greats, made numerous recordings, and is remembered today as an elder statesman of jazz, one of the most influential jazz trumpet players of all time.

In 1977, Gillespie was playing impromptu gigs throughout the Caribbean with saxophonist Stan Getz, and landed in Cuba. In Havana, he met a local man, Arturo Sandoval, who offered to show him around the city. Later that night, Sandoval, a trumpet player himself who idolized Gillespie, managed to play for the jazzman—and blew him away.

So began a lifelong friendship and musical collaboration, a story of jazz, travel and musical innovation. Gillespie was key to helping Sandoval gain political asylum in 1990; to this day, Sandoval lives here in the U.S. He continues to tour, and has evolved into one of the world’s most acknowledged guardians of jazz trumpet and flugelhorn, as well as a renowned classical artist, pianist and composer. And when he takes the stage, you can be sure that the legendary Dizzie Gillespie is right there with him.

Be a part of their story. Arturo Sandoval will perform for one night only on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. at The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College. Tickets are $45, $50 and $60, and good seats are still available.

 

Mara Rupners is the director of marketing at The  Performing Arts Center.
The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, N.Y.
10577 Box Office: 251-6200 Hours: Tuesday-Friday, noon to 6 p.m. and on weekends
before performances Website: artscenter.org 

Forliano

Column: The controversial trial of Anne Hutchinson

A depiction of Anne Hutchinson on her way to trail.  Photo courtesy Richard Forliano

A depiction of Anne Hutchinson on her way to trail.
Photo courtesy Richard Forliano

With George Pietarinen,
author of “Anne Hutchinson,
A Puritan Woman of Courage.” 
This is the third in a series 

of articles on the Colonial
and Revolutionary History
of Eastchester.

 

While the Puritans left Europe to escape religious persecution, this did not lead to a belief in tolerance for others. The Puritans, like many true believers, felt that their way was the only way.

But soon, dissension and strife were threatening the unity necessary for the colony to survive. A protracted, bloody and tragic struggle against the Pequot Native American tribe created tensions between those who supported the war and those who did not. Ministers like Roger Williams and John Witherspoon who held views opposed to the ruling theocracy found themselves banished into the wilderness. Anne Hutchison had lived in Boston for only three years when she too ran afoul of the authorities.

Deputy Gov. Thomas Dooley tried to place sole blame on the strife that was dividing the colony on the actions and beliefs of Anne Hutchinson, saying, “Three years ago we were all in peace… Mrs. Hutchinson from the time she came has made a disturbance.”

In the late fall of 1637, Anne Hutchinson was brought to trial in a court presided over by Gov. John Winthrop and the most powerful ministers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The charges against Anne were serious. She had troubled the peace of the commonwealth and churches by holding meetings at her house. Moreover, she had counselled her followers not to participate in the struggle against the Pequot.

The trial began in November 1637 as winter was approaching. During the first days of the trial, this proud, brilliant and educated woman outmaneuvered the accusers who were attempting to prosecute her. She had learned theology and a command of scripture in England from her minister father, Francis Marbury, who had also been imprisoned for religious views that were similar to the very men who were prosecuting her. Anne cleverly avoided confessing to the charge leveled against her. She insisted that the ministers leveling accusations against her take an oath on the Bible to tell the truth. Effortlessly quoting scripture, she avoided the most serious charge of accusing ministers of advocating a covenant of works over a covenant of grace.

Acquittal seemed like the clear option when Anne made a very damaging statement to her accusers, saying, “You have no power over my body; neither can you do me any harm—for I am in the hands of the eternal Jehovah, my Saviour…I fear none but the great Jehovah, which hath foretold me of these things, and I do verily believe that he will deliver me out of our hands. Therefore take heed how you proceed against me—for I know that, for this you go about to do to me, God will ruin you and your posterity and this whole state.”

She claimed to have received direct revelations from God and was exempt from the mandates of the court, blasphemy to the Puritans of that time. The final source of all authority was the Bible. It was the function of the clergy to guide their followers in the paths of righteousness. Anne claimed that God spoke to her directly, which cast into doubt the need for clergy. In a sense, she had confessed to her guilt.

Why at a moment of triumph did Anne make such a colossal blunder? Did she simply crack under pressure, or was it a matter of not being able to speak the truth? Either way, she was doomed. Anne spent the next four months under house arrest, unable to see her children. In March 1638, weakened and sickly, Anne recanted some of her views following the advice of two ministers she respected. But in the end, the court not only banished Anne but cast her into eternal damnation by excommunicating her. In a long, six-day April snowstorm, Anne and her children made the arduous trip to join her husband in Providence, R.I.

What do prominent historians say about the legacy of Anne Hutchinson and her trial? Daniel Boorstein, one of America’s prominent 20th century historians, claimed that if the court had treated her differently, “they would have merited praise as precursors of modern liberalism, but they would not have founded a nation.”

Anne was saying that the minister and the church were no longer needed. Edmund Morgan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian who granted the unfairness of the trial, said, “Once Hutchinson proclaimed a belief in immediate revelation, it was quite impossible for her to remain part of the Puritan commonwealth.”

Eve LaPlante, a direct descendant of Anne Hutchinson and author of “American Jezebel,” a best-selling work of nonfiction in 2004, believes it might have been better for the judges to banish her without a trial.

“By carefully recording and saving her extensive testimony, the judges inadvertently gave her what few women of her time enjoyed: a lasting voice. The trial that led to her imprisonment lets her speak to us nearly four centuries later,” LaPlante said.

The divisions caused by the trial of Anne Hutchinson gave rise to the establishment of America’s first college. Hutchinson was the true midwife of Harvard. To paraphrase an article in an issue of Harvard Magazine published in 2002, the colony determined to provide for the education of a new generation of ministers and theologians who would secure New England’s peace from future seditious Mrs. Hutchinsons.

Hutchinson had taken on the Puritan theocracy and although she lost her trial, centuries later we can only admire her strength of conviction and courage. With the establishment of Harvard College, ministers received better training and the colony continued to survive.

 

Please contact us at historian@eastchester-historicalsociety.org about
any comments or questions you might have about this column.

 
LETTER

Letter: Seniors need to be part of the discussion

 

 

To the Editor,

In response to the previously-published letter from the Democratic Rye City Council candidates called “Get senior citizens involved and heard,” we of the Rye Seniors Advocacy Committee, RSAC, could not agree more. The health of any community is determined in large part by how well our most vulnerable members are valued and treated.

Schools have expanded and extra playing fields have been created for Rye’s children over the years, yet Rye’s seniors were denied a year-round meeting room at the expanded Rye Rec Damiano Center by a previous city council in a short-sighted move. Rye’s seniors deserve better. They are you, our parents and grandparents. We need to provide a more holistic atmosphere to embrace Rye’s community of children, families and our aging population.

RSAC was formed back in 2000 by former Mayor Steve Otis to address senior issues and is ably chaired by Joe Murphy, a licensed clinical social worker. Our committee’s focus is on informational and access issues affecting Rye seniors. Our late beloved Sis D’Angelo, a dedicated RSAC member for many years, asked me to serve on RSAC earlier this year. We applaud the efforts of Tom Saunders and the SPRYE organization offering seniors hands-on volunteer support to stay in their homes.

Currently, RSAC is working to gain increased senior access at Rye Golf Club and are excited to be partnering with Chris Shoemaker and the Rye Free Reading Room Board in support of Sunday hours at the library. Many seniors depend on the Rye library for an air conditioned space in the summer and a heated space in the winter, and social and informational programs. We urge all Rye residents to support Sunday hours at the Rye library—which benefit us all—at the upcoming city council meetings.

Our next RSAC meeting is on Nov, 19 at 8:30 a.m. at Rye City Hall in the mayor’s conference room. Our meetings are always held on thethird Thursday of the month. Mayor Joe Sack and Sen. George Latimer have attended our meetings in recent months. All are welcome.

 

Jane O’Sullivan,

Rye