Letters to the Editor
As we slowly stick our toes out the front door, beyond walking the dog or checking the mailbox, I write to give a shout out that Rocket Reuse on Park Street reopened last week. Previously, to make rent, they have been posting photos of their merchandise on their Facebook page for people to purchase and then the owners did a no-contact delivery. Having local access to new-to-me books, while the libraries have been closed, has been a lifeline for my house.
Rocket Reuse reopened with several safety guidelines in place. We went and I highly recommend going. It felt therapeutic and nostalgic at the same time. Being there gave my daughter a chance to look at graphic novels, manga and young adult books in person. I have heard from friends their reluctance to go to Park Street now that the street lines have been repainted (thinking they won’t be able to park) but we easily got a spot in the lot behind Rocket Reuse and the parking garage was basically empty as the movie theater sadly remains closed.
Don’t let parking deter you from supporting our merchants on Park Street. They are continuing to post photos of books, music, DVDs, puzzles and games for sale on their Facebook page for deliveries, if you are reluctant to venture out. I do understand. If you need a brief change of scenery and are bored binge watching tv shows, visit Rocket Reuse. You’ll be helping a family-owned business stay in business.
Editor’s note: Because of a typographical error in last week’s edition, the Alameda Sun is republishing Edward Kofman’s letter.
When I was a kid, my very smart mother would say to me when I was bellyaching about something, “So you know what you don’t like, but then tell me what you want.” This litany comes to mind when I hear very critical comments about Measure A. Supposing Measure A is voted out; then the question is how does the opposition plan, specifically, to achieve what they want?
Do you honestly believe by wiping Measure A off the books rosy desires will come to fruition? In detail, tell us how.
A number of residents on Calhoun Street, including us, want the street renamed not simply because John C. Calhoun “owned slaves” as Dennis Evanosky states (“Some Demand Alameda Rename Calhoun Street,” July 9), which some could dismiss as him being a product of his time), but because he was a white supremacist who promoted personal and systemic racism, kept abolition petitions tabled and staunchly championed chattel slavery.
In a Feb. 6, 1837 speech to the Senate, Calhoun compared abolition to an infection and said, “Abolition and the Union cannot co-exist … We of the South will not, cannot surrender our institutions.”
The movement to remove his name from institutions and places is not new, it has been going on for years. This is not about erasing history. Neither history nor the systems that Calhoun and his ilk created can be erased by removing street names or by toppling statutes.
Giving Alameda founders William Worthington Chipman and Gideon Aughinbaugh the benefit of the doubt, perhaps they were unaware of Calhoun’s beliefs and his future damaging policies. And maybe they themselves would have chosen a different name in retrospect. However, it is up to us today to decide what we celebrate in the spaces we influence and occupy. Renaming streets is our chance to add to history and in no way subtracts from it.
Finally, this is a very personal matter for our household. Not only are we residents of Calhoun Street, but we are a multiracial family, with three of us being the direct descendants of enslaved people. And we are, quite frankly, tired of seeing this man’s name every time we return home, have to give out our address, or open our mail. It’s a constant slap in the face. We encourage you to learn more about this country’s historical and continued mistreatment of Black and indigenous peoples, and the erasure of our histories. And then let’s work together to change how this country moves forward.