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Rev. Andrea Ayvazian: The black history pigeonhole

Friday, February 12, 2016

I have always had a somewhat ambivalent relationship with Black History Month. While I believe deeply in the need to honor and celebrate the black experience in America, I have had questions about why this is supposed to occur during the shortest month of the year. The black experience in the United States — including enslavement, resistance, struggle, courage, discrimination, perseverance, art, music, literature, faith, athleticism, leadership, pain and triumph — cannot be reduced to 28 days per year and then neatly tucked away. I have also felt that Black History Month was embedded in white history year and that February’s Black History Month gave schools, colleges, and universities license to go back to the …

John Paradis: Taking control of our last years

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Last fall, a friend recommended the book, “Being Mortal,” by noted Boston surgeon Atul Gawande. Looking at how Americans approach aging and end of life, Gawande’s book denounces the often extreme and frequently unnecessary life-sustaining measures that the medical world often takes: breathing machines, feeding tubes and an array of painful and invasive treatments. He proposes a significant overhaul of our approach to …

Jim Palermo: Lifting the veil on charter school statistics in Massachusetts

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The charter school debate has taken on new urgency now that Gov. Charlie Baker prioritized lifting the cap on charter schools during his State of the Commonwealth Address. He bolstered his endorsement by stating that Brooke Charter Schools in Roslindale, Mattapan and East Boston had higher scores on the English and Math PARRC Exams than those in the eight traditional public school districts …

Marian Kelner: Trickle-down at the bird feeder and other politically squirrely behavior

Monday, January 25, 2016

For many winters I have spent considerable mental energy trying to figure out — as tens of millions are probably doing at this very moment — how to keep squirrels from dominating the bird feeder. Day after day, I have watched from the sidelines as dominant squirrels arrived …

Adriana Piantedosi: Looking for racial justice, not apologies

Monday, January 25, 2016

Friday before last, I drove through downtown Northampton and noticed that City Hall has put up a “Black Lives Matter” banner. And then I looked down and saw this older white guy holding up a sign that said “All Lives Matter and I won’t Apologize.” He was standing …

Nancy Follansbee, Judith Houle & Craig Jurgensen: Leave no child’s school district behind

Thursday, January 21, 2016

We are writing in regard to the Dec. 18 commentary by Marc Kenen, executive director of the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association. Kenen was responding to an opinion piece published Dec. 9 from John Provost, the Northampton superintendent, and William Diehl, executive director of the Collaborative for Educational …

Editorial: Skating on region’s ponds is a hazardous business

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A University of Massachusetts student is lucky to have crawled away from disaster while skating on Puffers Pond in Amherst this week. The unidentified man fell into frigid water after a hockey game with friends when he strayed onto thin ice. Venturing out onto pond ice in New …

Pat Hynes: Memories of my Muslim friends

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Donald Trump’s odious, ugly American pledge to prohibit Muslims from entering our country stirred long-cherished memories of my Muslim and Arab students and friends. I am looking at two small cream-colored pillows nestled into corners of our living room chairs. They are embossed with arabesque designs on their …

John Stifler: Pride and prejudice are interwoven in Confederate flag

Thursday, January 21, 2016

About that flag: Aside from some Civil War re-enactors, I wonder whether any other Gazette reader besides me has spent a week in a cluster of tents on which my friends and I had painted large Confederate flags. …

Adam Fisher: Of candidates and fish tales

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

On Jan. 4, the Gazette ran a front-page picture of presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders as he made a weekend appearance at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The candidate was shown surrounded by galvanized, sign-waving supporters whose placards read, …

Sara Weinberger: Time to get tough on mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses

Sunday, January 17, 2016

In 1999, Sharanda Jones was charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and six counts of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, and aiding and abetting. A jury found her guilty of only the conspiracy count. The two people arrested with Sharanda have been …

Rev. Andrea Ayvazian: We must be better than this

Friday, January 15, 2016

With the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday approaching, I have been thinking about what the Rev. Dr. King would have to say about today’s Black Lives Matter movement. Dr. King fought for the civil rights and civil liberties of black lives and was keenly aware of white privilege. …

Cynthia Loring MacBain: What a compassionate nation should ask its political candidates

Friday, January 15, 2016

The abortion issue entered this presidential race with a video of Planned Parenthood executives discussing payment for aborted fetus tissue. Since the facts emerged that the video was doctored, the furor has died down and media interest has waned, but the calls for ending funding for Planned Parenthood …