Friday, April 22, 2005

Thank you, City Council

The Council’s vote against endorsing our work doesn’t change its legitimacy since we have always been completely independent of any governmental body or other group. But that doesn’t mean we’re ignoring it. We’re grateful for it.

“We deeply appreciate the vote and accept the enormous challenge it represents,” Bob Peters, Commission co-chair, said in our news release. “We are challenged to more effectively communicate to the City Council and the community about the work we are doing and the spirit in which we are doing it, and to produce an end result that will speak for itself.”

We assure the community, in response to concerns raised by Councilwoman Florence Gatten, that answers about our finances are readily available from Commissioners and staff, and from the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, which manages our funds.

Also, be assured that our research team is completely impartial and eager to hear from as many people as possible, and from all points of view. We welcome all potential statement-makers (we’ve had more than 50 come to us so far) with gratitude and respect.

We know our belief that this democratically created process is sound and has great promise already is shared by at least 5,300 local people, including three of our City Councilwomen. How can we keep adding to those numbers?

Joya Wesley
(GTRC communications director)


Blogger Billy Jones said...

So how many of the 50 people you've interviewed thus far were actually involved in the November 3rd, 1979 shootout as participants, police, witnesses, or those who were shooters or shot at?

7:56 PM  
Blogger Gate Keeper said...

You don't need an endorsement to study history. Agenda's need endorsements, not historians.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Billy Jones said...

In a previous post you provided a link to a website where we can submit our statements but the website is not fully functionional so I posted my statements here. Feel free to use any part you like.

11:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Billy has been making this point for several weeks and it deserves an answer from the T&R Commission.

Your Thank You note above to the City Council is beyond comprehension. Now everyone can question the sanity of your whole organization.

By receiving a clear rejection of your efforts by the City Council you did lose significant legitimacy in the eyes of many in the community. It appears that you can easily ignore the vote but this decision by our elected representatives is not a positive turn of events, however, you want to spin it. You need, more than ever, to find new ways to create support in the community. I thought your T&R process was attempting to bring healing and reconciliation to our community not greater divisions

1:18 AM  
Anonymous John D. Young said...

The City Council vote on Tuesday did not help the process of Truth & Reconciliation in our community. Many of us have worked hard to try to bring more people into the process. Tuesday's vote drove people from the process. I cannot see anyway to put a positive spin on Tuesday's actions. It just shows once again that most decisions made in our community around the events of Nov. 3rd turn out to be bad decisions. It is as though we cannot move forward as a community in any positive way when Nov. 3rd is part of the discussion.

Somehow we must as a community dig deeper and draw upon a different framework if the work of T&R is going to have any real impact. Without a much greater spiritual foundation that attempts to honor the process with bridge building, healing and compassion I think we will continue with the seemingly endless bad decisions involving Nov.3rd.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Joya said...

This is an experiment in “restorative justice,” a new concept which I’m afraid is itself beyond comprehension for Billy, some of our anonymous posters and many others. It’s an alternative to our nation’s old school “law and order,” which requires retribution and already had its chance to bring healing around Nov. 3 and move us past the cycle of hatred and violence. I think the outraged tone so prevalent among so many bloggers is proof that it failed.

The seven Commissioners, chosen for their diversity, integrity and level heads, are volunteering to examine all facts we can find with a spirit of forgiveness and with an eye toward healing. Nobody’s profiting from the work, but we all trust that it will pay off by making Greensboro a better place.

Again, we are not ignoring the City Council and its action did not change the legitimacy of our work, which is built on a broadly democratic structure that never required the Council’s endorsement. We wouldn’t have chosen last week’s result, but it provided us with a clearer sense of the work of educating the community that we’ve got ahead of us and for that, we’re thankful.

We’re thankful to all who contribute to this process, even if just by posting comments here.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Billy Jones said...

You're right, Joya. It is beyond me why anyone would endorse any so called, "justice," that will do nothing more than allow MURDERS to continue to walk the streets as free men. I assume we'll start applying "restorative justice" to all criminals in the near future.

6:19 PM  
Anonymous John Young said...


Your suggestion that the Department of Justice, FBI and/or the Greensboro Police Department reopen this case as other recent cases in Georgia and elsewhere does not appear to be a realistic possibility.
ATF, FBI and Greensboro police informants were actively involved with the outcome of Nov. 3rd. These groups have no desire to reopen this case. The civil trial, in 1985, already found Greensboro Police Commander Paul Spoon, Detective Jerry Cooper, informant Eddie Dawson liable for the wrongful death of Mike Nathan.

Elizabeth Wheaton in her excellent book "Code Name GREENKIL The 1979 Greensboro Killings", University of Georgia Press, 1987 points out "GREENKIL is the haunting codename given one of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's most extensive criminal civil rights investigations in the agency's history: The GREENsboro KILlings."

Somewhere hundred of boxes of FBI files exist about Nov. 3rd. It is hard to imagine that possibly only the JFK and several other FBI investigations have been more intensive that Nov. 3rd.

I am not one who adheres to any conspiracy theory about Nov. 3rd but the two informants Eddie Dawson and Bernard Butkovich create unusual problems for all the law enforcement groups involved. In this ultra conservative climate there is no way that the Department of Justice would engage in a reopening of this case. It is interesting that many on the Greensboro Human Relations Commission, several on the Greensboro City Council and former Congressman Richardson Preyer all asked the Department of Justice, in 1979, to review the performance of the law enforcement agencies involved on Nov. 3rd -- their failure to provide proper security remains a real mystery. Also, many of us think that the current Truth & Reconciliation process is a far better method in "understanding" Nov. 3rd than a forth trial.

John Young

1:39 PM  
Blogger Billy Jones said...

So John,
I guess the answer is, we just give up any hope of ever having law and order in Greensboro choosing instead to lie down and let criminals-- including those criminals in government-- get away with murder?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Joya said...

We'll have to agree to disagree, Billy, but thanks again for your input. In answer to your other question, Emily reports that the number of our intended statement-givers who were at the scene on Nov. 3 is 36 out of a number that's now up to 70.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Billy Jones said...

So the number is now 70 instead of 50, but you still haven't answered my questions, Joya

Is the job of communications director to present facts to the public or simply whitewash a dog and pony show?

9:21 PM  
Blogger Billy Jones said...

Correction: You did answer my first question. Thank you.

12:06 AM  
Anonymous Joya said...

Thank you for that acknowledgement and please accept my apology if it sounded like I was trying to ridicule you. That was not my intent. I take that golden rule thing pretty seriously.

In answer to your last question, my job description doesn’t say anything about blogging and taking blog abuse, but Internet communications does fall under the umbrella of what I’m sure you understand is a communications director job. Working on our delayed Web site also falls into the 20 hours a week I spend at this, so I’ll also apologize for it not being completely up yet, and promise that it will be soon. We all are doing the best we can with the limited time and resources we have.

As I’m sure you don’t enjoy feeling ridiculed, I feel hurt and wearied by your painting me as a liar and trickster secretly trying somehow to make money from books to which I have no connection.

Rather than trying to answer your whole, magically mushrooming list of other questions (which all will be answered for everyone as the research progresses), I’ll wrap this up by assuring you again that your voice is being heard (painfully LOUDLY) and your perspectives will be a part of our final report.

I believe that people of all perspectives will continue understanding that this Commission is independent and impartial (NOT “managed or implemented by those who instigated or committed the crime”), then come forward so our report won’t be one-sided.

I also believe that our Commissioners and Greensboro residents are creative and intelligent enough to come up with some ideas for justice around this polarizing event that includes forgiveness and goes beyond the old “lock ’em up” or “string ’em up” paradigm.

This Commission exists and is committed to finishing the work it’s Mandated to do. People who don’t agree with that work can attack it and try to undermine it, or they can do what they criticize the CWP members for not doing the first go-round in court – participate, preferably while following the blog guidelines we hope will make this a more productive and more bearable experience for everyone.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so typical of the elected officials of the powers that be. What harm would it have been to give a vote of confidence to this process. The fact of the matter is the contituencies of the majority of council members would have great difficulty with an affirmative vote. Greensboro is not the link between the old south and the progressive north. Just more of the same issue of placeness. Stay in you place, do not rock the proverbial boat. Such power in the hands of few is very dangerous for the economic, social and racial growth of Greensboro. Although it is not impediment to the truth and reconcilliation process it does certainly provide a barometric pulse of where realations continue to recide in this very close community.

12:41 AM  

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