Welcome signs gratifying

It’s gratifying to see so many Rogue Valley businesses displaying the “All are Welcome Here” posters in their windows.

I intend to thank them and patronize them. They comfort me. I’m hoping that these businesses’ public statements of respect and support provide some comfort to all who have at any time felt outside some inner circle.

Amy Lepon

Ashland

Remembering Lazarus

I write in response to Julia Sommer’s Dec. 20 guest opinion, "Do we still belong?" Julia’s brilliant letter spoke to the deepest recesses of my soul, as do the erudite writings of Chris Honoré.

Julia addressed the issue of belonging and displacement in a country gone awry with Trump, his cronies, their ideologies and collective unconscious.

Trump is battling the courts to uphold his illegal, draconian ban on immigrants. It has made me think about the words of poet and refugee advocate Emma Lazarus, a descendant of Jewish immigrants. Lazarus’ sonnet, The New Colossus, inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, was written as a tribute to the immigrants on Ellis Island with whom she worked.

In 1949, Irving Berlin, an immigrant from Russia, set the words to music as a finale to the Broadway show, Miss Liberty. I had not heard this simple yet moving piece since singing it in high school. I found renditions of it on You Tube, including a lush performance by the Portland Choir and Orchestra. To my delight, I also found that my idol, Leontyne Price, once recorded the piece. I was unable to listen without weeping.

I began to wonder how Trump might react if the Irving Berlin piece was performed in his presence. Silly me, I’m not sure that the Brahms Requiem, the only requiem written for the living, would move him. Trump appears to be devoid of empathy, sensitivity and attention span. He also appears to suffer from mental illness, manifested in extreme personality disorders.

Lazarus’ sonnet says, “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.” We can only hope that the courts will continue to stop Trump’s efforts to implement the ban.

In Julia Sommer’s words, “Hopefully love does, eventually, trump hate.”

Margaret Warren

Ashland

Thanks for welcome signs

As chair of the Sanctuary and Immigration Coalition of Southern Oregon, I wish to thank the businesses and establishments that are displaying “All Are Welcome Here” signs in their windows. It is gratifying that so many establishments are showing a public commitment to honoring and doing business with all people.

The Sanctuary Coalition is a branch of UniteOregon. We of the Coalition feel a deep concern over the increased incidence of hate-based harassments that are occurring locally. One of the ways we are countering this is by making these signs available for posting.

To obtain one for your business or establishment please call 541-772-4029.

Jennifer Schloming, chair, Sanctuary and Immigration Coalition of Southern Oregon

Medford