To the Editor,
It’s so hard to write a tribute to a man I’ve known and loved since I was 5 years old when, at times, he became an extended member of the Whelan family. With his curly bright red hair, freckled face, sparkling eyes, and yes at times, devilish glances, it was always a delight to have him in the house. Thinking back on those days in the 1950’s, I realize that, with only the change of the color of his hair, he was the same “kid” to me whenever we got together over the past number of years – a brother, a friend and confidant.
Billy lived his faith, served his country in the military and protected his neighbors as a firefighter. But most of all he was a devoted husband, loving father and grandfather, brother and dear friend to countless others.
His duties as co-producer and host on Charlestown’s own TV show on BNN-TV Charlestwon Live showcased his ability to delight and enlighten his audiences. His programs were always well received, highly viewed and remembered warmly.
Billy’s contributions toward the well-being of all who called Charlestown home are for the most part unknown, but the man he was makes him a legend. May he rest in peace.
Thank You Old Schoolboys
To the Editor,
I would like to thank the Charlestown Old Schoolboys Association for awarding me the Edward Mahan Scholarship this year. This generous scholarship will help tremendously as I enter my senior year at the University of New Hampshire.
Thank you very much.
To the Editor,
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for awarding me the 2020 Joseph and Mary Gill Old Schoolboys Scholarship. As I enter my junior year at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, studying Marine Transportation, I want to thank you for supporting not only myself, but the Charlestown Community as a whole.
Again, thank you very much for rewarding me with a scholarship.
To the Editor,
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Old Charlestown Schoolboy’s Association for awarding me one of their college scholarships. Their continued dedication and support of the Charlestown community demonstrates what it means to be a Townie. This scholarship is greatly appreciated and will help in my pursuit of a degree in criminal justice. Thank you again.
Dear Mr. Fitzpatrick and Quinn Scholarship Trustees,
I am deeply honored to be the 2020 Quinn Scholarship recipient and am very appreciative of your support in my education. The generous amount of the scholarship will most certainly ease the financial burden of attending BSU in the fall.
It has been difficult these past couple of months as a high school senior and to not have all the pomp and circumstance of graduation exercises to look forward to, missing prom, awards night, my senior softball season, as well as a graduation trip to the Bahamas. With so much time on my hands in quarantine, it has been both a blessing and a curse. I’ve had plenty of time between studies to commiserate with my fellow classmates over our current circumstances but I’ve also had time to reflect on who I am and who I want to be on the next leg of my journey. I’ve been so fortunate to have grown up in this town. There are so many great people to admire who continue to give back to this community and make Charlestown the best place on earth. My goal is to do the same.
It’s amazing that almost fifty-one years after Lt. Quinn’s ultimate sacrifice for his Country, he is still giving back to his town with the help of The Lt. Michael P. Quinn Scholarship Trustees and their devotion to keeping his mission alive. I cannot be more proud to earn the title of a Quinn Scholar.
On behalf of myself and my family I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I look forward to meeting you in person.
Madison J. Rodriguez
On the Killing of George Floyd
To the Editor,
In Boston we are physically miles away from Minneapolis. But no American city, and, really, no American citizen is separated from what we have seen this week in vivid detail. The killing of George Floyd has catalyzed reactions across the nation. It has done so because it is not a singular, isolated event.
The killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis this week was morally wrong and must be legally prosecuted. To say this is to state the obvious, but it is worth saying because there is a powerful link between the moral and legal dimensions of the killing which has now sparked protest across the country. As a nation we entrust power, even lethal force, to our government and its representatives in law enforcement. But there are both moral and legal limits to how force can be used. If officers of the law use force in the way millions of us saw in an eight-minute video, then trust in the government, in the law and in the legal system is deeply wounded. That is why the legal prosecution, following constitutional standards, must proceed with care and urgency. The police failed the moral test in George Floyd’s case; now the court will be tested. What is morally wrong must be pursued vigorously by legal standards. That much is lucidly clear.
There is a history here, one documented over decades in print, and now in social media and on television in our homes. The history is clear and tragic: George Floyd was an African American man who died at the hands of a police officer. This is a narrative which has been repeated often and in multiple locations across the country. The history is well documented, but it is known experientially in the African American community in a way that is not widely shared.
The wider community is aware of some cases, but the African American community lives with the experience and memories of these deaths in an entirely different way. It is a daily reality – one they must speak to their children about and live themselves with some fear.
This gap between different communities in what is one country, one civic community, is the broader reality which this week’s events force any of us to reflect upon.
George Floyd’s death occurred in the midst of the most catastrophic healthcare crisis in our history. We are all threatened by it. But the African American community has been impacted in numbers far beyond its size in the country. This fact in turn is related to and repeated in other issues of healthcare, employment and housing.
Responding to George Floyd’s death reaches beyond one person to some of what it reminds us about in these larger realities of our nation. In responding to his death, some have used violence. I can understand the frustration but I must strongly oppose those methods. For any of us, the singular voice of Dr. Martin Luther King still rings true: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Cardinal Sean O’Malley
We Feel Frustrated and Even Helpless
To the Editor,
Today, we reflect on the tragic death of George Floyd, the racist incident in Central Park, the shooting of a Black man while jogging in Georgia – as well as many others. We are saddened and angry about these events that once again laid bare the ugly racism that still exists in this country with particularly deadly consequences for Black boys and men (not that Black women are exempt).
While we are horrified, we are unfortunately not surprised. These are not isolated incidents but a chronic pattern of racial hate crimes that have persisted for hundreds of years. In this difficult time in which communities of color are disproportionately affected by the devastating health, social and economic consequences of COVID-19, this seems too much for these communities – and all of us – to bear.
We feel frustrated and even helpless as we struggle with what to do to fundamentally change the racist systems, structures and culture that contribute to tragedies like George Floyd and so many others. But, we know that as a community, at the very least we must recognize, discuss and grieve the heinous incidences of the past month.
At a time like this, and the many others that will come, we must reaffirm the importance of our mission of “improving the health and well-being of the diverse communities we serve.” CCHI strives to model what it means to value all lives. For those disproportionately affected by this pandemic and in memory of those that have lost their lives, we rededicate ourselves to partner with others to root out racism and journey towards equity.
Vice President for Community Health