- Written by Readers
COLUMBIA, Mo 9/10/13 (Letters) -- Our story about Lee Henson's advice that Columbia look to economic integration as a way to combat crime brought responses from community leaders across many walks of life.
All generally agreed with Henson, who earlier this year sent the Columbia Heart Beat a treasure trove of articles on the topic. Henson, who directed the University of Missouri Chancellor's Initiative on Accessibility and ADA education, passed away late last month. A former civil rights attorney, he believed economic segregation was the biggest threat to public safety, in Columbia and elsewhere.
Like Lee so eloquently posited, as long as there is economic segregation, whether it be in white, yellow, red, brown, blue, green, rainbow or black communities, the relentless search for less crime will find only a mirage.
While it is easy for some to cry out "race card", crime follows economic segregation, with its under-privilege, social deprivation, lack of human dignity, and lack of the justice that accompanies satisfaction of basic human needs.
Mayor Bob McDavid is one of my most respected physician colleagues. I hope our CoMo Crime task force -- assembled through his noble intentions -- will meaningfully address the truism that crime follows economic segregation, and steer away from the distraction of race or similar "cards" some opportunists like to ballyhoo about.
Meanwhile, I am a non-English speaker transplanted to the USA from Asia, well later in life. As a member of the Columbia Apartment Association, I have come to much respect your wonderful Columbia Heart Beat.
Damascene Kurukulasuriya, MD, FACP, CMD
I agree with you, John Roman, Richard Florida, and Lee Henson on these issues, and I wanted to express my appreciation for this story.
Basically, I said that while more police may appear to be a short term solution to crime, the bigger more permanent solutions come from different kinds of investments in our community, and are more related to human capital than economic capital.
Central Missouri Community Action
Great job! Very good writing. I had some great conversations with Lee. He was very informative and nice to me.
When there are no pockets of ghettos in CoMo, we have made progress. I am pretty sure I said that to the Diversity Breakfast crowd in 2010.
Blessings to your life, your movement and your legacy.
Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence
Residential economic integration also materially reduces disparities in academic achievement, so it ought to be a core priority of city planning and school location.
William E. Robertson
I found your comments about integration of place -- with different economic levels intermingled -- interesting.
I would hope that the Mayor's task force will do some work with longtime educators in Columbia, who often have a good grasp of the issues involved through their many years dealing with students and families.