2017 Monthly Winners
Dr. Phil Wright
“Rail travel part of national strategy”
“Threatened by protest? Mission accomplished”
“Media are public's key to keeping Trump honest”
“Federal arts cuts risk Saint Francis' Jesters”
“Parental leave policy makes economic sense”
Gordon E. Walter
“True religious freedom must be all-inclusive”
“One way or another, we all pay for the uninsured”
“Replacing North Side mascot was an act of courage, honor”
Rev. Kimberly Koczan
“Wake-up call on climate”
James S. Hendon
“Protest keeps US vital”
“Gerrymandered seek fair representation”
“Southwest hamstrung by train-crossing tie-ups”
In recognition of readers who write letters to the editor, The Journal Gazette editorial board each month selects the most effective letter and honors its writer with the Golden Pen Award. Since the program started in 1983, The Journal Gazette has recognized letter writers whose topics ranged from local to international concerns.
2017 Letter of the Year
Emily Hollenberg has been selected as The Journal Gazette's 2017 Letter of the Year winner. In the judgment of the editors, she had the most effective letter to the editor in 2017.
Hollenberg, 26, is registrar at Memorial Park Middle School and a coach with the Fort Wayne Swim Team. A graduate of Northrop High School, she is engaged to be married this year.
Hollenberg said she was inspired to write while visiting her mother, who pointed out the letter that sparked Hollenberg's response.
“(Women) need our voices to be heard,” she said. “We've been dismissed so much; it's our way of saying we're here and we will not be dismissed.”
Noting the year just ended, Hollenberg added: “It's important not just for women, but protesting to make people aware of many other issues, like the NFL situation.”
The Golden Pen Award was established to express our appreciation for the contributions our letter writers make to the editorial page.
Threatened by protest?
In response to “Ladies don't protest as Madonna did (David McKeeman Sr., Feb. 5)”:
On Jan. 21, 3.3 million women – and men – gathered in the world's largest protest. Marches were spread across nearly 500 cities in the United States and all seven continents. Besides the staggering number who came out to support women's and minority rights, there was one more key fact. There was not a single arrest, nor was there a single instance of destruction of property. That makes the world's largest march the world's most peaceful march. So when I read that this gathering of “radicalized” people is an embarrassment to my gender, I feel I'm missing something.
What is an embarrassment to me is that one in four women will be raped in their lifetime, and that men still make more than women more than 40 years after the Equal Pay Act. (We must also factor in race; white women make more than black men currently.) It is an embarrassment that our country has fewer women in government than any other First World country. It is an embarrassment that women are written out of history. But the word I'm looking for is not “embarrassment.” The word I want to use is “outrage.” And what did 3.3 million “radicalized” people do with centuries of outrage? They protested peacefully.
To create change, we cannot be silent and stand by. When women wanted the right to vote, we were loud. It is nice to believe that we live in a world where if we simply ask, we will be granted rights, but that is not the world men have created. When you say that we need to conduct ourselves as ladies when we protest, what you really say is: Please protest in a way that keeps me comfortable. You are policing us as men have policed us for centuries, and we are done with it.
So it really is remarkable how peaceful the protest was, considering all that we protested for. In fact, our protest was not threatening. We came together in force to get our point across – that we are women, that we are here to stay, and that we will be heard and not written off. What Madonna said was threatening. I do not agree with everything she said, but her overall message was clear: Women are here, we are not leaving and we will not stand idly by. Protests should be peaceful, but they should also be threatening. Protests serve as a reminder that we will not stand for what is being done to us. I'm glad Madonna made you uncomfortable because in this equation, as a man, you have all the power. We are not taking your power away. We are getting the power we always should have had. And to you, that is quite threatening.
It should be.
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