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.
"Strong language vs. profanity"
"Students, act on guns"
"Let's maintain momentum"
"Exchange during stop thought-provoking"
"A call for sanity"
"Revival of monarchs is up to all of us"
"Fireworks detonation unneighborly pastime"
"Southeast-side concerns deserve thoughtful reply"
"Kidney donor is family's hero"
"Heroines, but no heroes, in Kavanaugh process"
"Hurdles for women pursuing a Real ID"
"Transgender woman just wants equal rights"
Elizabeth Evans has been selected as The Journal Gazette's 2018 Letter of the Year winner. In the judgment of the editors, she had the most effective letter to the editor in 2018.
Evans was born and raised in New Jersey; she moved to Fort Wayne with her family more than 15 years ago. She earned a bachelor's degree in social work from the University of Saint Francis and has worked for the past five years with a local social service agency.
Evans and her husband are the parents of two young children. She said she has a passion for family, music, learning, culture, advocacy and social justice, inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.'s words: “It is hardly a moral act to encourage others patiently to accept injustice which he himself does not endure.”
The inspiration for her April 29 letter, Evans said, came from morals, beliefs and intellectual ideas long-held but reinforced by the empathy of experience. Other reasons she cites for writing include a “better future for my children. For justice. For peace. For understanding. For meloncholy turned to harmony. To be a voice in the midst of turmoil.”
“My letter was not meant to be about me, but to be about the 'we' and the greater cause,” she said. “This scenario happens all too often, and I felt compelled to use my writing as a vehicle to share the experience. ... Many times, individuals have no idea, don't think about or under-consider the intricacies of history and the deeply ingrained attitudes and implications that are a result of this history.”
She adds: “This experience triggered a wave of emotions for me – and was sobering in a lot of ways. I believe in trying to see 'the glass half full' and writing was an outlet for me to express my feelings and share my perspective in a healthy way.”
The Golden Pen Award was established to express our appreciation for the contributions our letter writers make to the editorial page.
Exchange during stop thought-provoking
Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
My 30-something husband was recently pulled over for speeding - straightforward enough. After providing the compulsory items to the officer and while waiting for his citation, he gave me a call to let me know he would be late for dinner. A short while later, the officer again came to the window to inform my husband that (in addition to the second trooper who pulled up), a K-9 unit would be arriving momentarily to perform a vehicle search for narcotics.
Feel like you're missing something? Let me rephrase.
My African-American 30-something husband was recently pulled over for speeding. Upon rolling down his tinted window to provide the necessary documentation to the officer, it was determined that he smelled like Axe – and, despite the lack of criminal history and the many reasons one might wear fragrance, Axe body spray equals probable cause.
A frisk and a search later he was on his way, speeding citation in hand.
But yet, on the side of the highway that day, doors of his manicured vehicle open, K-9 assiduously performing the assigned task, one of the two officers standing beside him had asked, “Why are you acting nervous?” To which he replied, “It's just with everything going on these days ...”
In all reality, my husband could have been acting a lot of ways – and he kept his cool.
Upon conclusion of the interaction, he shook hands and reported an understanding of what had happened – you're just doing your job.
However, after our earlier conversation ended, his wireless headset remained on. Whether purposeful or not, this connection provided assurance, assurance that if this man – a son, husband and father of two – didn't come home for dinner (at all or ever again) – we would know why. This is my statistically justifiable fear, and reality. In 2018.
If profiling is a part of your job, then it's a part of mine, too. Let's all look out for each other, shall we?
Write a letter to the editor in 2019
Letter to the editor
The Journal Gazette
600 W. Main St.
Fort Wayne, IN 46802