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Takes exception to writers, newspaper


I was taught that if you let a man talk long enough, he will tell you more than he intended for you to know. The two short articles, A good board, keep it and An attitude on religion, found in the opinion section of The Farmville Herald, Oct. 27 edition, can be best characterized as misogynistic, ludicrous and tone-deaf. I’m disappointed in both the writers, Admiral Picotte and Pastor Robelen, and in The Farmville Herald for publishing these pieces.

Admiral Picotte, I appreciate your service to this country and your continued attempt to serve in your advisory capacity to the current White House. However, your first sentence, specifically the phrase “The Prince Edward County board of supervisors is composed of a group of serious men…” is a blatant slap in the face to two phenomenal women who serve on the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors. While women make up 25 percent of the board of supervisors, they make up 100 percent of certified supervisors. Electoral politics has arguably been the greatest barometer of progress in Prince Edward County. Your column insinuates that these women have not played integral roles in Prince Edward County government and that’s simply not true. One of those women is my mother, Pattie Cooper-Jones, and the other is my former principal, Dr. Odessa Pride. I, too, endorse Dr. Calvin Gray for supervisor, but I take exception to you minimizing the role of women in Prince Edward County.

Pastor Robelen, at least you waited until the second sentence to disrespect members of this community. The local Muslim mosque was vandalized twice within a month. This is not the time to chastise a marginalized community by “persuading [them] to follow Christ…” Your piece felt like a veiled attempt to convert practitioners of Islam to Christianity. I’m sure you meant well, but the proselytizing, which became the focus of your piece was tone-deaf and harmful to many of my friends.

I’m thoroughly disappointed in The Farmville Herald for publishing these pieces. The words we use, the tone with which we address each other, with which we include or exclude members of our own community, matters, especially in these divisive times. This publication has historically been on the wrong side of history. You all have said both, publicly and privately that this paper can be a vehicle of unity and healing in this community. Last Friday, was the latest example of steps taken…backwards. Picotte, Pastor Robelen and The Farmville Herald owe apologies.

Taikein M. Cooper