Letter to the editor: Two images, one city

To the editor:

I was away from Lawrence the first couple of weeks in February; but of course, technology means we are never fully gone. It was an interesting experience to “watch” Lawrence from afar. There were two events that caught my attention, and they could not have been more different. On Saturday, Feb. 3, there was the protest that included Confederate flags; and by now you have heard or read about it. For some, myself included, the Confederate flag is code for white supremacy and is a tactic to intimidate. Watching from afar, I was angry and sad for Lawrence whose very history is rooted in the fight for freedom for all people.

Then in contrast, I began to see stories about the advocacy for Mr. Syed Jamal. THAT story spread, receiving national coverage as many who were outraged by the plight of this father quickly moved to action. The immigration debate had suddenly hit home and many rallied on behalf of Syed Jamal, but perhaps also on behalf of others who don’t have the benefit of the community support seen here. It is hard to fight bureaucracy, but Lawrence showed what can happen when we become outraged about injustice.

Two very different stories, one exemplifies the best of Lawrence and has already changed the lives of many. Mr. Jamal’s story has not ended, but the journey matters.