Voting rights are key to King's legacy 

click to enlarge President Barack Obama speaks at the Let Freedom Ring ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, in Washington, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. - AP PHOTO/CAROLYN KASTER
  • AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
  • President Barack Obama speaks at the Let Freedom Ring ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, in Washington, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

"More than 300 sites ring bells for MLK speech," News, Thursday

Voting rights are key to King's legacy

In commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech last week, our nation should now address the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in June to invalidate a significant part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The court's ruling is a serious setback for the civil rights of all Americans that King fought for.

It is sad that the court's decision could be used to change the election laws in nine Southern states, including states where little black girls were killed in church bombings, black men were lynched, black people were murdered for fighting for civil rights and where black people had been denied an education and the right to vote.

U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, has called for Congress to rectify the court's ruling legislatively with a bill, which if passed could be named the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Lewis, who was nearly beaten to death during a civil-rights march in the 1960s and who stood with King when he delivered the "I Have a Dream" speech, now serves as a congressman from Georgia.

Anh Le,

San Francisco

"Bay Area bike-sharing venture rolls out Thursday," The City, Aug. 27

Bike-share isn't enough

It's great that San Francisco is joining the many cities that have a bike-sharing program. But in order to be successful like New York, Washington and Montreal, we need to follow in their footsteps and add a lot more bike stations and fully separated bike lanes.

Only when there is always a bike nearby and always a safe way to get to your destination will Bay Area Bike Share be widely used.

Elliot Schwartz,

San Francisco

Conflict in Syria

Obama just saving face

Only a few short years ago, then-Sen. Barack Obama insisted that then-President George W. Bush was a war criminal for attacking Iraq. Then-Sen. John Kerry was equally adamant against the Bush administration's actions. They both claimed the intelligence information that Bush acted on was faulty. They also claimed the CIA was incompetent and unreliable.

Now, President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry believe the same intelligence sources and feel compelled to do a military strike. The military strike has the potential to destabilize the whole region, drawing us into all-out war. What has changed? Is this a true emergency or a face-saving device for the president?

Keith C. De Filippis,

San Jose

"High school launches truancy intervention," The City, Wednesday

Reach out to dropouts

Preventing and reducing truancy is a necessary first step for high-risk youths who face poverty and the trauma of violent crime every day. Too often they are treated as "throwaway" youths with no follow-up if they drop out of school.

The next steps for District Attorney George Gascón, the San Francisco Unified School District, and parents and teachers should be a feasibility study on creating a "recovery high school" in San Francisco for these truant and dropout students. Most of these dropout students started their substance use at the age of 12 or 13. A recovery high school can be a physically separate school or a separate program within a high school.

San Francisco owes its high-risk students an opportunity to recover from abuse and addiction and the trauma of everyday violence.

Fiona McGregor,

San Francisco

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