Because of Tamara Dietrich's highly insensitve article last Friday, we continue to speak out about the Daily Press's unwillingness to retract the article and properly apologize for grossly misrepresenting what the Virginia Tech community is all about...
My daughter is a senior at Virginia Tech, and in 2007, she lost a friend and neighbor in the massacre of 32 VT students on that April 16th Monday morning. A week ago, a Virginia Tech police officer was gunned down during a routine traffic stop by a Radford student passing through town. Our local newspaper (with who I have just cancelled my subscription with) wrote an article last Friday that was highly insensitve and misrepresented what the Virginia Tech university stands for. Carly wrote a second lettor to the editor and her private note to the editor is as follows...needless to say, this editor did not respond to her request...I post it here because it shows hope for today's young people and for our society. We will not let the media or anyone else define us and there's a message in her writing...thanks for reading.
Carly’s Blog post and letter to Daily Press editor
I promise myself constantly that I will not dwell on negative energy or things outside of my control. I have debated on whether to respond to The Daily Press after a very immature (best descriptor I can think to use..) writer published an article referring to Virginia Tech as a "snake bitten" campus among other insults in the wake of our recent loss. Ultimately, I did not want to contribute to the frenzy of angry e-mails and hate mail the newspaper received.
There's not a thing that any of us can do to retract the sting of Tamara Dietrich's words. But after attending the memorial service for Officer Deriek Crouse yesterday with some of my closest friends on campus, I feel compelled to help his family in any way possible. Individually, there's only so much we can each do. Together, we've raised nearly $85,000 for our fallen hero and the beautiful family he left behind. In less than a week, I might add.
So, I decided to direct a message to those "in charge" at The Daily Press that was more constructive rather than destructive. If the media cared half as much about the positive acts of humanity as they do of the tortuous violent crimes that pollute the earth, what do you think our world would look like? I sent the following message to as many people associated with The Daily Press as I could find contact information. I hope that these individuals have the heart to respond. Maybe they can make right their wrongdoing and mend the cuts that their words tore in our mourning hearts.
Letter to the Editor..
To Whom It May Concern at The Daily Press:
I have lived my entire life in Smithfield, VA with my family, and the Daily Press has been a constant in our household for as long as I can remember. Another tradition that has seen me grow into adulthood is that of Virginia Tech and being a "Hokie". I'm sure that you have heard many responses from hurt and offended Hokies following the article published last week regarding Thursday's tragedy. I hope that you will read this e-mail in entirety, as my words are not of anger but of hope and forgiveness.
I truly appreciate the sense of security and knowledge that journalism brings us, and I think it is an integral branch of our society. I know that unfortunately (a drastic understatement) my university will be forever associated with the tragic events of April 16, 2007, and any other act of crime on campus will make instant headlines. It saddens me to the core that so many can recognize these acts of violence and give a sensationalist memorial to the troubled souls who caused such destruction. What I wish I could share with the public involves something much more powerful than anger, hatred, violence, negativity, and despair. Virginia Tech does so much for the community, and the world, and for that I am truly proud. To name a few:
· Largest collegiate Relay for Life in the world. Raised over $1,000,000 for the American Cancer society for the past few years
· Second largest Big Event in the nation. This is a day of free community service to the area surrounding our campus, merely to say "Thank you" (imagine if we had something like that in Newport News or Portsmouth!). Www.vtbigevent.org
· Nationally recognized Panhellenic Greek Council
· Internationally recognized architects on their creation of Lumenhaus (a house that generates energy through solar power)
· A damn good football team and even better fans
· SO many other things that I can't even name off the top of my head
Basically, I want you and your team to understand how the words printed by your establishment deeply hurt the feelings of these people who are doing such wonderful things in the world. Those words, no matter how they were intended to sound, will stick with the hurting hearts of our community. No one deserves a tragedy, and no one deserves the bitter remarks incurred by Tamara Dietrich.
One line that stuck with me from Officer Deriek Crouse's memorial service yesterday went along the lines of: "Our university's motto Ut Prosim, means 'that I may serve.' Deriek truly knew what it meant to serve—to give a part of himself." That is precisely what this university is based upon, and to prove my point far more than words could ever convey, I would like you to look at the memorial fund site that was created BY STUDENTS in the hours after Crouse's murder. We have raised almost $100,000 in less than a week for his family, a beautiful wife and five sons, whom I saw hurting and grieving so very much yesterday at the service. Here is the link: https://sites.google.com/site/hokiesforcrouse/
The reason I am writing is because I, as well as the rest of Hokie Nation, would greatly appreciate if you would cover this topic in your writing. Please help us spread the word to areas besides Blacksburg, VA to help with a wonderful cause. I personally believe it fit for the Daily Press to make a donation to our efforts to amend the comments degrading our "snake-bitten" campus. We all make mistakes, misjudge how our words affect others, and ultimately hurt peoples' feelings. To rescind the article is one thing, a politically correct gesture. To apologize and make the situation right is ultimately divine.
Thank you for your time. I hope to hear from you.
Virginia Tech Class of 2012
Marketing Management Major
Leadership and Social Change Minor
P.S. Tomorrow, a blog post that I wrote on Thursday will be featured on the Suffolk News Herald website. The post depicts my emotions as a Tech student who was very personally shaken by the events in 2007, and my perspective on the recent occurrences. If you would like to read my post, here is the link: http://carlykedwards.blogspot.com/2011/12/love-of-family_08.html I am a firm believer in the art of writing and the power we gain by further understanding other people.
That is all that I can think to say on this matter. I hope that this helps put things into perspective for all of us. The past week has been integral in confirming many beliefs I hold on the world and the people in it. I wish only for us all to come together and help each other. Overcome the violence with hearts filled with hope, love, and resilience