Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 15:48:24 -0600 (CST)
From: Marpessa Kupendua <email@example.com>
Subject: !*CT town with KKK presence refuses MLK holiday
Date: Sat, 09 Jan 1999 10:57:23 -0800
From: Michael Novick <firstname.lastname@example.org>
(01-04) 15:34 PST WALLINGFORD, Conn. (AP) -- The mayor of this town with a history of Ku Klux Klan activity has refused to make Martin Luther King Day a paid holiday for city workers.
Wallingford, where 1 percent of the population of 41,000 people is black, is the only municipality in the state that does not give workers a day off to honor the slain civil rights leader.
I think it sends a negative message, and it distinguishes
Wallingford in a way that it should not be distinguished, said
Roger Vann, president of the Connecticut chapter of the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Wallingford as the only town not to have a holiday is really
Mayor William Dickinson said his refusal has nothing to do with discrimination against the holiday, which the rest of Connecticut celebrates Jan. 18.
The unions want the day off but refuse to trade one of 12 previously
negotiated holidays to get it, Dickinson said. Adding another day off
would be a
government giveaway costing taxpayers about $30,000,
plus lost time and productivity, the mayor said.
I don't think it's appropriate that government give away
benefits, Dickinson said.
But some workers felt there was more to the snub in a town where the KKK has had a presence in the past.
In 1994, several KKK members were convicted on federal bomb and weapons charges in a case authorities said was linked to Klan activity in Wallingford.
City Hall secretary Karin Buster, 28, one of the town's few black workers out of a total of 450, said employees should get the day off.
To me, it just says something about Wallingford, Buster
It's pretty sad.
But Dickinson noted that the town honors King every year with a ceremony that includes songs and speeches.
I think Martin Luther King Day is a very important day, and I think
it's important that we recognize what he stands for. He is an American
hero, Dickinson said.