To the State University College at Oneonta for presenting a free lecture by Cornel West as part of its “Beyond the Black List” program.

The events commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Black List, a list of black students created by the college administration and given to state police investigating an alleged crime.

Rather than ignore the controversial and racist actions by officials, West’s speech and the entire day were used to inspire students to reach beyond past transgressions. SUNY Oneonta seized an opportunity to fight prejudices and inequality.

Bringing West — a well-known professor, speaker and activist — was a thoughtful and appropriate choice by the school. Selecting a speaker of such prominence shows how much SUNY Oneonta wants to bring a sense of acceptance of all people, regardless of color, sexual orientation, spiritual beliefs or nation of origin.

The message he presented, in his eloquent and impassioned style, drove home the entire purpose of the day of recollection: Fighting institutionalized hatred, racism, gender subordination and homophobia in hope of enlightenment and growth as human beings.

He addressed that issue when he asked the packed Dewar Arena: “Do we have the courage to engage in an examination of ourselves? What does it mean to be human?” His speech definitely helps us to take a step toward answering those questions.

To the organizers of the Susquehanna Balloon Festival, held recently in Oneonta’s Neahwa Park.

The three-day event featured music, food, a classic car show, a bike ride, balloon rides and a balloon glow — featuring illuminated hot-air balloons — and more.

The annual festival, which drew thousands, according to reports, had the benefit of good weather and a resurgence of the student population with school back in session for SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College.

The festival provided a safe and family-friendly atmosphere for year-round residents and students to gather for some outdoor fun in the waning days of summer.

To the presenters and supporters of the regional Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day Telethon, which raised $210,134 this year, according to information from the organization.

Although the long-running Oneonta telethon was discontinued this year, a special live local segment produced in Oneonta was included in the regional broadcast as a way to thank area volunteers as well as individual and group contributors over the years. Local on-air personalities, such as MDA telethon co-hosts Mark Jeffers and Joanmarie Pondolfino, returned for the broadcast.

According to a media release, funds raised through the regional telethon will stay in the local area to assist support groups, summer camps and do equipment repairs.



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