To the editor:

Allow me to comment on your front-page article of June 15 regarding the Peabody Rally for Racial Justice. A quote from Ms. Aroke indicated that “there may not be a lot of people in Peabody that look like her.” What does she mean and what is meant by diversity?” I can’t do anything about my color, age or looks, Ms. Aroke, and I may have physical and temporal differences. However, if diversity is judged by immutable physical characteristics, another word is available and it begins with “R.” I don’t know, but, she and I may have quite a bit in common. We could have similar experiences, similar philosophies of life, similar family values or similar religious experiences. Diversity is in thought and experience not physical characteristics.

I think a bigger problem is the name of the city of Peabody itself. I call your attention to an article in the Chicago Tribune dated May 4, 2004. It reads in part, “19th century businessman George Peabody profited from the slave trades.” Now, what? Thomas Jefferson is gone. The Democratic Party has eschewed its Jefferson-Jackson Award and Dinner. Abraham Lincoln statue in Boston — gone. Columbus — gone. George Washington — gone. George Peabody — gone?

I know, Wikipedia says he invented modern philanthropy as we know it. Too bad. If Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, is forfeit, so must George Peabody be.

I suggest the name of the city of Peabody be changed to the city of Corey, named after Giles and Martha Corey, who were executed as witches back in the 1690s. Their homestead was in what is now West Peabody. These are two people who were obviously innocent; unless anyone thinks that the Coreys were flying around on brooms. Yet their government, religion and community betrayed them. I think we should live in Corey, not Peabody. Let the petition begin.

Stephen Tassinari


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