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The Boston Globe

Opinion

The Podium

The fabric of Bowdoin-Geneva

Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” depicts an African-American hero played by Jamie Foxx, who tries to save his estranged wife from the clutches of slavery. The movie uses Foxx’s character as a vehicle to tell the broader story of slavery and the path to freedom. It is a strong narrative about the impact of one man, but it also ignores the complexity of how larger institutional structures give rise to and support the success of individuals.

The Boston Globe’s exhaustive series on Dorchester’s Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood brought light to a world many don’t know. But there is a story beneath.

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Bowdoin-Geneva is full of civic groups, merchants, institutions, and all of us in the Bowdoin Geneva Alliance who together invest in making our community thrive. While it is true that there are many heroes here, most of how change occurs is through a more complex and deep-rooted series of efforts that over time influence the struggle. No doubt everyone would like a Django to ride in and present us with freedom, but our landscape changes because of organizing and small victories.

The steady strengthening of Bowdoin-Geneva in these last 20 years has taken much time and resources. Local groups, the steadfast commitment of Mayor Thomas M. Menino, millions of grant dollars, hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours, and many other efforts have built a stronger, safer community. It is the continued investment and commitment of resources that will ultimately lead to the day when the challenges of our community recede and we can claim total victory.

In the penultimate scene of “Django Unchained,” Jamie Foxx says that he is “1 in 10,000” and implies this is what makes his quest a success. The truth is that there are thousands of people and millions of resources that made his success a possibility; so too here in Bowdoin-Geneva. While noting the amazing individuals who change history, it is critical to remember and support the institutional resources that move us forward together.

MARK CULLITON and
PAULO
DE BARROS

Bowdoin Geneva Alliance

Rising hostility
against GAY Americans

The FBI’s annual hate-crime statistics report confirms that, for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, the very ability to move about in public remains compromised by threats of violence.

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According to the report, while the overall number of bias-motivated incidents decreased from 2010 to 2011, the number of hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation or gender identity actually increased to 1,300, up almost 3 percent from the previous year.

While the specific causes of these hate crimes may remain elusive, there are concrete measures that will reach youth before criminal acts are committed.

Three pieces of previously introduced federal legislation deserve support. The Safe Schools Improvement Act addresses bullying prevention programs and requires states to collect and report information about bullying and harassment. The Student Non-Discrimination Act forbids schools from discriminating based on sexual orientation and gender identity and prohibits them from ignoring harassing behavior. And the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act requires colleges and universities to recognize cyberbullying as a form of harassment and to fund anti-harassment programs.

MARY L. BONAUTO,

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders

JEFFREY ROBBINS,

Anti-Defamation League

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