“Astonished and embarrassed” that he was one of only two Black people at a rally decrying hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Robert V. Ward Jr. writes, “We who say we care about civil rights and justice must also be present and bear witness when others … are under attack” (“Communities of color need to stand up, step forward for each other,” Letters, April 25). I would add that those whose civil rights have been violated need to remember and support those who have stood with them.
Watching the Academy Award-nominated documentary “Crip Camp,” I learned that in 1977, a 28-day sit-in that pressured President Carter to enforce Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which advanced civil rights for people with disabilities, was successful in part because the Black Panthers supplied the differently abled demonstrators with food. Asked why they were providing food when they themselves had such limited resources, one of the Panthers responded that their mission was to make the world a better place for everybody.
As the father of a person with disabilities, I never knew the debt that my family owes the Black Panthers. I will not forget.