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Springfield, MO

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Letter to the Editor: Award selections should be based on merit

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Editor’s note: This letter was submitted in response to an email exchange printed on Springfield Business Journal’s Aug. 28 Opinion page titled, “All-white Men of the Year class sparks dialogue.”

Dear editor,

This article irritated me. I am a Latino, Italian and African American, according to my DNA. I have lived in Springfield, Missouri, for many years. During this time, I have attended many community, chamber, Biz 417 and SBJ events.

If you look at the census, there are 4% African American, 4.5% Latino and Hispanics in Springfield, and 84.8% white.

So, in response to not living in Springfield because of lack of diversity is stupid. Anyone living and working in Springfield knows it has been mostly white. I have been in church, business and community meetings and this topic of diversity has been talked about a lot. The discussions have been positive on how desperate they are for more diversity in their organizations. 

I feel SBJ, Biz 417, Springfield [Area] Chamber [of Commerce] and all the other chambers have embraced diversity and been very positive. It takes time for the population to change and Springfield, Missouri, and the outside communities have been very proactive in this issue.

When the person is nominated, it is up to the judges to look at the information of the person before they are chosen. They do not pick someone based on the color of someone’s skin or ethnic diversity. The judges pick them by what the person who has been nominated has done for the community. I know this for a fact because I have been a judge for SBJ. Do we just pick someone who is nominated because they are African American, Latino or Asian? We should pick someone for the honor because of what they have done for the community of Springfield, Missouri, not skin color or ethnic diversity.

Anjanette LaBellarte, Springfield

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