Wanted: Heroes for today

This letter is in response to the article “Skinner: A trailblazer for civil rights in the Coast Guard” that was published on July 29, 2019.

My thoughts about segregation in the workforce are somewhat educated. I know enough to be aware of what I fight for but not enough to take serious action. After reading this article, I have gained just a little bit more knowledge about the subject. Even the U.S. Coast Guard, one of the branches of armed forces, was filled with segregation. It was only until Carlton Skinner, Guam’s first civilian governor, that big changes to this unfair system were put to work. It’s a great thing that they are recognizing his work today. 

I understand that these changes started during Skinner’s experiences in World War II. He had noticed an African American who had a yearning for a job rating that the color of his skin would not permit him to get. It was obvious that he was not the only one with this ambition. However, a person in his position would find it even more difficult to fight for equal opportunities. They are forced to conform to things that suffocate their rights. Seeing this would anger any normal person today, but back then it was the norm. Skinner was one of those ahead of their time. 

Segregation of people of color has been going on for hundreds of years. Carlton Skinner’s move to fight it made an incredible difference. It is no question why they are honoring him now, if not sooner. We need people like Skinner more than ever, especially the mindset that he used helped correct the wrongs that have been in place for decades. He is most likely an inspiration to a few of the civil rights advocates of today. I believe that we are far from perfection, but it is people like him that help us get that much closer to it. 
 
Maria Karlan A. Claassens
Asan, Guam

Contributing Author

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